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DuPont Pioneer to protect innovation with product compliance checks

By Jean Caspers-Simmet
simmet@agrinews.com

Date Modified: 03/28/2013 9:00 PM

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JOHNSTON, Iowa —DuPont Pioneer will begin product compliance checks on its U.S. soybean seed customers this spring.

"Protecting innovation is a shared responsibility among everyone in the seed industry," said Randy Schlatter, senior manager of intellectual property for DuPont Pioneer.

Schlatter outlined the compliance procedure at a recent DuPont Pioneer media day in Johnston.

The company will provide a list of randomly selected growers to Agro Protection, the Saskatchewan, Canada, company it hired to conduct the compliance checks. Agro Protection auditors will contact growers to set up meetings to review planting paperwork and survey fields.

The Agro Protection auditor will meet the grower on his or her farm to review planting maps and sales receipts. After the paperwork is reviewed, the auditor will survey the grower's fields.

"We encourage but do not require growers to accompany auditors during the field survey," Schlatter said.

The auditor will conduct a plant count to confirm the seeding rate, take leaf tissue samples from plants and record GPS readings in the field.

Leaf tissue samples will be DNA tested at the Pioneer lab to confirm if the plants in the field match soybean varieties the grower purchased in accordance with the Technology Use Agreement. Within approximately 30 days, Pioneer will contact the grower with test results that confirm whether the grower is compliant.

"We expect most growers will be found in compliance with their Technology Use Agreements," Schlatter said. "However, if growers are found to be non-compliant, Pioneer will work with growers to help them get compliant."

Growers who successfully complete the audit will receive a "thank you" gift that will be "more than a hat and a handshake," Schlatter said.

DuPont Pioneer's Partners in Innovation intellectual property protection program involves education and communication with the compliance check as the third leg of the stool, Schlatter said.

"Growers benefit from new products developed through research that deliver yield and value success," Schlatter said.

He pointed to what happened to wheat production in the Dakotas. Pioneer discontinued its breeding program when it wasn't able to make money due to rampant bin running. It donated its products to North Dakota State University and Kansas State University, and they discontinued efforts after several years because they couldn't make money, either.

"Guys are still planting the same wheat varieties they were planting in the mid-1980s, and millions of acres are being converted to corn and soybeans," Schlatter said.

"If we don't invest today, we won't have the solutions," he said. "Look at problems we've faced with aphids and white mold."