Today started really early as it was a busy but very exciting and informational day for us all! We had the opportunity to visit Seed Valley, a business structure designed after Silicon Valley in the United States, as well as round out the day at a concert in Amsterdam.
Just to give a little background on Seed Valley; it is a 21 company cooperative that is working to develop a sustainable, vital, high-quality, and innovative business sector by investing in its image, skilled workers, innovation, and experience sharing. We had the opportunity to visit 4 of the companies that are involved in Seed Valley and their role in the seed industry.
We began our day at Enza Zaden a family owned Dutch vegetable breeding company. They are the #6 breeding company in the world and the fastest growing vegetable seed company. Enzo Zaden is very persistent on being family owned and continuing to be independent from banking organizations now and in the future. We had the opportunity to sit down and discuss agriculture with one member of their board of directors. He discussed how the main focuses of their company is to invest in R & D as well as in their employees. Lastly, Enza really stresses how important the environment is on their agenda and how that they don’t believe that they need GMOs because there are better ways to do it!
The next stop was at Sygenta where we had the opportunity to learn about their seed development processes as well as tour their facilities. They gave us a lot of information about how they plan to streamline their processes to decrease the time it takes to develop more varieties as well as the challenges they may face when looking to expand/acquire new business operations. We had the opportunity to visit one of their seed testing labs as well as a greenhouse where they are growing resistant seeds.
Our third stop of the day was to Incotec an international company that doesn’t breed seeds but rather provide services such as film coating, priming, allocation of actives & additives, etc. We were given a breakdown of all of the different processes that occur to perform their services. They also provided us with a tour of their facilities to better understand how they cater their services to the customer’s demands. Incotec’s biggest business is currently in vegetables but they are looking to grow in their film coating operations in the near future!
Lastly, but definitely not least, we finished off our Seed Valley excursion with Monsanto where we had the opportunity to learn about their vegetable business also! Monsanto was more focused on the entire process than just one specific part. They also provided with us a lot of insight into how the exporting process is, along with all the regulations they needed to follow and what kind of mess you can have it just one little thing isn’t right. We ultimately had a great day at Seed Valley and learned lots and lots about vegetable seed production!
After finishing up at Seed Valley we quickly rushed back to the hotel to grab a quick bite to eat and get even more spiffy to head out for the night at a concert. Definitely not the type of concert you might think, but I think it’s safe to say we all really enjoyed ourselves! The concert we had the opportunity to attend was at Concertgebouw, called a Scandinavian Evening: Mustonen, Grieg, and Nielsen. Concertgebouw is the largest and most visited concert hall in the world and had a very amazing composer and orchestra to perform for us!
Well here’s to another great day in Holland! Hard to believe how fast time has flow in the past two weeks, to think we will all be heading back to D.C. in just a few short days. We are looking forward to tomorrow and getting to spend the day at the world’s largest orange pepper greenhouse!
Kayla Seidler, North Dakota State University