Sustainability can sometimes be an unclear term in the mind of the general public, but it’s a critical concept for the future of food production. That was a central message throughout a day of presentations and tours at the Grand Opening of a new Valent BioSciences research facility in Libertyville, IL, July 24. Everything about the facility is designed around collaboration that can help growers produce crops and plants in ways that are safe for the environment and their own workers, as well as helping them operate sustainable businesses for the long term.
“It’s no longer so much about what you grow, but how you grow it,” said Andy Lee, President and CEO of Valent U.S.A. and Valent BioSciences.
Lee said he expects the new facility to deliver the next generation of microbial-based products for ag; science that improves soil health; biorational tools that enhance quality and yields, and provide new ways to harvest crops; and technologies that help solve the problem of food spoilage and waste.
Valent BioSciences’ new 85,000-square-foot Biorational Research Center includes 20,000 square feet of greenhouse space. According to Valent BioSciences Senior Brand and Communications Manager Rick Melnick, the state-of-the-art facility will drive innovation as all functional areas of the company’s scientific team will now be working in a single location. The center will serve as a hub for the company’s global research, development, and manufacturing support, including greenhouse research, plant biology, entomology, plant pathology, chemistry, fermentation, formulation/downstream processing, and rhizosphere and soil health activities.
Sustainability is a priority not just for Valent but also for its parent company, Sumitomo Chemical Company (SCC), and the Valent Group of Companies which includes Mycorrhizal Applications, Pace International, and MGK.
Ray Nishimoto, a member of the Board of Sumitomo Chemical and responsible for the company’s Health & Crop Sciences Sector, noted Valent’s recent launch of a Sustainable Solutions Business Unit. This new division within the company is dedicated to supporting the adoption and integration of sustainable production practices for crop protection, productivity, and yield enhancement products and technologies.
“We believe this is all part of an evolution toward more sustainable systems,” Nishimoto said.