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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From the Farm

Safety is priority No. 1 for Monsanto’s seasonal workers Featured Article

By Al Henderson
Seed Site Manager, Grinnell, Iowa

Some people spend their careers in an office.  I’ve spent most of mine in a field.  For the past 30 years, I’ve managed our corn seed production site in Grinnell, Iowa.  That means every summer, I’m out in the field as our crews walk the rows to detassel corn plants.

For those not familiar with hybrid corn, detasseling is a critical step as we work to make the highest quality corn hybrids for our farmers.  It’s as simple as pulling the tassels out of the top of corn plants, and Monsanto typically … Full Article »

Am I 5 or 35? My Tale of Dinosaurs, Drones and Trucks on the Farm Featured Article

By Nick Weber
Digital Communications Team

It was 40°F and windy at 7:09 a.m. when we pulled up the driveway to Martz-Spears Farm in northern Illinois. Dustin Spears was saying good-bye to his wife as she headed to her job. Dustin dashed into the farm shed to grab something as we parked the car. When he reappeared, we made our introductions, but I got the sense he didn’t want to chit-chat; he wanted to get to the field.

So, within two minutes of arriving, I was in the passenger seat of his truck and heading to a 75-acre field about … Full Article »

Farmland Film Review: Opening May 1 Featured Article

By Sean Battles
U.S. Commercial

Farmland, a documentary on “what it’s really like to run a farm,” was released nationally in more than 60 major markets May 1. Last week, I was lucky enough to see an advanced screening at the Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis. I’d like to share with you my personal thoughts on the film, coming from the perspective of a non-farmer and Monsanto employee.

First, I encourage everyone, on both sides of the fence post, to go see Farmland if available in your area. It’s a beautifully shot and produced film, directed by award-winning documentary filmmaker … Full Article »

Every Day is Earth Day on the Farm Featured Article

By Thomas Durant
South Carolina Farmer

After decades of conventional farm practices of plowing, bedding rows, planting and multiple cultivations, the soil on our South Carolina farm seemed “tired,” and so were we. We recognized there is a need for a delicate balance between forcing the soil to produce an annual crop and empowering the soil’s natural ability to be productive. That’s why our farm decided to look into conservation practices of no-till, cover crops and wildlife management that could improve our soil, our area’s ecosystem, and hopefully, our crops’ productivity.

And with Earth Day approaching, now is a good time to … Full Article »

A Reflection on 50 Years of Farming Featured Article

By Ken McCauley
Farmer, White Cloud, Kansas

Planting is right around the corner on our farm, and it got me thinking about my love of farming, and in particular, how far farming has progressed. I’ve been planting corn and soybeans for 50 years. I planted my first crop in 1964 with my brother on my mother’s farm. I don’t remember seed being as much of a big deal then as it is now, because most seed produced about the same yield. Earning a living on the farm at that age was a real life lesson. Dad wanted us to learn … Full Article »

Pick a Peck of Peppers Plus Some! Featured Article

When you look at a pepper, what do you think about? What do you see?

I still remember vividly the first meeting I was in where a bowl of bell peppers was passed around and people bit into them like apples! I was still thinking of bell peppers as the kind of things my mom cooked in spaghetti sauce.

Coworkers handed me the red, orange and yellow produce and encouraged me to try it. I wasn’t sure I wanted to bite that off, but then I looked around and several others were doing it. Seemed like it was worth a … Full Article »

ISAAA Releases 2013 Report on Biotech Crops Featured Article

Eighteen Million Farmers in 27 Countries Chose Biotech Crops in 2013, Global Plantings Increase by 5 Million Hectares

The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) today released a report showing that more than 18 million farmers in 27 countries planted biotech crops in 2013, reflecting a five million, or three percent, increase in global biotech crop hectarage. 2013 also marks the first-ever commercial plantings of drought-tolerant biotech maize in the United States.

Global biotech crop hectarage has increased from 1.7 million hectares in 1996 to over 175 million hectares in 2013. During this 18 year period, more … Full Article »

Extraordinary Young Farmers & Ranchers Step Out of the Box Featured Article

This weekend, young farmers and ranchers from around the country met in Virginia Beach, Virginia. I don’t fit the age qualifications nor am I a farmer or rancher. I get to come because we support some of the group’s leadership development programs. And it gives me an incredible opportunity to see & hear about what young farmers & ranchers are facing.

One of those young farmers who’s from the city originally — Lauren Arbogast from a few hours west in this beautiful state — wrote a blog post that touched on some of the subjects discussed yesterday.

City girl –

Full Article »

Monsanto Headed to the Super Bowl Featured Article

For many people, snacking on chips, guacamole, and popcorn with family and friends is as much a part of the Super Bowl experience as the game itself. Consumption estimates from last year’s big game prove just that: 11 million pounds of potato chips, 80 million avocados, and nearly 4 million pounds of popcorn were downed at watch parties in 2013. Thank you, America’s farmers!

Another big part of the Super Bowl experience is, of course, the commercials (and football). And this year Monsanto will again have a stake in the game.

“Monsanto will be advocating for America’s farm families on … Full Article »

Monmouth Learning Center Sponsors Fantasy Farming Contest Featured Article

By Sean Battles
US Commercial

Forget baseball. Fantasy farming was the great pastime for Illinois FFA students this past spring.

The Fantasy Farming Challenge, sponsored by the Monsanto Learning Center in Monmouth, IL, introduced students to real-life crop production principles. Troy Coziahr, Learning Center Manager and former ag teacher, developed the contest in which students made all of the tough decisions on their plots – from choosing which product to plant, to deciding whether to use inputs like insecticide or fungicide, to determining the width of the rows. Just like a farmer does.

“It was an opportunity for students to … Full Article »