What is Seed Stock

Seed stock refers to stocks issued by publicly traded companies which operate within the agriculture industry. These companies specialize in plant research and development (R&D). Most R&D has an aim of producing higher yields from crops.

Companies may develop and market specialized seeds, which have been engineered to withstand certain conditions, such as drought or the presence of pests. These companies also often hold patents for specific seeds and genes.

BREAKING DOWN Seed Stock

Seed stock is often issued by companies who create seed for industrial level agricultural production. These crops include soy, corn, rice, and cotton. Each of these crops has a large global market for the engineered seeds.

Seed companies may also engineer crops for specific purposes. For example, a company may develop seed for a breed of corn intended only as livestock feed, and another exclusively designed for the production of ethanol. These seeds would be necessarily different from corn seed intended for human consumption.

In recent years, growing concerns about genetically modified foods (GMF) have brought attention to engineered food crop seeds. GMF are seeds produced from organisms that have had their genes engineered to introduce traits not created through natural selection.

Examples of Seed Stock Companies

Examples of seed stock companies include U.S-based Monsanto, Switzerland-based Syngenta AG, and China-based Origin Agritech.

  • Monsanto holds more than 674 biotechnology patents, the most of any other U.S. company. Activist organizations concerned with the proliferation of genetically modified crops have centered much of their focus on Monsanto. The documentary film, Food Inc. profiled Monsanto. Monsanto responded to their portrayal in the film with a media statement and direct responses to questions from viewers and consumers.
  • Syngenta, another prominent global seed company, manufactures some neonicotinoid products. In April 2018, the European Union banned the use of these products except within greenhouses. The European Commission determined that neonicotinoids, which Syngenta uses to coat seeds to protect them from pests, are a threat to bee populations. Syngenta responded by stating it did not believe that the commission’s decision was the “right outcome for European farmers or the environment".
  • Origin Agritech was founded in 1997 in Beijing and trades on the NASDAQ as SEED. It is China's first seed company. They specialize in crop seed breeding and genetic improvement.

Seed Capital vs. Seed Stock

Seed stock may also be used to refer to the startup capital a company raises to establish itself. Seed capital often comes from the founders' assets, friends or family. At times, a company will sell a limited number of shares to investors to finance initial operations and growth. Investors then have a stake in the company based on their investment at the outset.