REDACTED cold Minnesota weather REDACTEDREDACTEDREDACTEDREDACTEDREDACTEDREDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED Northrup, King and Co. later developed other cold-weather brands called Sterling, Northland, and Viking. These brands differed in price and quality, and were targeted to different audiences. This made Northrup, King and Co. one of the first seed companies to use branding as a marketing technique. In 1917, Northrup, King and Co. built a new headquarters in Minneapolis at 1500 Jackson Street Southeast. The company kept a retail store on Hennepin Avenue, but its new location was ideal for distributing seed. It was located where the Great Northern and Northern Pacific railroads came together. Corn hybrids became a major part of the company’s business in the 1930s. In 1938, Northrup, King and Co. partnered with the University of Minnesota to test the company’s hybrid corn varieties at Femco Farms in the Red River Valley. Their hybrids were engineered to have the best traits of different genetic strains. They were also very profitable, because the hybrid breeding process meant that the hybrids were intellectually protected even without patents. In the 1960s, Northrup, King and Co. vice president Allenby White fought for patent protection for agricultural crops that were more difficult to hybridize. This expanded protection was initially rejected by the United States Congress but passed in 1970. It helped companies including Northrup, King and Co. but hurt horticulturalists and small farmers. In 1968, Northrup, King and Co. offered its first public stock shares. The company grew rapidly after it went public, but in 1975 it saw significant losses. The next year, the company was purchased by a Swiss pharmaceutical company called Sandoz, Ltd. Sandoz bought the company for more than twice its book value, renamed it Northrup King, and invested heavily in research. In 1986, Northrup King moved out of the large building that it had occupied on Jackson Street since 1917. In 1996, Debbie Woodward began managing the old Northrup King building. Under her management, it became home to art studios, art galleries, and nonprofit organizations. Sandoz, Ltd. went through several corporate mergers and reorganizations in the 1990s. In 1997, Northrup King became a subsidiary of Syngenta, where it became known as the NK brand.
For years, despite his achievements, Hayes had felt like an interloper. In academic settings, it seemed to him that his colleagues were operating according to a frivolous code of manners: they spoke so formally, fashioning themselves as detached authorities, and rarely admitted what they didn’t know. He had grown up in Columbia, South Carolina, in a neighborhood where fewer than forty per cent of residents finish high school. Until sixth grade, when he was accepted into a program for the gifted, in a different neighborhood, he had never had a conversation with a white person his age. He and his friends used to tell one another how “white people do this, and white people do that,” pretending that they knew. After he switched schools and took advanced courses, the black kids made fun of him, saying, “Oh, he thinks he’s white.” He was fascinated by the idea of metamorphosis, and spent much of his adolescence collecting tadpoles and frogs and crossbreeding different species of grasshoppers. He raised frog larvae on his parents’ front porch, and examined how lizards respond to changes in temperature (by using a blow-dryer) and light (by placing them in a doghouse). His father, a carpet layer, used to look at his experiments, shake his head, and say, “There’s a fine line between a genius and a fool.”
Hayes received a scholarship to Harvard, and, in 1985, began what he calls the worst four years of his life. Many of the other black students had gone to private schools and came from affluent families. He felt disconnected and ill-equipped—he was placed on academic probation—until he became close to a biology professor, who encouraged him to work in his lab. Five feet three and thin, Hayes distinguished himself by dressing flamboyantly, like Prince. The Harvard Crimson, in an article about a campus party, wrote that he looked as if he belonged in the “rock-’n’-ready atmosphere of New York’s Danceteria.” He thought about dropping out, but then he started dating a classmate, Katherine Kim, a Korean-American biology major from Kansas. He married her two days after he graduated. They moved to Berkeley, where Hayes enrolled in the university’s program in integrative biology. He completed his Ph.D. in three and a half years, and was immediately hired by his department. “He was a force of nature—incredibly gifted and hardworking,” Paul Barber, a colleague who is now a professor at U.C.L.A., says. Hayes became one of only a few black tenured biology professors in the country. He won Berkeley’s highest award for teaching, and ran the most racially diverse lab in his department, attracting students who were the first in their families to go to college. Nigel Noriega, a former graduate student, said that the lab was a “comfort zone” for students who were “just suffocating at Berkeley,” because they felt alienated from academic culture. Hayes had become accustomed to steady praise from his colleagues, but, when Syngenta cast doubt on his work, he became preoccupied by old anxieties. He believed that the company was trying to isolate him from other scientists and “play on my insecurities—the fear that I’m not good enough, that everyone thinks I’m a fraud,” he