Stand-alone companies eager to focus on agriculture

Corteva president says there’s no longer the distraction of being part of a broader conglomerate

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The merger of agriculture seed and crop protection suppliers over the past few years has meant more concentration in the industry, but it has also resulted in companies freer to pursue their agriculture interests.

That’s the message from Bryce Eger, president of Corteva AgriScience in Canada. He’s now leading a much larger organization, made up of the agriculture assets of Dow and DuPont. The two agriculture and materials giants merged – and then split up into three separate companies focused on their core products.

The result, on the agriculture side, is Corteva AgriScience, which, as of early June is now a stand-alone company, traded by itself on the New York Stock Exchange.

Why it matters: Larger and merged agriculture companies mean less choice for farmers, but it has also given those companies the scale to be solely focused on agriculture.

Being a stand-alone agriculture company means none of the distractions that used to be part of everyday life for the agriculture portions of those companies, he told farmers at a launch event recently on the site of Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show.

Bryce Eger.
photo: Supplied

“You are part of a conglomerate and you have to explain some very rudimentary things like what a high clearance sprayer is and what an acre of land is and the crops we grow to the people who have decision-making authority in those organizations,” said Eger. “We’re not in the position anymore.

“We don’t think about paint, we don’t think about Teflon, we don’t think about building materials,” he said, referring to the other products that DuPont sold and were part of conversations when Pioneer Hi-Bred was part of that company.

“The only thing we think about is what you folks are doing each and every day. That’s a very different space for us compared to where our legacy businesses have been for the past 15 or 20 years.”

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He says the future will be more fun for Corteva staff who will only have to focus on agriculture.

Eger and his Corteva staff have had to rearrange the employees and products from two companies and numerous brands. Dow helped as a couple of years before the merger when it started to market its Mycogen and Hyland Seeds brands as Dow Seeds.

There’s also the largest seed brand in the company, with the large brand recognition, Pioneer Hi-Bred. Pioneer continues to be marketed as Pioneer, with its traditional farmer-dealer network for sales. A new brand, Brevant, which can be seen in the countryside in field signs this summer, will be sold only through agriculture retailers. That allows the company to have two marketing channels for two different brands. Brevant will have a more focused lineup, tailored to different geographic areas, which means easier choices for farmers. Pioneer will have a broader selection of seeds.

Crop protection products from Dow and DuPont will be under the Corteva brand, although some had to be sold off to appease regulators.

About the author

Editor

John Greig has spent his career in agriculture journalism and communications. He lives on a farm near Ailsa Craig, Ontario. Contact John at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @jgreig

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