There were several panels related to agricultural biotechnology on the second day of the BIO Convention focusing on a variety of issues including high-performing energy crops, emerging standards for stewardship in agriculture, private public partnerships to promote agricultural development and increasing drought tolerance in plants.
We had the opportunity to interview Michael Metzlaff of Bayer CropScience, the moderator of the “Breakthroughs in Plant Stress Tolerance Technologies” who spoke of the advances in research in drought tolerant crops.
We also talked with Daniel Mataruka of African Agricultural Technology Foundation, who spoke on the “Public-Private Partnerships in Agricultural Biotechnology: Going Beyond Development Impact” panel. Dr. Mataruka spoke of the political resistance to ag biotech in Africa and the efforts to overcome the opposition.
BIOtechNOW Blog wrote about the “The Value Proposition for Next-Generation Energy Crops: Value Chain and Business Model Considerations” panel:
Food & Ag sessions got off to an interesting start this morning as three companies told their very different tales of sailing turbulent economic waters over the past two years in search of profitable harbors.
With oil at $140/barrel, it looked like a game almost anybody could play. With oil at $50/barrel things are a lot more competitive.
Aaron Schuchart (Mendel BioTechnology) described Mendel’s approach to the challenges of making and selling improved seeds to serve farmers seeking to provide feedstock for biomass energy and fuels. When a 10 percent increase in yield can improve producer margins by 114 percent, it’s a market worthy of attention. Mendel is working with a variety of materials including sugarcane and, Miscanthus, testing a broad variety of germplasm in search of the best material to adapt to regional markets.