said. He told colleagues that he suspected that Syngenta held “focus groups” on how to mine his vulnerabilities. Roger Liu, who worked in Hayes’s lab for a decade, both as an undergraduate and as a graduate student, said, “In the beginning, I was really worried for his safety. But then I couldn’t tell where the reality ended and the exaggeration crept in.” Liu and several other former students said that they had remained skeptical of Hayes’s accusations until last summer, when an article appeared in Environmental Health News (in partnership with 100Reporters)* that drew on Syngenta’s internal records. Hundreds of Syngenta’s memos, notes, and e-mails have been unsealed following the settlement, in 2012, of two class-action suits brought by twenty-three Midwestern cities and towns that accused Syngenta of “concealing atrazine’s true dangerous nature” and contaminating their drinking water. Stephen Tillery, the lawyer who argued the cases, said, “Tyrone’s work gave us the scientific basis for the lawsuit.” Hayes has devoted the past fifteen years to studying atrazine, and during that time scientists around the world have expanded on his findings, suggesting that the herbicide is associated with birth defects in humans as well as in animals. The company documents show that, while Hayes was studying atrazine, Syngenta was studying him, as he had long suspected. Syngenta’s public-relations team had drafted a list of four goals. The first was “discredit Hayes.” In a spiral-bound notebook, Syngenta’s communications manager, Sherry Ford, who referred to Hayes by his initials, wrote that the company could “prevent citing of TH data by revealing him as noncredible.” He was a frequent topic of conversation at company meetings. Syngenta looked for ways to “exploit Hayes’ faults/problems.” “If TH involved in scandal, enviros will drop him,” Ford wrote. She observed that Hayes “grew up in world (S.C.) that wouldn’t accept him,” “needs adulation,” “doesn’t sleep,” was “scarred for life.” She wrote, “What’s motivating Hayes?—basic question.”
Growers who plant Duracade crops must sign a “Syngenta Stewardship Agreement” that requires them to feed the harvest to livestock or poultry on the farm or to deliver it to a grain facility that does not export it to China or the EU, the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) said in a newsletter. To prevent Duracade corn from accidentally mingling with approved varieties, Syngenta will advise farmers to harvest it separately, store it in separate bins, and surround fields of Duracade corn with “buffer” rows of another variety, the newsletter said. “Naturally one could ask why even go to all this trouble to release it if they’re going to ask the farmers and the buyers to follow these recommendations so rigidly,” said Bob Nielsen, an agronomy professor and extension corn specialist at Purdue University. “The devil will still be in the details as to whether growers and buyers faithfully abide by these recommendations.” Syngenta has not responded to questions from Reuters about the plan. Company officials, including Syngenta Seeds President David Morgan, presented details of the Duracade agreement in a March 4 meeting with the NGFA and the North American Export Grain Association, according to the newsletter. The groups have urged Syngenta to halt sales of Duracade and another GMO variety until they are approved by major importers. Syngenta has declined and “rejected direct requests” at the meeting to assume liability if Duracade corn is accidentally sent to buyers that have barred it, according to the NGFA. Syngenta pulled from the Canadian market seed containing the Agrisure Duracade trait, which was available for planting for the first time this year, according to a Syngenta notice that was sent to seed dealers and obtained by Reuters. The trait has been approved for cultivation in Canada and the United States and for import by some overseas buyers, including Japan, Mexico and South Korea. It has not been approved for import by China or the European Union, two major international markets. “While the vast majority of the Canadian corn crop is typically directed to domestic markets in North America, some corn may be destined for these markets,” Syngenta said in the notice, referring to China and the EU. “Accordingly, we want to ensure the acceptance of any trait technology grown in Canada meets end-market destination requirements.” Any seed containing Duracade that has been shipped to retailers in Canada “cannot be sold and arrangements for immediate returns will be made,” the notice said. A spokesman for Syngenta, the world’s largest crop chemicals company, confirmed the company will not sell seed containing Duracade in Canada in 2014.
Here’s how the corn hybrid naming system works: A “N” indicates NK Corn. B Syngenta maturity group. These maturity groups usually include 4-6 days of relative maturity. The larger the number, the later the hybrid. C Can essentially be treated as a fraction of a maturity group. For example, 45, could be looked at as 4.5, or a mid-maturity group 4. D Randomly designated letter. E Separates the genetic and trait portions. F Trait designator aligned with Agrisure traits: First number represents Herbicide Tolerance Technology Series; Second number represents number of modes of action against broad lepidopteran pests; Third number represents number of modes of action against corn borer; Fourth number represents number of modes of action against corn rootworm; “A” denotes Agrisure Artesian technology.