About “Beyond the Rows”

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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Joining the Borlaug Dialogue

Featured Article

By Dr. Robb Fraley
Chief Technology Officer

Growing up, I lived in a small farming community in North Central Illinois. I was a stock boy at my grandparents’ corner grocery store and was one of eighteen in my high school class, so community has been important to me from an early age. I thoroughly enjoy sitting down and talking with others, especially about their farms.

Last week, I had the pleasure of sitting down with some Iowa bloggers and farmers to talk (and tweet) about seed breeding and how it has affected yields in their area. I was thrilled to hear that their yields are increasing this year and that Monsanto has been able to help.

The “agvocates,” as they call themselves — great term, by the way – also had some great questions for me.  They asked how we can communicate with those who don’t feel the same way we do about modified seeds. Modified seeds are planted in about a quarter of the world’s farmland and we’ve done a great job talking to those farmers about the seeds, their safety and benefits. We just haven’t done as well in talking to the shoppers who go to the grocery store to buy the food. And we’re working on changing that.

My mentor, Dr. Norman Borlaug, told me that this debate wouldn’t be easy. But it’s a dialogue that needs to happen. I’m opening myself up more to the conversation and the new channels available for discussion – that’s why I’ve been blogging and started my Twitter channel (@RobbFraley). I’m just getting started, but I welcome you to follow me or to follow along with the #BorlaugDialogue discussion.

Agvocates, I enjoyed the tweeting, coffee, bacon and most of all the conversation.  Hearing about your experiences and thoughts on what we can do on the GMO debate was a great way to celebrate World Food Prize week. I appreciate your attendance and still owe you those bacon recipes.

For an attendee’s perspective on the chat, check out Musings of a Pig Farmer.

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