Monsanto Canada Inc.

Monsanto Canada Inc.

November 23, 2010 12:00 ET

Monsanto Canada Unveils $12 Million Breeding Centre in Winnipeg

Centre Will Serve as the Heart of Monsanto Canada's Breeding Efforts for Canola

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(Marketwire - Nov. 23, 2010) - Monsanto Canada today hosted farmers, retail customers and other key industry stakeholders at the official Grand Opening of its new $12 million breeding facility – home to the company's high-tech research and breeding activities focused on bringing top-yielding canola hybrids to Canadian canola farmers.

Sod was turned 16 months ago, with Monsanto Canada breeding staff making the transition into the new facility in early September. The new breeding centre is located adjacent to the current site of Monsanto's corporate Canadian head office at the University of Manitoba's Smart Park in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Monsanto relocated its Canadian corporate head office to the University of Manitoba after investing $4 million into the construction of a new office building in 2005.

"Our research and investment in breeding, biotechnology and agronomy has helped farmers realize significant yield gains in crops like corn, soybeans and cotton. Over the past five years, we have brought that level of investment and expertise to canola," said Monsanto Canada president and general manager, Derek Penner. "Canola is a uniquely Canadian crop and a key strategic focus area for Monsanto's Canadian business."

Today, Monsanto Canada invests $20 to $30 million annually into research and development activities focused specifically on canola. The result has been the introduction of several top-yielding DEKALB® canola hybrids to the western Canadian marketplace, now grown by thousands of farmers across Canada.

The Monsanto Canada Breeding Centre covers approximately 29,000 sq. ft. and contains office space, labs, preparation rooms and growth chambers. It is one of several facilities in North America dedicated to the breeding efforts for Monsanto Canada's rapidly growing canola business.

Approximately 40 staff involved in line development breeding and breeding support functions, as well as the canola breeding management team, work at the new site which includes laboratory facilities for all canola quality analytics, double haploid breeding (tissue culture) and plant pathology. Climate-controlled plant growth chambers, soil preparation areas and warehouse space are also incorporated into the facility design and accommodate activities related to canola plant breeding such as hybridization, early generation selection, plant cultivation, drying and threshing.

"Farmers continue to embrace and demand new technology. As we build on our platform of making improvements through the use of breeding, biotechnology and agronomy, this facility – and related field research testing sites spread across Canada - will play a critical role in bringing new tools to farmers to help them be successful," said Jonathan Jenkinson, Monsanto Canada's canola breeding lead.

As part of its commitment to environmental sustainability, the new Breeding Centre was built to "LEED Silver" certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) – an eco-friendly seal of approval that recognizes the company's commitment to sustainable, energy-efficient building construction. It features several natural skylights, sensored lighting, geothermal heating and cooling and the surrounding grounds will be planted to native Prairie grasses next spring.

The company's current canola program is focused on providing support for its Genuity® canola trait business; maximizing return on germplasm investment in canola hybrids through the DEKALB® seed brand; and creating a new germplasm and agronomic trait package, including bringing new beneficial traits to canola such as enhanced yield; disease and pest protection; exploring harvest management traits such as standability; improving the oil composition of canola and helping the crop deal with environmental stresses such as drought and cold.

"The new breeding centre embodies Monsanto's very best in research and technology and will allow us to bring new products to market faster. That is important to both our business and to farmers looking for new technology to help strengthen their business on the farm," said Penner.

Headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Monsanto Canada Inc. is part of the larger global Monsanto family. Monsanto Company is an agricultural company and a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality. Monsanto remains focused on enabling both small-holder and large-scale farmers to produce more from their land while conserving more of our world's natural resources such as water and energy. Learn more about our business and our commitments at www.monsanto.ca.

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