( File photo )

Syngenta has acquired vegetable seed breeder, producer and marketer Feasterville, Pa.-based Abbott & Cobb, known for its sweet corn.

Abbott & Cobb since 1917 has provided seeds geared to the needs of the fresh produce industry in the U.S. and worldwide, according to a news release.

Syngenta’s acquisition of Abbott & Cobb’s expertise, portfolio and pipelines will strengthen its vegetable seeds business in sweet corn, already one of Syngenta’s core crops globally, according to the release.

“Abbott & Cobb is a strategic acquisition for Syngenta Vegetable Seeds and it will give us access to high eating quality germplasm, and early maturity varieties to complement the Syngenta portfolio,” said Javier Martinez-Cabrera, Syngenta’s head of Vegetables Seeds North America, in the release. “We welcome the Abbott & Cobb team into the business and look forward to achieving great things as one team.”

 

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Submitted by Jim Provost on Fri, 04/13/2018 - 13:36

Syngenta’s signature product is atrazine, a herbicide that’s used widely on crops and lawns alike. Scientists have found that atrazine is associated with low sperm counts in men, among other reproductive health problems. https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/04/0427_050427_strangeday…
It’s been banned in Europe since 2004. But efforts to regulate it in the U.S. have floundered. In spring 2012, the House of Representatives considered a bill to ban atrazine. The bill died in committee. https://www.congress.gov/bill/112th-congress/house-bill/4318/text

That year, Syngenta’s lobbyist Jeffrey Sands lobbied the Senate, House and EPA on atrazine for the Agricultural Retailers Association. (He joined Syngenta in 2015.) He now works as a Senior Agricultural Advisor for the EPA under the Trump Administration.

Although he’s now left Syngenta, his involvement with atrazine may not be over. The EPA is in middle of a registration review to figure out whether atrazine meets regulations. It’s due to release a report on atrazine’s effect on human health sometime this spring.
Now, Trump does require appointees to sign an ethics pledge that somewhat limits the work they can do on issues they’ve recently lobbied on. But he’s also given dozens of waivers so far, including to Sands.

Sands’ waiver allows him to advise the EPA on “a broad range of agricultural interests.” He can still work on policies and regulations that benefit agribusinesses — including Syngenta — though he can’t work on anything directly related to the company.

An interesting thing: Sands’ waiver wasn’t made public until asked about it. Then @OfficeGovEthics posted it online.

So much for “draining the swamp”….