INITIATIVES FOR THE NEW AG ERA
Name: J. Erik Fyrwald
Title: Group Vice President, DuPont Agriculture & Nutrition since June 2003
Career: Joined DuPont as a production engineer in 1981 where he has held a variety of sales and management positions. Most recently he was Vice President and General Manager of the Nutrition and Health businesses, which included The Solae Company, DuPont Qualicon, DuPont Liquid Packaging Systems and DuPont Food Industry Solutions.
Education: University of Delaware with a degree in chemical engineering and attended the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program
Responsibilities: Responsible for the global operations of Pioneer Hi-Bred International, DuPont Crop Protection, and Nutrition and Health businesses - $6.5B revenue, 12,000 employees.
AM: DuPont recently announced plans to streamline its nutrition and crop protection businesses to invest more heavily in its seed and biotech business. Please provide more information about this plan.
EF: In short, we are going where the growth is. We are working hard to improve the cost productivity of our back offices' infrastructure and manufacturing so we can invest more heavily in growth. We see tremendous opportunities across the ag and nutrition value chain with the growing demand for food to feed the world's expanding population and now for biofuels to help meet the world's rapidly growing energy needs in an environmentally and economically sustainable way.
AM: Why is DuPont making this move?
EF: Demand for food, feed, fiber and fuel will only increase and we have the science to help farmers meet the challenge. Increasing our investment in plant genetics, biotechnology and other high-value growth opportunities in addition to the high level of spend we are already making in seed and in developing new and safer crop protection chemicals and healthy food ingredients, will help us accelerate the momentum that is building in our seed business and deliver products that help our customers meet the increasing demand.
AM: What high-value growth opportunities are you investing in?
EF: In addition to increasing our research spend in plant genetics and biotechnology, we are committed to investing in many other attractive growth opportunities, including:
• Increase sales and marketing resources for the seed business.
• Investments in safer crop protection products and delivering the research pipeline, including the planned 2008 introduction of Rynaxypyr, a next generation ultra-low toxicity insecticide.
• Aggressively advance the Optimum GAT trait, a new choice in glyphosate tolerance that gives farmers the option to use complementary ALS herbicides offered by DuPont Crop Protection.
• Growth for SoleCina meat/soy combination via The Solae Company joint venture with Bunge.
• Launch Crystalon vertical form fill and seal liquid packaging technology.
• Continue our investments in Brazil, Eastern Europe/Russia, India and China markets for all businesses.
• Drive growth in our portfolio of leading biofuel technologies.
AM: Please review the several biofuels initiatives that DuPont has announced. Why does DuPont have a competitive advantage to make them succeed?
EF: No one else has the direct connection to both a major oil company and growers. We are building on those relationships and many others in the value chain to deliver game-changing biofuels. We are also unique in the breadth of our effort. This is important because no one technology is going to be enough to reduce our dependence on petroleum.
Our efforts include marketing seeds for crops that produce more ethanol and biodiesel per bushel. We also have a large research pipeline of products to increase the quantity and efficiency for those crops to produce biofuels in the future. And we have the right crop protection chemicals to help growers maximize their yield for biofuels and food, whether they plant corn, soybeans, canola, sunflower, sugar beet, sugar cane or other crops.
DuPont also has a partnership with BP to develop, produce and market a next generation of biofuels. The first product of the collaboration is biobutanol, which is expected to overcome many of the limitations of
biofuels available today. The beauty of this approach is that ethanol producers will be able to retrofit their units to make biobutanol or they can blend biobutanol with ethanol to improve performance. Our goal is to help grow the market for farmers and biofuel producers.
We're not only looking at the conversion of grain to ethanol and biobutanol, but also the conversion of cellulosic into biofuels. Through a partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy, we are developing a cost-effective technology package to produce cellulosic biofuels derived from corn stover. We recently entered into a partnership with Broin to bring together the needed technologies to accelerate the delivery of biofuels from cellulose.