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PRODUCT OF THE YEAR RUNNERS-UP
Agri Marketing magazine has reinstated its prestigious Product of the Year award, which recognizes products or services that are making news today and will undoubtedly stand the test of time as major contributors to the ag industry. This year we had several notable entries that weren't named Product of the Year but deserve to be recognized as a strong second place.

DP 555 BG/RR COTTON SEED
by Delta & Pine Land Company


DP 555 BG/RR has demonstrated the ability to improve cotton farmers' bottom lines with its high yield potential per acre and its potential to produce good quality fiber. DP 555 BG/RR is a stacked-gene cotton variety containing today's most advanced transgenic technologies available to farmers: Bollgard and Roundup Ready. Company estimates place the potential yield increase of DP 555 BG/RR at 15 to 20 percent greater than existing stacked-gene cottons on the market today.

The marketing and communications strategy was implemented in two distinct phases. The first began in spring 2002 and extended through October with a focus on public relations activities, including media relations, field days, media tours and communications with growers. This phase built excitement and interest in the product during the growing season. The second phase began in late December and continued the PR activities, but added product print advertising directed at farmers, distributors, dealers and crop consultants. The intent was to promote seed sales for the 2003 planting season.

An interesting kickoff to the campaign involved 700 of the country's most influential cotton growers who were selected to plant DP 555 BG/RR in the spring of 2002. The activity gave these top growers firsthand experience with this new variety and allowed farmer-neighbors an opportunity to view the product in the field.

The new product has set a new standard in the marketplace for cotton varieties and is sure to drive other companies toward efforts to breed varieties for higher yields, resulting in more choices of high-performing products for cotton farmers.

"In time, the full impact of DP 555 BG/RR will be felt industrywide, as farmers enjoy high-yielding stacked-gene cotton varieties from D&PL and other companies that will follow D&PL's lead in breeding for higher yields and better fiber quality," says Tom Jagodinski, president of Delta & Pine Land Co., Scott, Miss.

ENTRUST* NATURALYTE* INSECT CONTROL
by Dow AgroSciences LLC


Until Entrust* Naturalyte* insect control was introduced this year by Dow AgroSciences, Indianapolis, organic farmers had very limited options when it came to insect control. Many of the commercial insecticides are not available for their use to maintain the "organic" certification.

Entrust* Naturalyte* insect control is produced through fermentation of living organisms, resulting in a compound labeled for organic use that combines the efficacy of most synthetic insecticides with the environmental benefits of biological insecticides.

The active ingredient, spinosad, received the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the President's Council. The award recognizes breakthroughs in chemical technologies that incorporate the principles of environmental safety into the chemical design, manufacture and use of agricultural chemicals.

The product also qualifies for the USDA National Organic Program and has been approved by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI).

Dow AgroSciences initially introduced the Naturalyte* insect control category in 1997 under the trade name Tracer* insect control in the cotton market. Since then, the company has strategically developed additional Naturalyte insect control products to fit specialty crop needs.

By approaching each market segment separately, Dow AgroSciences was able to tailor an insect control product that met unique customer wants and needs. For example, some markets needed additional products to enhance their resistance management programs. Other markets liked the concept that spinosad was active on a few key pests but was not active on beneficial pests.

Dow AgroSciences worked with universities, grower associations, processors and agricultural distributors through research, meetings and communications to gain product awareness and understanding.

Furthermore, as part of its brand communication strategy, the company used the green chemistry logo, the OMRI logo, the Naturalyte* descriptor and a graphic incorporating the wings of a beneficial insect to represent the benefits of Entrust to the organic grower.

With Entrust*, Dow AgroSciences has taken spinosad, a proven insect control technology used successfully in production agriculture for several years, and has developed a unique formulation for use exclusively by organic growers. This product is the latest example of the type of focused, need-based, "green" insect control product of the future.

THE CLEARFIELD PRODUCTION SYSTEM
by BASF


The CLEARFIELD* Production System combines advanced genetics with custom herbicide solutions that enable growers to optimize resource management and productivity from planting to harvest. That is the brand position developed by a global team for BASF's herbicide-tolerant seed and corresponding herbicides. To simplify, it's a custom-designed herbicide tailored to the needs of each crop and geography - not a "one-size-fits-all" herbicide-tolerant offering.

BASF, Research Triangle Park, N.C., has achieved this by developing crops that are tolerant to imidazolinones - a chemistry family consisting of six active ingredients, each of which controls a different spectrum of weeds. This enables BASF to develop product offerings that best fit a particular crop weed spectrum or market need.

The CLEARFIELD* Production System differs from current herbicide-tolerant systems in a number of ways. First, the imidazolinones provide both contact and season-long weed control. Second, each CLEARFIELD* herbicide is specifically designed to achieve maximum control of the particular weed species mot likely to infest each crop. Finally, the current CLEARFIELD* crops - maize, canola, rise, sunflower and wheat - have been developed using enhanced plant breeding methods. Because no foreign genetic material has been inserted, they are considered to be non-genetically modified organisms, thus giving growers concerned about growing and marketing GMO crops an effective option.

The CLEARFIELD* seed strategy and market approach involves the use of a virtual seed company model. Rather than acquire a stable of seed companies to gain access to seed varieties and hybrids, BASF has developed strong collaborative research, development and commercial licensing relationship with numerous leading seed companies to ensure an ample and reliable supply of CLEARFIELD seed. To date, this strategy has resulted in relationships with more than 100 seed companies throughout the world.

Another marketing objective was to develop a system that clearly linked the herbicide-tolerant seed and the corresponding herbicide. The CLEARFIELD* Production System serves as a global brand identifying BASF's seed and production system.

After the brand identity was established, BASF rolled out the system to seed companies, U.S. media, distribution channels and growers in 1999. Since then, BASF achieved a major milestone in the United States in 2003. This occurred when all five crops that were identified as important for the CLEARFIELD* system - corn, wheat, rice, canola and sunflowers - were commercialized. AM

Footnote: * denotes trademark ownership of the respective company


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