Seed World

The Need for Policies that Support Growers and Innovation

Jerry Flint, DuPont Pioneer vice president of industry affairs and regulatory

We all know we face a huge challenge. The world’s increasing population requires innovative tools and technologies that help farmers grow not only more food, but more nutritious food. With limited opportunities for new arable land, the world needs increased productivity on every acre to meet the demand for more and better food.

The statistics are clear — one in nine people worldwide are undernourished, and extreme weather events in crop production areas could lead to crop yield losses as high as 30 percent by 2080 in the most vulnerable places, which would drive up food prices and exacerbate food insecurity and poverty globally. Investment in research and development and continued innovation in more resilient crops and seeds are vital to addressing these challenges in the United States and the rest of the world.

Declining arable land per person, even in the most developed countries, creates growing pressures on systems that support food security. At the same time, consumers are increasingly interested in the origin of their food and supporting sustainable agricultural practices. These evolving customer trends, coupled with an increasing global population and a growing middle class, place greater demands on the agriculture industry to improve productivity.

As a result, growers continually look for an edge when it comes to yield, water and land use, pest and disease control, and sustainability. From an agriculture company’s perspective, meeting sustainability needs and climate and regulatory challenges, all while bringing new products to market as quickly as possible, requires a highly productive innovation engine and continued investment to help growers build resiliency against current and future challenges.

At DuPont, we are focused on increasing agricultural output, developing healthier and more nutritious food, ensuring the availability, accessibility and safety of food, and developing sustainable solutions that reduce waste and protect the ecosystem through the entire food value chain. Our proposed merger with Dow is an opportunity to build an even more powerful innovation engine with greatly expanded capabilities to respond faster to the changing conditions impacting growers with innovative products, greater choice and competitive price for value, to help ultimately increase grower productivity and profitability.

DuPont’s multiplatform effort includes breeding, targeted breeding, biotechnology, crop protection, seed-applied technology and digital — all supported by tailored agronomic solutions. Our personalized approach enables growers to manage their fields to the sub-acre level, and our teams are engaged with growers from planting through harvest and beyond. Our innovation strategy relies on understanding our customers at the local level, anticipating their needs and leveraging our global expertise to develop quality products that deliver enhanced value.

We can only accomplish all of this if we have policies that support growers, and the agriculture companies that serve them, as they implement the next generation of innovation in their operations. In order to ensure ongoing innovation, including through new hybrid and variety development and the adoption of new data-driven technologies, government policies should be clear and predictable. We encourage policy frameworks that, to the extent possible, seek a consistent regulatory approach, both domestically and internationally. This kind of thoughtful approach will keep the U.S. competitive in the global economy and allows our scientists to do what they do best — offer growers the tools they need to drive crop productivity to meet the growing global demand for more high-quality and nutritious food.