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Monsanto, Landec agree on seed-related deals

Monsanto Company and Landec Corporation have announced two separate agreements, both of which are expected to broaden their reach and product offerings to U.S. farmers. The two agreements are potentially valued at more than $70 million.

In the first transaction, Monsanto's American Seeds, Inc. (ASI) subsidiary acquired Landec's direct marketing and seed sales company, Fielder's Choice Direct (FCD), based in Monticello, Ind.

“We are pleased to enter into this agreement with Monsanto, the world's leading ag technology company,” said Gary Steele, president and chief executive officer for Landec.

“Based on its long-term investment in research and development, Monsanto is a market leader in seed genetics and traits, and will now be able to utilize Fielder's Choice Direct's unique channel of distribution for seed-based products.”

Under the first agreement, ASI will acquire FCD's customer call center operation, which serves customers across the Midwest and is the largest telemarketer of corn seed sales.

ASI also will acquire Landec's two seed brands: Fielder's Choice Direct and Heartland Hybrids. Collectively, the two seed brands represent slightly more than 1 percent of U.S. corn seed sales. The seed brands will join the ASI family of regional seed offerings.

“Fielder's Choice Direct has a long track record of serving farmers with a personal touch and a unique business model that is unparalleled today in the agriculture sector,” said Carl Casale, executive vice-president of North American commercial for Monsanto. “The addition of the FCD business model complements our existing dealer, retail and licensee channels, and bolsters our commitment of delivering high-quality seed and trait technologies to U.S. farmers, regardless of their channel preference.”

In the second transaction, the parties announced they have entered into a five-year global technology license agreement for Landec's Intellicoat polymer seed coating technology. Under the five-year agreement, Monsanto will become the exclusive sales and marketing agent for Landec's Intellicoat seed coating technology in corn, oilseeds and cotton. Monsanto also receives an option to buy out the Intellicoat seed coating technology.

Landec's Intellicoat seed coating technology offers several unique benefits to farmers, including the ability to delay seed germination until the soil reaches the optimal temperature. This approach offers farmers the option to expand their planting window, lower on-farm costs, and reduce the risks associated with late planting.

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