BASF didn't waste any time after purchasing American Cyanamid on July 1, 2000. It took only three months to integrate BASF and former Cyanamid products, re-structure marketing, tech and sales teams, outline a goal for the future and present it to customers.

BASF announced the changes to its dealers and distributors at a "strategic summit" in Las Vegas, on Oct. 1.

Friedrich Vogel of BASF's Agricultural Products Division says the rapidly changing agricultural marketplace is a challenge to the future of manufacturers, distributors and producers. He pointed out:

- Consolidation in the industry is taking place in manufacturing, distribution and production, and that the average age of the producer in going up.

- Global competition is changing market dynamics.

- The biotechnology revolution is creating confusion and reluctance to buy products. But acceptance will come when biotech develops crop traits that can help consumers.

- There is uncertainty about how e-commerce will affect distribution of crop protection products.

- Continued population growth means an ever-increasing market for our crops.

- Demand for quality.

- Commodity prices. "Farmers are struggling to make ends meet," Vogel said. "I believe we are close to the end of the cycle, but it may not happen rapidly."

BASF announced plans to launch 15 new products by 2006 in the herbicide, fungicide and insecticide markets.

The company announced a global agreement with RiceTec, Inc., for the development, production and commercialization of high-performance hybrid rice for the Clearfield Production System. The result of the agreement will be the development of the first hybrid rice with tolerance to imidazolinone (imi) herbicides. The trait for imi-tolerant rice was developed without genetic engineering. The first commercial hybrids resulting from this agreement are projected to be available in the United States in 2003.

Hans Kast, president and CEO, BASF plant sciences, said the company "plans to be a leading provider of plant biotechnology based or value-added products."

Resulting varieties or hybrids might contain higher oil and protein content or improve digestibility. Other research is being initiated for the "plant as a factory" program, where crops are used to produce industrial oils and starches, specialties and polymers.

The company plans to gain market access for these traits through partnerships with seed companies and plans to manage the value chain to make sure that such undertakings are profitable for producers as well as distributors and handlers.

BASF will release four new corn herbicides in the coming years, several new products associated with the Clearfield Production System, and a new generation of strobilurin fungicides. The broad spectrum fungicide F-500 will be marketed as Cabrio and Headline. Neither have yet been registered by EPA, but the active ingredient in both has been designated as a reduced-risk candidate. Headline is targeted toward diseases in small grains and peanuts.