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NATIONAL

Bayer and MS Technologies Develop New Soybean Trait
Bayer CropScience and MS Technologies LLC have announced plans to market a new soybean trait called Balance GT,―a dual herbicide tolerant trait stack featuring tolerance to both glyphosate and isoxaflutole. Bayer and MS Technologies intend to broadly license Balance GT soybeans. Balance GT soybeans will be available in high-yielding genetics in many maturity groups in the United States in 2015, pending regulatory approvals.

Marrone Bio Submits Bioherbicide for EPA Approval
Marrone Bio Innovations Inc., a global provider of natural pest management products for agricultural and water treatment markets, has submitted a new bioherbicide, MBI-011 EP, to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. MBI-011 EP is a post-emergent burndown herbicide that can also be used as a crop desiccant. It has contact activity and no post-application planting restrictions are expected.

USDA Approves Syngenta Trait for 2014
Syngenta has announced that the United States Department of Agriculture has fully deregulated Agrisure Duracade, enabling its launch in the United States for the 2014 planting season. Agrisure Duracade expresses a unique protein to control corn rootworm, and has a different mode of action than Syngenta’s Agrisure RW trait. “Its proven dual mode of action will be effective management of corn pests and will raise farm productivity,” says Davor Pisk, chief operating officer with Syngenta. Hybrid seeds containing Agrisure Duracade will be available for the 2014 season.

U.S. NCGA Signs Gemma Accord
The National Corn Growers Association has become a signatory to the Accord: Generic Event Marketability and Access Agreement. Along with NCGA, the American Farm Bureau Federation and the American Soybean Association have become signatories to the GEMMA, which was created by the Biotechnology Industry Organization and the American Seed Trade Association. In the spring of 2010, BIO and ASTA set out to establish an effective, private sector-led solution to ensure critical domestic and international regulatory authorizations are maintained for biotech events once patents expire. This effort led to the creation of the Accord consisting of two agreements: the GEMAA and the Data Use and Compensation Agreement. The GEMAA is in the process of implementation. The legal text of the DUCA is near completion, and both BIO and ASTA will begin stakeholder outreach shortly.

MBI Files Patent for Unique Species
Marrone Bio Innovations Inc. has submitted a patent application encompassing a new Bacillus sp. strain, F727, to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The anti-fungal compounds produced by this new strain are different than the current commercial Bacillus biofungicide products. “We are excited to move this candidate to field trials on a broad range of crops in 2013,” says Phyllis Himmel, MBI vice president of research and development. “The strain has shown activity beyond plant disease control. Additional work is in progress to explore its usefulness as a plant growth promoter in crops such as corn, soybeans, tomatoes and turf.”

Availability of Biotech Petitions
The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has forwarded biotechnology regulatory actions to the Federal Register for publication. With the revised regulatory review process of APHIS, the public can now provide input on petitions for non-regulated status passed by developers of new biotech crops, namely, insect resistant and herbicide tolerant soy, herbicide tolerant soy and herbicide tolerant cotton. The petitions for non-regulated status are available for public comment for 60 days. Through the public review, APHIS will be able to identify any possible environmental and interrelated economic issues, which will be considered during the preparation of its final assessments and regulatory determinations.

Syngenta to Offer Bio-Control Nematicide for SCN
The U.S. EPA granted registration approval to Syngenta for its bio-control nematicide seed treatment featuring a unique, direct mode of action that is lethal to the soybean cyst nematode. “It provides instant activity from the moment of planting and offers season-long protection,” says David Winston, seed care product lead for Syngenta. The bio-control nematicide will be commercialized for the 2014 season.

DuPont and Monsanto Reach License Agreements
DuPont Pioneer and Monsanto Company have announced a series of technology licensing agreements that will expand the range of seed product offerings. The agreements include a multi-year, royalty-bearing license for Monsanto’s next-generation soybean technologies in the United States and Canada. Through these agreements, DuPont will be able to offer Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybeans as early as 2014, and Genuity RR2 Xtend glyphosate and dicamba tolerant soybeans as early as 2015, pending regulatory approvals. DuPont will also receive regulatory data rights for soybean and corn traits previously licensed from Monsanto, enabling it to create a wide array of stacked trait combinations. Monsanto will receive access to certain DuPont disease resistance and corn defoliation patents. DuPont and Monsanto also agreed to dismiss their respective antitrust and first-generation RR soybean patent lawsuits pending in U.S. federal court.

INTERNATIONAL

ASTA and CNSA Sign MOU to Expand Trade
The American Seed Trade Association and the China National Seed Association have signed an historic memo of understanding to promote cooperation relating to innovation in the seed industry. “This agreement achieves two important goals,” says ASTA president Andrew LaVigne. “First, it is an important first step in providing new business opportunities for the world’s two largest seed industries and, second, it will ultimately work toward increased farmer productivity.” The MOU reflects both parties’ desire to promote mutual interests through cooperation, information exchange and training in the areas of intellectual property rights, quality seed, science-based phytosanitary measures, seed movement and innovation in the seed industry.

Monsanto and Growers’ Associations Reach Agreement
Monsanto Company and leading grower organizations in Brazil have reached an agreement that will support the introduction of next-generation Roundup Ready products. Under the agreement, participating farmers will secure a new license allowing them to purchase soybeans containing the new Intacta RR2 PRO technology in the 2013–2014 growing season. Participating farmers will be released from payment of technology royalty fees for first-generation RR soybeans for this and next season, waiving all potential legal claims for payments previously made for this technology. Farmers who do not participate will continue to pay royalties on that technology through the term of Monsanto’s intellectual property rights in Brazil that cover first-generation RR soybeans.