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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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Well Deserved Recognition: Much More To Do

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By Brett Begemann
President and Chief Operating Officer

Monsanto President and COO Brett Begemann

Monsanto President and COO Brett Begemann

As a 30-year employee of Monsanto, nothing gives me more pride than seeing my company and the 21,000 people that work here recognized for the important work they do to help farmers produce more safe, affordable and nutritious food around the world.

It’s been really gratifying to see a host of recognitions lately. But, as I talk with our employees, the common theme I hear is they appreciate these important recognitions, but they know there is much more work to be done to help farmers produce more and conserve more every day.

There is also a growing understanding that this alone is not enough. At Monsanto, we’ve done a terrific job of speaking with our farmer customers, but we’ve not done a good job of talking with society more broadly. We’re changing this.

We are working to engage more and talk about the importance of what we do. We know people have questions and we are working to do our part to facilitate more dialogue with a variety of groups to help answer their questions and build a broader understanding of our work. We hope these discussions will help people better understand our business and the challenges our industry is helping to address for our growing world.

WMAC2014I’m confident that as we open the dialogue with consumers and others, both those who are curious for more information and those who disagree with us, people will be open to listening if they know we’re listening to them. I know we may not always agree, but I also know there is value in the discussion and looking for how we are more alike than focusing on our differences.

Our ability to find common ground and bridge the gap between various groups will enable all of us to better work together to meet the food security demands and environmental wellbeing of our growing planet. And we’re committed, as a company and as people who care, to accomplishing just that.

I know if people had the opportunity, as I do, to meet and talk with our employees, to look them in the eye and see the passion, energy and determination they have to help farmers they would see willing partners with ideas for the future. These incredible men and women have many different talents and are unified across the globe by one singular vision to help every farmer everywhere improve the productivity of their farm.

To our employees, thank you, for your service, your passion and your commitment. You are among our industry’s best ambassadors and I hope you take the opportunity to engage with others in these vital discussions. It’s important for today and even more essential for tomorrow. I’m grateful your work is being recognized around the world and I know that together we can do even more.

Brett Begemann, president and chief operating officer of Monsanto Company, was born and raised on a farm in the United States. Brett has had the distinct pleasure to walk and talk with farmers in their fields on six continents.


Today Monsanto was named to Fortune Magazine’s list of the World’s Most Admired Companies.

More information about the Fortune listing can be found at Fortune: The World’s Most Admired Companies List at monsanto.com and from Monsanto’s news release.

Logo for the Fortune World’s Most Admired Companies 2014 List used with permission of Fortune Magazine.

17 Responses to "Well Deserved Recognition: Much More To Do"

  1. avatar
    Craig “The Butterflyman” February 26, 2014 at 8:53 am

    The monarch butterfly could be a vehicle to solving Monsantos PR challenges with the general public. You’ve made the commitment on a previous blog to help the monarchs.

    There is, of course, a “market” solution to the regeneration of the monarch and its migration. One strategy is to bring monarchs back to the city where everyone can enjoy them. Making “native” milkweed available in garden centers throughout the country and then promoting the “cause” could get a milkweed in everyone’s yard.
    A “save the monarch” campaign and a simple way for the average person to get involved would get the amount of milkweed needed planted in a safe place where it could come back every year. The foundation for a campaign like this is already in place at the most visible monarch organization in the country “Monarch Watch” called “Milkweed Market” Expanding the capabilities of this market and interesting other growers in the program would be a great way for the Monsanto people and other corporate stakeholders to show their sincerity in bringing back the monarch. I know you have great PR people and if you’d like to be a hero in the eyes of millions of children across the country who raise monarch butterflies in classrooms and at home every year consider please consider this vehicle. You can “brand” Monsanto as the biggest monarch promoter in the country and turn it into a profit center to recoup your investment WIN ! WIN !

  2. The monarchs are not in trouble so there is no legitimate scientific justification for “urgent” action. Many monarch enthusiasts seem to have forgotten that just 22 months ago monarchs were this abundant in the late Spring in the upper Midwest and Great Lakes region including on the hericide tolerant farmlands http://www.learner.org/jnorth/monarch/spring2012/c062012_3.html http://www.learner.org/jnorth/monarch/spring2012/update062012.html Excerpt: “What a Year! Spring migration 2012 has been a record-breaking season and it’s going out with a bang. During the past few weeks, monarchs have appeared in unprecedented numbers, early, and in places where they’re rarely seen.” Then in July-Sept 2012 the monarch population was depressed by natural factors (a high abundance of predators that eat monarch eggs and caterpillars in the drought stricken upper Midwest), not man made ones. So the monarch population can be expected to rebound in 2014 back to the relatively high numbers we saw from 2007 – early 2012 (the severely cold winter of 2013-14 in the upper Midwest should have reduced the abundance of predators that eat monarch eggs and caterpillars). So I fully expect to be able to shoot videos of abundant monarchs on the herbicide tolerant farmlands of the upper Midwest this coming August – just 5 months from now.

  3. To Brett Begemann,

    Your company posted a statement pertaining to the Monarch butterfly [http://monsantoblog.com/2014/02/24/the-monarch-butterfly/] and in it not only acknowledged the role that your company has had in the demise of the Monarch and its breeding and migratory habitat but also an interest in reversing the trend:

    “we’re eager to join efforts to help rebuild monarch habitat along the migration path by joining with conservationists, agronomists, weed scientists, crop associations and farmers to look at ways to increase milkweed populations on the agricultural landscape.”

    Frankly, we are skeptical that this is anything more than a publicity stunt or red herring to deflect the building backlash against GMOs.

    So, SHOW US that you are sincere. You have my contact information as part of this posting. I lead an organization that is working on efforts to Bring Back the Monarch. I am one of the people that you supposedly want to work with.

    Please reach out to me – it’s time to WALK the TALK.

    Quite Sincerely,
    Nicole Hamilton

  4. Sir. Maybe a good place to start this concerned dialogue you wish to begin is to answer why you spend millions of dollars to squash ballot initiatives to label when your safe products are included in the food the world buys? Thank you.

  5. Also, the ‘Monsanto Protection Act’ is an horrific abuse of governmental authority. A perfect example of why lobbyists should be barred from having any contact with our congressional representatives.

    • The so-called Monsanto Protection Act, which didn’t mention Monsanto or protect Monsanto in any way, expired last September.

  6. As I understand it, your products are still in the testing phase and the rest of us are your “guinea pigs”. Please explain to me why you feel that we should not be informed when we are eating your products, so that we can decide if we want take part in this type of experimentation. Personally I do not want to participate.

    • There are more than 1700 studies that have been done on GM seeds and food. Our products are not “still in the testing phase.”

  7. I am 73 years old, and am shocked at just how little the average person in the U.S., knows about food production. I quess my age group were raised in the country, near farms or spent time with farmers during there
    younger years. I was a farmer for many years, as well as a farm equipment
    dealer. So what is different about GM foods and cross breeding for seed corn and other varies of crops? The practice, is much the same. Without the progress that the early cross breeding of crops, we would have starvation,as is the case in many non developed parts of the world. The false statements about harm caused by raising hens in cages, is dumb. I had one of the first cage layer egg operations in Ohio. When we went to this type of operation, as apposed to the nest method, egg production went up over 20%. Why, the hens only produce when they a confortable, well fed, and and have all the need water, with out fighting for these, with others..


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