DuPont Pioneer VP on Using Technology to Give Farmers, Consumers More Choices

Farming may be one of the oldest professions, but DuPont Pioneer is bringing it into the 21st century by investing heavily in technology.

In a Conference Room interview with FBN’s Jeff Flock, DuPont Pioneer vice president and regional business director Steve Reno says the plant-genetics company is focused on developing seeds with farmers’ needs in mind. Pioneer recently built a 200,000-square-foot greenhouse for research and development purposes.

“We’re all about how can we help growers maximize productivity on every acre, and these greenhouses help us do that. We have some of the latest technology … our AQUAmax products were developed at these greenhouses,” says Reno. AQUAmax is Pioneer’s line of drought-tolerant products that will be used on over 10 million acres this year, according to Reno.

Brent Wilson, the technical services manager for Pioneer, says developing cutting-edge drought-tolerant products has become even more important in recent years given the conditions in many Midwest and Western states.

“We’ve been in the Western corn belt for over 50 years. The AQUAmax … is that next level of drought-tolerance that really allows growers to plant in what may be some really challenging conditions, and still maintain that yield potential in a cornfield,” says Wilson.

Overall, the agriculture industry has become much more tech- and data-driven, says Encirca director of services Joe Foresman. Pioneer’s Encirca platform helps farmers better analyze their crops.

“Historically, we’ve taken … an 80-acre field out there [and] we treated it the same way all the way around,” says Foresman. “Today every implement that goes across that field is collecting data. And this data can become very important if it’s compiled right, analyzed and laid against the kind of genetics and performance of the plants [so] that we can help them identify ways to improve their productivity.”

Thanks to the investment in R&D, Reno says Pioneer is now better able to provide growers – and thereby consumers – with more options when it comes to fruits and vegetables, including both genetically modified and natural seeds.

“If you think about genetically modified and genetically engineered seed, it’s safe, it’s effective and [it’s] used by over 18 million growers worldwide. At DuPont Pioneer, we do believe it is an excellent tool if we’re truly going to believe we’re going to feed a growing population going from 7 billion to 9 billion,” says Reno.

“At DuPont Pioneer, we’re also going to give growers a choice between a GMO and a non-GMO product so they can decide what’s best for their farm. It’s all about giving choices both to the grower and the consumer,” adds Reno.