February 2022 - 12

MARKETS
Moving
Bayer's vegetable seed leader sees 'shift toward
organic preference'
Photos: Bayer
By Stephen Kloosterman
Associate Editor
Organic seeds are not as niche a
market as some might suspect.
The acres qualified for certifiedorganic
agriculture are a thin fraction
of the total acreage that's cultivated.
Commercial, certified-organic
growers in the U.S. may use untreated,
non-organic seeds when organic seeds
aren't available in the quality, quantity
or form needed.
And yet, the demand for organic
seed continues to grow, attracting the
attention of ag giant Bayer, which last
September announced plans to expand
its vegetable seed offerings to include
organically produced vegetable seeds.
The launch will focus on certified
organic production in three key crops for
the greenhouse and glasshouse market:
tomato, sweet pepper and cucumber.
In announcing the new initiative,
Bayer quoted estimates from the
International Federation of Organic
Agriculture Movements that valued the
global organic food seeds market at $355
million in 2020 with growth expected.
To better understand the changes in
the markets, Organic Grower recently
caught up with Bayer's Inici Dannenberg.
Vegetable Growers News:
Tell me a bit about yourself and
professional background.
Inci Dannenberg: Thanks for the
opportunity to connect! I am president
of Bayer's Vegetable Seeds business
within our Crop Science division.
Next year, I will have been with Bayer
for 30 years. In that time, I've had
the opportunity to hold a variety of
positions within the company including
marketing, strategy, sales leadership
and commercial operations. Before
my current role, I served as Head
of Vegetable Seeds Global Strategic
10 | VegetableGrowersNews.com
Marketing and previous to that I
was Senior VP of North America
Business Strategy for our Crop Science
organization with a focus on the
successful integration of our newly
expanded North America commercial
organization following the acquisition
of Monsanto.
Because I've had an opportunity
to build my career at Bayer, I am
passionate and committed to
talent development and mentoring
professionals, both inside Bayer and
externally. I believe it's very important
for all of us to mentor employees as
they grow their careers - we all play an
important role in their successes. I am
also a proud Kansas State University
alumni! My husband and I have three
grown sons, and we live in St. Louis,
Missouri.
VGN: How did Bayer get to this
point? What moves a company
of Bayer's caliber to get into
organics?
ID: There are two reasons - our
vision and our customers. At Bayer,
our vision is " Health for all, Hunger
for none " and our vegetable seeds
business plays an important role in
advancing health and nutrition. We see
an increase in consumer demand for
organic produce in some key markets
continuing to grow at a faster rate than
demand for conventional produce. To
promote improved health through fruit
and vegetable consumption, we must
address the preferences of a variety of
consumers, and help growers produce
what those consumers want to buy, eat
and feed their families.
Our customers who grow organic
produce rely on high-quality seeds,
and they've asked us to help them by
offering a range of certified organic
Seminis and De Ruiter brand seeds.
We've seen the shift toward organic
preference in many markets and know
the need is there. As every organic
grower knows from experience, it takes
time to go through the conversion
process to develop and implement the
systems and processes to obtain organic
certification. For us, it was also critical
to make certain
that we could
offer the same
high standards in
seed quality for
organic certified
seeds as we do
in conventional
seeds, and to
extend our initial
organic testing
network much
more widely for new variety launches
from our breeding pipelines. Now, after
successful trials and careful preparation,
we are confident our portfolio will
deliver.
VGN: Why is the initiative
INCI
DANNENBERG
focused mostly on greenhouses?
ID: Greenhouse production in
southern Europe is the source for
much of the certified organic tomatoes,
peppers and cucumbers supplied
to the broader European market
throughout the year. We have a strong
customer base there that is familiar
with our locally adapted genetics.
Also, a significant part of the protected
market will be under certified organic
production by the end of the decade,
and we're committed to supplying
that demand with our best-in-class
genetics and tailored solutions to ensure
that our industry can meet increased
consumer demand. The same holds true
for greenhouse production in Mexico,
where growers complement glasshouse
production in the U.S. and Canada.
VGN: The announcement about
offering rootstocks is exciting
because of how important that is
for organics and for the growers
themselves. Do you intend to graft
them in-house, or to have that
done by a third party?
ID: We currently offer a marketleading
portfolio of tomato rootstock
seeds to growers and plant propagators
who then grow and graft the rootstocks.
This will be the same approach for
our certified organic line - in many
cases serving the same growers and
plant raisers. Already a number of our
plant raiser customers have significant
experience in supplying organic seeds
and are looking forward to bringing
these strong tools to organic growers
with fully certified crops.
VGN: Many outdoor organic
growers use rootstocks for
a stronger or more diseaseresistant
plant. To the best of your
knowledge, what is greenhouse
growers' interest in tomato
rootstocks?
ID: Greenhouse growers have a
similar, if not greater, interest in strong
plants and our rootstocks offer a range
of disease resistance as well as vigor and
season longevity. Glasshouse growers
value the sustained growing power
provided by our rootstocks, and the
same is true in greenhouse production
too, but as you rightly suggest, the
importance of strong rootstocks in soil
production systems is potentially even
more significant, and we've deliberately
chosen to include rootstocks with
nematode resistance and Fusarium race
3 resistance in our organic offering, to
give growers the best start, support and
security to their crop and production.
VGN: What would you say
separates or distinguishes the
Seminis and De Ruiter brands?
ID: Our organic varieties will be sold
under both Seminis and De Ruiter, two
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February 2022

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https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/march-2024
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/february-2024
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/vgn-digital-seed-guide-2024
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/january-2024
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/buyers-guide-2024
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/december-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/november-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/september-october-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/july-august
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/may-june-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/april-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/march-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/vgn-digital-seed-guide-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/february-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/january-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/december-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/buyers-guide-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/november-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/september-october-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/august-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/july-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/june-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/may-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/march-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/february-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/seedguide-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/buyersguide-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/january-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/december-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/november-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/october-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/september-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/august-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/july-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/june-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/may-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/april-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/march-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/february-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/seedguide-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/buyersguide-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/january-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/december-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/november-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/october-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/september-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/august-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/july-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/june-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/may-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/april-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/march-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/february-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/buyersguide-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/january-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/december-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/november-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/october-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/september-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/august-2019
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https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/february-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/buyersguide-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/january-2019
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