The following post is by Brennan Costello currently serves as the Central Region Vice President at the National FFA Organization. He attends the University of Nebraska-Lincoln majoring in agribusiness. Costello recently visited Monsanto and is providing his perspective on that visit.
‘Man, they are sure doing a lot of work over there.’ I had this thought as I traveled down Highway 47 past construction crews working on a new Monsanto facility being built just south of my hometown of Gothenburg, Nebraska.
They were doing a lot of ‘work’ constructing the facility, but the real work that would happen at the Monsanto Water Utilization Facility took place after the building had been completed. Growing up in Gothenburg I had the chance to see valuable work beginning to find solutions to agriculture’s issues around water. This was one of the first opportunities to experience the company of Monsanto.
Later I saw Monsanto in the fields of the farmer I worked for, on billboards next to the interstate, from the people I knew working at the facility and most recently on a visit their world headquarters in St. Louis Missouri.
I currently serve as a National Officer for the National FFA Organization, and I along with two of my teammates: Kalie Hall from Georgia and Wiley Bailey from Alabama; and current Missouri National Officer Candidate Sonja Perry spent a very valuable day at the headquarters. The purpose of our trip was to thank Monsanto for their sponsorship and the ‘work’ they do to support the National FFA Organization, and to discuss how we can further our partnership in the future.
Monsanto is a major sponsor of our efforts at National FFA. In 2012 alone they were responsible for or part of the supporting a number of efforts to encourage chapter participation, leadership, career development, public speaking and recognizing educators and plant science research. The investment in youth and the future of agriculture is significant and 2013 marks Monsanto’s 60th year as a National FFA Sponsor.
This support is incredible; we appreciate the difference Monsanto makes for our students and the ‘work’ they do for FFA members. My teammates and I had the opportunity to discuss this work with many Monsanto representatives during our visit. What we discussed when far beyond what our organizations do together to the bigger picture of the opportunities and challenges that the agriculture industry faces.
We had a chance to visit with Brett Begemann, President and Chief Operating Officer, who spoke to us about the modern practices that Monsanto was employing; how precise the industry was getting with integrated agriculture and bio direct technologies. He said however, that with this new technology there was still a large need for leaders in agriculture. This was echoed by Monsanto’s Talent Recruitment team who discussed the need for youth in the agriculture industry. We finished our visit meeting with members of the Monsanto United States Leadership Team, we further discussed the need for youth to drive the story of agriculture.
From our visit, it was clear that Monsanto is a leader in the agriculture industry, and a leader who is focused on the future of agriculture industry. Each person we met with echoed the need for future leaders in this industry. We know that the FFA has a big part in growing those leaders, and it brings me hope to know that the people in Monsanto are focused on it as well. As a student who plans to work in agriculture, I look forward to the work that Monsanto is doing. The work Monsanto does goes far beyond seed technology or farming practices; their work provides opportunity for the next generation of agriculturalists and a bright future for agriculture.