Case #4 Ventria Bioscience and the Controversy over Plant-Made Medicines Sinforosa Business and Society – BUS 475 Professor Filomena May 17, 2011 1. -Describe the problem facing Scott Deeter and Ventria. Deeter came to Ventria in April 2002. He was appointed as Ventria’s CEO because of his good reputation as a businessman. As CEO he helped Dr. Raymond Rodriguez sort through several projects that Ventria was working on at the time. His concept of the business was to focus on one or two projects to make Ventria a profitable business. 2. Describe the relevant stakeholders and for each, state its interests and sources of power. Rice farmers, are more than 2000 businesses owned by families and have been in the business since 1997. Rice is theirs lives and place an important role in California’s Economy. The rice they produce is exported to several countries which include Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and Turkey. Rice mills owned by companies provide capital for the rice operation. Rice mills such as ADM, Far West Rice, Pacific International, and Sun West have invested in rice through the years and are big organizations that depend on its quality.

These companies have created jobs and are committed to distributing the rice produced by the California Rice Farmers to the US and the world. Both have invested time and money. California has highly refined technology which can compete with the international market, however only the 12% of rice production was exported in 2003. 3. -Describe the options that might emerge from a dialogue between Ventria and its relevant stakeholders. Ventria’s rice production was a secret before 2001. It was exposed to the public by a Greenpeace researcher.

Some members of the CRC were ok with Ventria because they promised to farm in especially covered fields, use sealed trucks and high tech equipment to eliminate the contact with the air. However, several farmers were concerned because Ventria’s genetically modified rice could harm their production. Several organizations including the National Academy of Sciences voiced concerns. The report on open-air pharmaceutical crops (Pamer, 2004) alerted the public about Ventria’s rice & the ecological problems associated with their production throughout the years.

In order to protect rice production the state government established the California Rice Commission (CRC) declaring “the production and milling of rice in this state is…affected with a public interest” (CRC, 2005) By 2004, Ventria wanted to increase its rice fields from 50 acres to 120 acres; this expansion fell under the legislation to determine the impact of the rice commercially allowing the CRC to review Ventria’s Protocol. The CRC, California Rice Commission, job is to show the Secretary of Agriculture how the rice is planted, produced, harvested, transported, dry stored and handled.

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The advisory board must do it within 30 days and it a good way to protect the rice industry. 4. -Describe how Ventria might go about influencing relevant regulators if it chooses to employ a political action strategy. Political action was used by the two sides. Ventria and the stakeholders, farmers and millers lobbied the Secretary of Agriculture. Lobbying is used to influence political matters. Ventria’s influence was not sufficient to get the approval to expand its GM (genetically modified) rice. Ventria chose to be honest and not lobby over the top to get political action.

By April 9, the Secretary of Agriculture discarded Ventria’s protocol review because the rice farmers established rice export to Japan and their hard work would be jeopardized should their rice become contaminated by GM rice. 5. -Describe what other options Ventria has if it chooses not to engage in dialogue or political action (or dialogue and political action are unsuccessful). Ventria’s political action didn’t work because the secretary of Agriculture ruled in favor of the farmers, millers and the public.

Ventria choose to address the stakeholder’s concerns. At this point, Deeter, Ventria’s CEO, decided to use protective equipment for field production, storage, and transportation. They will allow visits to their research facilities and will keep detailed records of the research. All efforts by Ventria were not satisfactory to the stakeholders and the efforts to expand where unsuccessful. In biotechnology, things always seemed to take longer (Lawrence and Weber, 2011).

Ventria has a long way to go and investors are not happy. They have not been able to expand since the company started. References Pamer, M. (2004, July). Prescription Rice Message posted to http://ecologycenter. org/terrain/issues/summer-2004/prescription-rice/ California Rice Commission statical Report, May 1, 2005 Lawrence, A. T. (2008). Business and Society. In B. Gordon (Ed. ), Ventria Bioscience and the Controversy over Plant-Made Medicines (Vol. Thirteenth Edition, p. 500). New York, NY: MMcGraw-Hill Irwin. .


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