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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Monsanto responds to misleading New York Times GMO article Featured Article

We were disappointed to read this weekend’s piece on GMO crops in the New York Times (“Doubts About the Promised Bounty of Genetically Modified Crops”).  The reporter chose to cherry-pick data to argue that GMOs have failed to provide significant benefits, especially yield increases, to farmers in the United States.  The reporter’s arguments were misinformed– and overlooked the perspectives of millions of farmers in the United States, India, South America and elsewhere in the world, who have chosen to plant GMOs over the past two decades.

We were especially disappointed because we engaged with this reporter on multiple occasions … Full Article »

Which is More Genetically Modified: Sugarcane or Sugar Beets?

By Santiago Navarro
Monsanto Molecular Weed Control Lead

Sugar, whether naturally in food or added to it, can be found in many food products. In 2015, the global sugar and sweetener market totaled roughly $106 billion, despite the political controversy over sugar that’s lasted more than 200 years.

Sugar first sparked discourse with the British blockades on sugarcane that prompted the search for alternatives, leading Napoleon to promote the study and cultivation of sugar beets during the Napoleonic Wars in the 1800s. Currently, about 20 percent of the world’s sugar production comes from sugar beets. But now a new … Full Article »

Ideas Shaping Our Lives and Our Plates Featured Article

By Robb Fraley, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer

This week, the annual Aspen Ideas Festival is happening in Aspen, Colo.  The Festival  attracts a unique mix of thought leaders  for conversations on a wide range of topics, but one topic in particular has brought Monsanto to the table as a sponsor: The Future of Food: Our Planet, Our Plates.

At Monsanto, we are dedicated to helping provide the world’s farmers with the tools they need to grow food for a balanced meal today and in the future. Everyone agrees we need to produce food more sustainably: growing enough … Full Article »

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 »

What I would have shared in Harper’s Magazine’s Weed Whackers article if they had asked

Monsanto scientist Donna Farmer explains what she would have shared with Harper’s magazine on their “Weed Whackers” article about Monsanto, glyphosate, GMOs and the Monarch butterfly.

I’m a scientist at Monsanto and I have spent a good portion of my professional life studying and talking with folks about glyphosate, the primary active ingredient in several important weed killers.

We talk frequently with journalists who are trying to learn more and write about glyphosate. Frankly, when I started working, I never thought I would end up doing television interviews about a pesticide, but I am happy to do it. We’re not … Full Article »

Panorama is Right about GMOs: There Shouldn’t Be “Sides” When It Comes to Helping Farmers Featured Article

By Mark Buckingham
Monsanto Europe

On June 8, the BBC program, Panorama, aired a show on GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, titled, “GM Food: Cultivating Fear.” The 30-minute program took an in-depth look at the various points of view on GMOs. The show was balanced, providing commentary on both sides of the topic from farmers, scientists and non-governmental organizations.

We applaud the efforts of Panorama to provide both points of view. As a Monsanto employee, I’m excited for the new way our company is approaching how we communicate: we are committed to being a part of the … Full Article »

Talking with People in New Venues and Channels Featured Article

By Natalie DiNicola
Sustainability and Partnerships

I am a mother, a cyclist, a scientist and a Monsanto employee. I care about my family and friends, my community, and the environment. I care about alleviating hunger both abroad and here at home in the United States, and this is why I am excited about what we’re doing here at Monsanto.  And I’m eager for people to know more about our collaborations and work, and to learn about ways we can do more to make a positive impact.

I believe that an open conversation is needed surrounding food and agriculture. At Monsanto, we are committed … Full Article »

I am a Monsanto Collaborator Featured Article

By Jesus Madrazo
Vice President, Corporate Engagement

The world faces a lot of big challenges today – climate change, feeding another 2 billion people in the next three decades, and protecting the environment are just a few. Solving those big problems will require debate, dialogue, diversity of opinion and lots of people working together. Reasonable people can and should disagree about how to solve those problems – that’s healthy.

But there’s a big difference between healthy debate and demonizing people you disagree with.  Personal attacks don’t move any of us closer to solutions.  To the contrary, those attacks make it … Full Article »

Correlation and Causation Featured Article

By Dr. Jamis Perrett
Regulatory Science Statistics Center

As both a statistician and adjunct statistics professor I occasionally come across “studies” that have misused data and reached inaccurate conclusions by graphing what appears to be a cause and effect relationship between two variables.

Unfortunately, it is not difficult to show a trend (correlation) by graphing data and then lead the reader to the impression that a cause-and-effect relationship exists – or that one of the variables in some way influenced the other variable (causation). While causation is certainly true in some situations, there are many instances where the apparent causal … Full Article »

My Response to Chipotle Featured Article

By Dr. Robb Fraley
Chief Technology Officer

For some time now, I’ve been working to broaden the dialogue on agriculture.  I’ve joined Twitter.  I’ve been traveling and talking with reporters, consumers and other scientists. Now, I’ve started sharing my thoughts on food safety, science and the future of ag as a blogger in the Huffington Post.

In my newest post, I give my perspective on a restaurant’s pledge to remove GMOs from its menu. I respect choice. I respect dialogue.  Let’s keep the dialogue going.… Full Article »