We received a nice end-of-year recognition last week when Forbes Magazine announced Monsanto as its “Company of the Year” in the January 18, 2010 issue. The issue hits newsstands this week and features Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant on the cover. This honor came on the heels of Harvard Business Review’s recognition of Grant in late December as one of the world’s best performing CEOs.
According to Forbes, Monsanto earned the company of the year designation for creating “many billions of dollars of value for the world with seeds genetically engineered to ward off insects or make a crop immune to herbicides: Witness the vast numbers of farmers who prefer its seeds to competing products, and the resulting $44 billion market value of the company.”
Not only is this exciting for the 22,000 Monsanto employees worldwide, but it’s also exciting for everyone working in agriculture today. I still encounter blank stares when I tell people I work for Monsanto. Agriculture, sadly, is not on most people’s radar screens. Technology, pharma, energy, transportation, entertainment—these are the industries that usually come to mind when you think about world-changing potential. They’ve got the “gee whiz” quotient that grabs people’s attention. Some of the winners over the last few years have come from these sectors – Nvidia (PC graphics cards), Nasdaq, Seagate (maker of hard drives), Northrop Grumman (global security), Amgen (pharma biotech) and Best Buy.
When people read the article, I hope they think not just about Monsanto but about the hundreds of thousands of farmers and ranchers working each day to produce their food. I hope they become curious enough to reach out and learn more. They’ll be rewarded with stories of technological innovation, business savvy, career potential and more “gee whiz” moments than they ever thought possible. And what about world-changing potential? Absolutely.
It’s a great way to kick off 2010. We’re excited about what the new year holds for agriculture. In fact, this week we will provide our annual update on new and current projects in the Monsanto R&D pipeline. The update is part of our first-quarter financial results reporting to investors scheduled for Wednesday morning. Check back for a recap.
The Economist: The Parable of the Sower – Nov. 19, 2009