Just a few weeks ago Schillinger Seed was in the news for launching eMerge Genetics. Schillinger Seed may not be a household word. It might help if you knew that one of the owners, John Schillinger, is the same person who was given credit for discovering Asgrow 3127 soybeans more than three decades ago. That variety ranks as one of the great varieties for its day and of all time, and it' genetics were incorporated into various soybean lines for years afterwards. Schillinger later served as president of Asgrow Seeds for many years, before its' acquisition by Monsanto.
The interesting thing about eMerge is that it is a brand and division devoted exclusively to producing and developing non-GMO varieties for farmers who have access to markets offering a premium for non-GMO beans. What many of these farmers are discovering is that it is difficult to line up sources of top-quality, non-GMO beans. If a variety is Roundup Ready or now a Liberty Link variety, it is a GMO, based on how it was developed. It would not qualify as a non-GMO variety.
Recently premiums as high as $2 per bushel have been reported for non-GMO soybeans, with delivery for some of them as close as Indianapolis. What growers who want to produce these beans discover is that because public universities moved out of the soybean breeding business as private industry took over, there just aren't that many options in most maturity groups for competitive, non-GMO varieties.
Now, the ironic, newsworthy twist is that the same company just starting a brand for non-GMO soybeans is the same company partnering with Dow AgroSciences, Indianapolis, to develop and commercialize transgenic commodity soybeans. In fact, under the agreement signed recently, Dow AgroSciences takes ownership of the Schillinger Seed brand, and is guaranteed access to the company's genetics. Schillinger retained the right to develop and market non-GMO soybeans through it's eMerge division.
Besides getting access to germplasm for finding new GMO lines, Dow AgroSciences will continue to sell Schillinger Seed, the transgenic varieties, through Stratton Seed, Stuttgart, Arkansas. That brand is more popular in the southern U.S.
This agreement continues the trend Dow AgroSciences established last year by acquiring either companies or rights to germplasm literally around the world. One of its biggest acquisitions was purchasing Dairyland Seeds, based in Wisconsin, but with active dealers and research stations in Indiana.
DowAgroSciences also engaged in acquisitions in Europe and elsewhere. Stay tuned for further developments form the Indiana-based company. Its' parent company is Dow Chemical, Midland, MI.