Crop Tech - January 2020

Farm Journal's Crop Tech ( Lindsey Benne )

Benson Hill Introduces New Seed Company

St. Louis-based Benson Hill has launched Benson Hill Seeds, which offers eMerge Genetics, a portfolio of non-GMO soybean varieties.

Prior to this announcement, Benson Hill had built its business in the ag market with CropOS, a predictive plant-breeding and gene-editing platform. Earlier in 2019, Benson Hill acquired Schillinger Genetics of Iowa, which included the eMerge Genetics brand.

Benson Hill Seeds specifically provides non-GMO varieties with desirable protein and oil composition. The company says seeds also have improved feed digestibility and other quality sought by niche and end users.

The company says their eMerge Genetics meet non-GMO Verified certification and sale in all markets, including the European Union.

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Indiana Restricts Dicamba Further

The major dicamba products labeled for over-the-top use in soybeans and cotton will be restricted to an earlier cutoff date of June 20, 2020, in Indiana. This includes Engenia, FeXapan, Tavium and XtendiMax herbicides.

The state regulating bodies came to this decision following research on the products and their use in ag. One such study found the number of dicamba-related complaints in Indiana jumped from a maximum of 13 in 2016 to an annual average of 153 from 2017 to 2019. In 2019, there were 178 complaints filed in the state related to dicamba.

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FBN Invests in Brick and Mortar Locations

In 2020, Farmers Business Network (FBN) is adding three facets to its business model. All three are investments not in digital tools, but rather more traditional aspects of ag retail services such as agronomic consulting and a rewards program.

The company will launch a Partner Program with 183 farmer-members across the U.S. and Canada. A portion of the network will be hubs that are integrated into FBN’s distribution network for FBN Direct.

“This makes our business more local,” says Charles Baron, co-founder of FBN. “It combines the best of e-commerce efficiencies with a permanent presence closer to our farmer-members. Farmers can choose if they want product shipped to a hub for free, or we will deliver to their door.”

Additionally, FBN Direct now includes a team of agronomists who are on call to answer farmer questions about input decisions, and FBN Direct will now also have a rewards program. This includes earlier access to products and the ability to earn a free FBN membership based on participation in FBN offerings.

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