Johnston-based seed corn giant Pioneer Hi-Bred International is entering into a joint venture with ag conglomerate Syngenta to reach more customers. Pioneer president Dean Oestreich says the company has spent 80 years developing the world’s first and largest library of plant genetic material which has, until now, been exclusive.

Oestreich says “Our commitment to bringing high-quality, high-yielding seed to the market in a Pioneer seed bag, will not change with these agreements. At the same time, we’re excited about the opportunity through GreenLeaf Genetics to make our genetics available to a segment of the marketplace that Pioneer has not served before today.” He says the agreement involves the “out-licensing” of corn and soybean genetics and biotech traits to other U.S. and Canadian seed companies, with the potential to expand worldwide.

Oestreich says “This agreement also is about making our latest biotechnology available to more farmers and to do so more quickly and more broadly.” The joint venture, GreenLeaf Genetics, will offer corn and soybean breeding material from both Pioneer and Syngenta. He says Green Leaf, which is based in Omaha, Nebraska, will target market segments that are underserved to offer foundation houses, regional seed companies and retailers new competitive choices for traits and germplasm. Under the deal, he says Syngenta will market the new Pioneer product, Optimum GAT.

Oestreich says Pioneer has developed a more herbicide-tolerant trait for growers that’s an alternative to the popular glyphosate-tolerant trait that Pioneer and many other seed companies currently offer. He says it’ll help growers deal more effectively with problem weeds that are limiting productivity. This agreement forms the seed industry’s first 50/50 joint venture to out-license genetics.

Pioneer and Syngenta have also agreed to cross-license certain corn and soybean traits that each company will market independently under their own seed brands.