Who Will Be Your Partners?

During the recent U.S. Grains Council annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., veteran no-tiller Jim Andrew asked an intriguing question of three chemical company presidents composing a panel discussing the impact of biotechnology on agriculture.

The Jefferson, Iowa, no-tiller told them he’s concerned about having to enter partnerships with one or more suppliers. Concerned with loyalties and relationships, Andrew is not convinced that partnerships with suppliers is really the way to go.

Andrew and his father have been loyal Pioneer customers for 56 years and have also been long-term users of Monsanto herbicides. But as partnerships develop between various companies, he sees conflicts arising in the future. For example, Asgrow and DeKalb are owned by Monsanto. Pioneer is partnering with DuPont.

Where Are Your Loyalties?

“I’m concerned about the loyalties and partnerships and their impact on our farming business,” says Andrew. “In fact, there probably aren’t any loyalties anymore.

“I’m concerned about being forced into partnerships and I don’t want to lose our current valuable relationships with a variety of suppliers. There are distinct benefits to us with the companies we currently work with and we sometimes get to try new ideas very early.”

The three chemical company presidents didn’t really have a good answer for Andrew’s concerns, although they expected he would somehow be able to continue to use a variety of products. Yet other speakers at the conference kept stressing the importance of farmers linking up early with supplier partnerships for maximum results.

Nobody Denied Andrew’s Concerns

Hugh Grant…

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Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter has served as editor of No-Till Farmer since the publication was launched in November of 1972. Raised on a six-generation Michigan Centennial Farm, he has spent his entire career in agricultural journalism. Lessiter is a dairy science graduate from Michigan State University.

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