Earlier this fall, I had the opportunity to attend Bayer CropScience’s global press conference in Monheim, Germany. This is a yearly event where the company reviews the previous season, discusses its portfolio of products being commercially released while also making a projection on next year’s business outlook.
It’s a rare chance to view how a global company operates and views its involvement in agriculture. After sitting through the press conference and observing how Bayer’s top leadership answered questions from nearly 100 ag journalists in attendance, and after going on several tours of the company’s expansive research facilities, a couple of facts became quite clear.
Chemical and seed companies remain committed to cotton – no matter how difficult the current economic environment. If U.S. cotton producers can find any shred of positive news during this wet and rainy harvest season, it’s this statement. Bayer and the rest of the companies who sell crop protection products and seed varieties to U.S. farmers haven’t scaled back their commitment to the industry. In fact, the opposite trend is what really exists at the moment.
Some of the most groundbreaking developments are on the horizon. Several years ago, phrases such as “drought-tolerant,” “herbicide-tolerant” and “double insect-resistant stack” seemed almost futuristic as if it would be impossible to see such scientific research delivered anytime soon. True, the industry has been on a fast track since the introduction of Bt cotton in 1996. But anyone who thought the pipeline had suddenly become empty...well, those skeptics were slightly misinformed.
Historic germplasm traits are about to become reality, and it’s all because of the steadfast commitment of the industry’s allied partners. Even with the challenge of a global recession and reduced cotton acres in the United States for the past two years, the level of support from these companies has remained remarkably consistent.
Why? Because cotton is one of the most important crops produced in the world, and its residual impact on the United States economy is significant. Most economists are forecasting an increase in U.S. cotton acreage in 2010, and this is occurring just as the global recession thankfully is coming to an end.
No matter what part of cotton production is examined, we can find allied companies continuing to be an important partner with the producer. They have been there in both the good and bad times.
For that reason, you’d have to say that the support for cotton has never been stronger.
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