Dow Chemical Co. appears to be beefing up its agricultural assets to improve its competitive position against Monsanto Co.

The company's Dow AgroSciences subsidiary last week accelerated negotiations for a potential buyout of Mycogen Corp. (MYCO), of which it currently owns 68 percent (see B4). At the same time, MYCO, signed a letter of intent with Rhone Poulenc Agro S.A. (Paris, France) to develop and market genetically modified plants and seed products containing multiple traits.