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Valent sees strong product growth.

Editor's Note: Kevin Hammill joined Valent U.S.A. Corporation, Walnut Creek, Calif., in 2004 as senior director of marketing. Prior to joining Valent, Hammill spent 15 years in various sales and marketing roles in the agriculture chemical sector.

AM: What are Valent's primary markets?

KH: Valent U.S.A. Corporation is divided into four business segments to meet customers' needs: Northern row crops, Southern row crops, specialty agricultural products and Valent Professional Products. These four segments allow us the flexibility to respond quickly and effectively to the needs of customers in each market. This structure means we can concentrate on helping agricultural growers to produce a safe and abundant food supply and horticultural producers to improve the quality of life for the customers they serve.

AM: Having worked in the crop protection industry for 15 years, what sets Valent apart from other companies?

KH: Valent is a very flexible and nimble company, and we are, in my view, better able to take a proactive approach to meet distributor, retailer and growers' needs. We are also committed to multiple crops and to providing specialized solutions to crop protection problems. Plus, we really live our motto: Products That Work, From People Who Care. This commitment to both product quality and exceptional service sets Valent apart in the ag industry.

AM: What achievements has Valent experienced in the past year?

KH: We have had numerous achievements this year including several successful new brand launches. We have also created exciting alliances and licenses with other companies to bring helpful new tools to our customers. Our rapidly expanding product portfolio has brought several new technologies to the U.S. market including Domark Fungicide. As the top performing fungicide for preventative and curative control of Asian soybean rust, we expect Domark to be a key tool for soybean growers this year. We also laid the groundwork for continued momentum with our newest products Prestige PGR and Select Max with Inside Technology.

AM: Since joining Valent, what have been your primary marketing goals?

KH: My primary marketing goals have been to ensure the Valent team understands our customers' needs and are able to meet those needs with an ever-expanding line of differentiated products acquired through alliances and licensing. Valent has had strong product growth since I joined the company a year ago with several product launches. We have been able to do all of this while still maintaining market share for our most trusted products Orthene, ProGibb and Select by offering growers value-added formulations, expert support and superior service.

AM: How do you educate growers about products and environmental stewardship?

KH: Valent takes a proactive, integrated approach to educating growers about its products and environmental stewardship. This commitment is in our product development strategy, on our product labels and in our marketing communications. Valent utilizes a number of resources to help educate growers including press releases, print advertising, direct mail and our Web site, We also host and sponsor numerous educational meetings each year. In fact, a large group of Valent representatives and customers just returned from Brazil where they spent a week learning about Asian soybean rust and fungicide applications. Valent also sponsors Western Farm Press's online course "Managing Drift to Minimize Problems." This course educates and trains our customer base on different aspects of spray drift and allows PCAs to earn continuing education credit to maintain their licenses.

Finally, Valent takes pride in offering some of the most environmentally friendly products available on the market. We have a growing line of products listed by the OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) for organic production and will often voluntarily label products to help reduce the risk of resistance. Plus, we try to provide growers with products that won't leach or volatilize, and have a reduced risk to humans, non-target organisms and the environment.

AM: What is Valent BioSciences Corporation and how has it affected the business?

KH: Valent BioSciences Corporation (VBC) is a sister company to Valent U.S.A. Corporation. We market and sell VBC's agricultural products in the U.S. VBC has state-of-the-art expertise in PGRs and is a worldwide leader in the research, development and commercialization of low-risk, environmentally compatible technologies and products such as biological insecticides and nematicides. This allows Valent U.S.A. to provide growers with a pipeline of innovative new products.
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Title Annotation:VIEW FROM THE TOP
Publication:Agri Marketing
Article Type:Interview
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2005
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