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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Monocultures: The Myth…the Reality…the Future Featured Article

By Robert T. Fraley, Chief Technology Officer

Myth – By leading farmers to focus on a small number of highly lucrative seeds, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) foster the spread of monocultures. As a result, they erode biodiversity and actually put humanity at risk of famine through increased crop vulnerability to disease.


“Very simply,” in the words of Michael Pollan, “a field of identical plants will be exquisitely vulnerable to insects, weeds, and disease. Monoculture is at the root of virtually every problem that bedevils the modern farmer…”

Context – Monocultures – large areas planted with the same type of crop – predate the development of GMOs by decades if not centuries. That’s because the real driver Full Article »

Growing Food More Sustainably: Conservation Tillage to the Rescue Featured Article

By Carlos Vicente Alberto
Sustainability Lead, Europe & Middle East

In 1985, during my final project at the School of Agricultural Engineers in Madrid, I embarked on something that may still seem strange to those unfamiliar with agriculture: growing plants without soil. The idea was to design a farm producing chicory using hydroponics, something that my classmates found novel at the time.

Hydroponics research was no gimmick – multiple crops can be grown this way today. But the fact remains: we need high-quality soil to grow the vast majority of our food, and we need to protect and conserve … Full Article »

Conservation Efforts and Partnerships in Brazil Featured Article

In 2008, Monsanto signed a $13 million shared-fund, five-year partnership with Conservation International (CI), a not-for-profit organization based in Washington, DC. Over the past four years, we’ve seen incredible advances in capacity building, research, articulation of partnerships and the recovery of degraded areas in Western Bahia, Cerrado, as well as other states of the Brazilian Northeast Region’s Atlantic Forest. These areas are hotspots of biodiversity, where conservation is a priority because of the dramatic expansion of Brazil’s agricultural sector and its exceptional level of native plants.

This partnership finds innovative ways to assist in, and has created opportunities for, effective … Full Article »

Hungry for Change Conference in Europe Focuses on Water, Food, Health and Biodiversity Featured Article

By David Carpintero
Monsanto Europe

Last month, the European Crop Protection Agency (ECPA) organized its second “Hungry for Change” conference in Brussels, bringing together nearly 250 people to discuss progress since the first Hungry for Change conference in late 2011. Representatives of key public, private, academic and non-governmental organizations engaged in discussions to drive forward development and understanding of sustainable practices.

A short plenary session was followed by four break-out discussions focusing on Biodiversity, Food, Health and Water. David Carpintero, Monsanto Corporate Affairs lead for Crop Protection in Europe and also co-lead of the biodiversity stream at ECPA, opened … Full Article »

Conservation in Brazil Featured Article

The dramatic expansion of Brazil’s agricultural sector is an undeniable story of successful productivity growth, but it also has created significant opportunities for effective conservation and forest preservation. Under the watchful eye of the Brazilian government, the country’s farmers are legally obligated to set aside portions of their property for conservation.  

To help farmers meet conservation requirements in two biodiversity corridors—one in the Atlantic Forest (Northeast Corridor) and the other in Cerrado (Jalapão/Western Bahia Corridor)—Monsanto has partnered with Conservation International (CI). Through this collaboration, we believe we will encourage positive changes for biodiversity and natural habitats. 

Founded in 1987, CI … Full Article »