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Beyond the Rows is a Monsanto Company blog focused on one of the world’s most important industries, agriculture. Monsanto employees write about Monsanto’s business, the agriculture industry, and the farmer.
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Where do you work?

Featured Article

By Brendan Hinchey
Corn Transformation Team

“Where do you work?”

Well it used to be an easy answer, but it just doesn’t feel that way any more, as you get rolled eyes or an earful at a kid’s soccer game about how awful Monsanto is or some crazy story from the internet.

It’s tough for me, as I just don’t get all the bad sentiment. And in New England, it’s pretty bad.

I have good intentions. I went to a small liberal arts school in the Northeast with a reputation for tree huggers even within that sub-culture. I was looking to major in environmental studies until my first plant physiology class steered me toward the botany department.

So at my core I’m an environmentalist. I see great applications of this technology; it drove me on the Corn Drought Team and it continues to drive me now on the Corn Transformation Team in Mystic, Connecticut.

Things seem to be so polarized now, with such extreme views in all aspects of our society. Issues seem to burn hotter and quicker now with social media, and GMOs are a classic example.   And when you get those rolled eyes or an earful it can be tough to stand your ground.  I ask myself, is it worth it?

The answer is yes. I’ve had some great discussions, and a large part of that is due to me being informed and comfortable talking about the issues myself.   The issues can be complex and the opponents can be passionate. At times it can feel like a faith-based discussion, which is certainly a tough one.  But if you’re informed, the conversation is much easier. And if you listen, you can often learn what’s bothering people.

Have I converted legions of opponents of biotech? No, not yet, but I’m out there and I’m an advocate of the technology, actively engaged in outreach. With so many resources out there, from websites, to colleagues and coaches, there is nothing to stop you, too.  And when you talk with people, share your stories. It’s easy to demonize a giant company but tougher to do the same to a neighbor who’s trying to help farmers deal with insect pressure.

Where do I work?

I work for Monsanto. Have you heard of us? We’re trying to improve crops. Where do you work?

Be an advocate!

8 Responses to "Where do you work?"

  1. Just a couple of days ago when I logged into my social networking site, I was shocked to see a few fuming hate messages on my inbox from people completely unknown to me, living millions of miles away across the globe. There is no way we have ever met and the chances of us meeting in future is pretty slim too.

    But being a part of Monsanto, it’s something you get used to. As the Brendan wrote “you get rolled eyes or an earful at a kid’s soccer game…”. We don’t expect these people to understand what we do, why we do and what motivates us over night but we do believe that together we can and we must try our best to increase the awareness. This world has seen enough death and war over hunger & food crisis. Maybe it’s time to make an effort to make a difference.

    We, who connect with companies like Monsanto amidst all this controversy and chaos, we do so because we believe in that grand dream and that goal that Monsanto stands for.

    “Where do I work?

    I work for Monsanto. Have you heard of us? We’re trying to improve crops. Where do you work?” 🙂

    Reply
    • I don’t work for Monsanto, but because I’m a fan of GMOs and do my best to inform people about their benefits along with dispelling myths everyone claims I’m somehow on Monsanto’s payroll.

      Reply
  2. Brandan – great post. I love this:

    Where do I work?I work for Monsanto. Have you heard of us? We’re trying to improve crops. Where do you work?

    I alos love being an advocate for that company!!

    Reply
  3. I live in Norway, and I am retired from my work as a schoolteacher. So my work has been for the next generation. My response for you then will be “Take heed from the feedback you are given. It does not come from hatred, as you may think. It comes from concern.

    Do not stay in blissful ignorance about the unity of life. See things in a broader perspective. Vandana Shiva has expressed it well: “You cannot insert a gene you took from a bacteria into a seed and call it life. You haven´t created life, instead you have nay polluted it.”

    Otherwise, I recommend an article in The Guardian, UK:
    http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/seed-freedom-hunger-malnutrition-biodiversity

    You are trying to improve crop. Science and public opinion say you should do it in other ways. Listen well.

    Reply
  4. Brendan- nice post. (I’m stealing your tagline btw!) Very similar to my course. It was my favorite Botany professor that turned me on to plants. I had thought of going zoology or Vet Med, but he had me out in the woods collecting plants and I never looked back! So proud I ended up at Monsanto helping to change the world for the better!
    Finn- Monsanto does listen. I realize you may not agree, but the feedback is rarely from concern, it is from misunderstanding. Which is vary evident in your choice of authority, a philosopher with no higher level science training that has spent the better part of this decade spreading lies about her own people. If you are truly concerned, please ask question of geneticists and plant breeders. There are many out there on social media. But be wary of propaganda sites. Look for citation, double check the experts’ degrees, if a meme is making extraordinary claims, there should be extraordinary facts! Be skeptical of everything you hear, from both sides. It’s the only way to truly learn for yourself! Good Luck
    Where do I work? I work for Monsanto. Have you heard of us? We’re trying to improve crops. Where do you work?

    Reply
  5. I have read the comments from the persons working for Monsanto. They seem to be proud of their work and of their employer. I just wonder, do you eat the products you are making ?
    And what sort of food is served at your job ?

    Reply
    • All foods are served in Monsanto’s cafeterias — GM, conventional, and organic. We don’t label the food in our cafeterias. The only reason we knew organic was included was when all organic spinach had to be recalled because of e coli contamination a few years back, and it was removed from our salad bars.

      Reply

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