Corn Stewardship for Biotechnology Corn

Roger Ginder
Darren Jarboe


Dow AgroSciences LLC, Monsanto Company, and Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. have established a grain stewardship program for hybrids not yet approved by the European Union. These Market Choices hybrids contain the Heculex I, Roundup Ready, YieldGard Rootworm, or stacked YieldGard CornBorer-Liberty Link trait. The StarLinkTM situation heightened concern about the potential impact a grain stewardship failure for Market Choices grain could have on Iowa and U.S. corn exports.


The program was initiated in 2001 when Iowa Grain Quality Initiative (IGQI) teamed with Monsanto to create a poster and web site to raise Iowa producer awareness of the importance of grain stewardship and to foster communication between produers and grain handlers about the delivery of Market Choices grain. Other cooperators on the project were the Agribusiness Association of Iowa, Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and Iowa Institute for Cooperatives. In 2002, with full financial support from Monsanto, Illinois and Indiana were added with cooperation from the corn grower organizations and grain and feed associations in those states. Dow AgroSciences, Monsanto, and Pioneer, requested the program be expanded into nine Midwestern states in 2003. All the corn grower organizations, grain and feed associations, university extension programs, and most cooperative organizations (37 partners) in the nine state regions were cooperators on the project.

The $30,000 project was funded by Dow AgroSciences ($5,000), Monsanto ($12,500), and Pioneer ($12,500). In-kind contributions from cooperators were estimated at $30,000. This estimate includes staff time to review materials, intellectual property, mailing lists, printing, and promotion of the program.

Two posters were developed, 18”x24” (ISU Extension Publication SP 161) and 8.5”x11” (ISU Extension Publication SP 162), promoting the delivery of Market Choices grain. The posters were distributed to 4,300 grain collection sites in nine Midwestern states. Each grain handler received two posters of each size for a total distribution of 17,200 posters. The Extension offices in each state provided additional posters to grain facilities in their respective states on request. The American Seed Trade Association’s (ASTA) Market Choices committee developed a sticker that elevators could use for producer correspondence to indicate their Market Choices grain receiving policy. The sticker was included in the poster mailing.

Pioneer distributed the small poster to 19,000 producers that purchased Market Choices hybrids. The seed technology companies provided their sales and agronomy staff with project information.

A comprehensive web site,, was created to disseminate information related to Market Choices grain and receive feedback. The site offered a direct link to the ASTA Grain Handler’s Database, National Corn Growers Association hybrid approval list, Market Choices program information, resources for successful grain stewardship, and tools for grain handlers. The site also contained a media bureau with radio sound bites and written information for use by the media.

ISU Extension CECS developed a general news release and poster image that project cooperators could use to promote the program in their newsletters and magazines. Many cooperators used these materials. CECS provided an article to Wallaces Farmer for the September 1, 2003 issue. CECS also developed news releases and stories about the program providing the materials in a form that small, rural newspapers prefer as well as a format that large publications use. CECS staff conducted the interviews that were posted on the web site as a media resource.


The program’s success is indicated by: 1) Steady growth of the program from one state in 2001, three states in 2002, and nine states in 2003; 2) The number of project cooperators has also increased from five in 2001, 12 in 2002, and 37 in 2003; and 3) The project funding sources expanded from one to three during this time while funding has grown from $4,100 to $30,000.

A network of corn entities has been developed that can disseminate information quickly across a nine state region. Corn issues, like StarLink corn, that require quick action by corn value chain participants will be more easily coordinated across the nine state region.

The program is building producer and grain handler awareness of changes in the corn value chain for Market Choices corn, which has not yet received approval in the European Union. Elevator staff have indicated that the poster allows them to segue into the topic of Market Choices corn delivery, enhancing the communication channel between two parties in a system that traditionally has not required it. They will have to work together in the future if biotechnology’s potential is to be recognized.

2003 Cooperators
Agribusiness Association of Iowa*
American Seed Trade Association*
Dow AgroSciences LLC Grain and Feed Association of Illinois*
Illinois Corn Growers Association*
Indiana Corn Growers Association*
Indiana Grain and Feed Assn.*
Iowa Corn Growers Association*
Iowa Institute for Cooperatives*
Iowa State University Extension*
Minnesota Assn. of Cooperatives
Minnesota Corn Growers Association
Minnesota Grain and Feed Assn.
Missouri Ag Industries Council, Inc.
Missouri Corn Growers Association
Monsanto Company*
National Corn Growers Association
Nebraska Cooperative Council
Nebraska Corn Board
Nebraska Corn Growers Association
Nebraska Grain and Feed Assn.
Ohio Agribusiness Association
Ohio Corn Marketing Program
The Ohio State University
Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.
Purdue University*
South Dakota Corn Growers Assn.
South Dakota Grain and Feed Association
South Dakota State University
Wisconsin Corn Program
Wisconsin Agri-Service Assn.
Wisconsin Federation of Cooperatives
University of Illinois Extension*
University of Minnesota Extension
University of Missouri Extension
University of Nebraska Extension
University of Wisconsin Extension

*denotes 2002 partners2003 ISU Team Members

Jeni Maiers, Jean McGuire, David Pavlik, Micki Nelson, Ken Burditt

Page last updated: July 9, 2006
Page maintained by Linda Schultz,