Since we began in 1991, Forage Genetics International (FGI) has developed a diversified and unique portfolio of forage products by remaining committed to learning, exploration and innovation. As a wholly owned subsidiary of Land O'Lakes, Inc., we focus on scientific discovery and advancement in alfalfa, always keeping the producer in mind at every step.
Early on, we recognized the possibilities available with biotechnology. We entered the biotech arena in 1998 and became the first — and only — company to successfully commercialize a biotech trait in alfalfa. Initially, our team worked with Monsanto on Roundup Ready® Alfalfa as their breeding and trait development partner. That success led to the development of other traits, including HarvXtra® alfalfa in 2016.
Before the HarvXtra®alfalfa trait, traits had only focused on better weed management or reducing insect pressure. HarvXtra® alfalfa is the first biotech trait focused on enhancing quality by reducing an element — lignin — that impacts the digestibility of the forage for cows. It's this record of firsts that has made FGI a critical collaborator in the forage industry.
Big Investments in the Big Three
By focusing our resources on alfalfa, corn silage and forage sorghum, our business has been able to serve all the unique geographies within the United States, as well as explore international opportunities. And while other companies are stepping away from alfalfa and forages, our acquisitions and partnerships demonstrate that we are all in.
For example, in 2016 FGI acquired the remaining stake in Global Seed Genetics, a maize genetics company based in Mexico that focuses on breeding high-quality maize seed for tropical markets around the world. We also purchased Monsanto's stake in the commercial rights to Roundup Ready® Alfalfa and the enabling technology for alfalfa and corn silage, opening the door for more innovation in future alfalfa and corn silage offerings.
FGI also acquired Ceres, Inc. in 2016. Ceres, Inc. is an agricultural biotechnology company that develops and markets seeds and traits. Ceres, Inc has well over two decades of research and development in bioenergy that will be complimentary and incremental to current FGI efforts and forage opportunities. This purchase bolsters our strength in discovery and lab testing, and adds specialization in forage sorghum.
The Path Ahead
These strategic investments have positioned FGI for the next quarter century of innovation and forage leadership. With the discovery-to-commercialization process taking 10 years, we're investing now to reap rewards a decade out.
In the meantime, our healthy pipeline includes products to help increase forage yield and quality across geographies, while we also explore the application of forage in biofuels. Watch for more exciting FGI innovations in the months and years ahead.