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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Celebrating the Leadership of Women in Feeding the World Featured Article

By Martha Schlicher
Corporate Engagement

International Women’s Day was established to promote progress and equality for women in all walks of life and all fields.  Agriculture is one area where the contributions of women are widespread, critically important and rapidly growing.  Yet, these contributions also are not as well-known or appreciated as they should be.

More than half of the world’s food is produced by women, and an estimated 1.6 billion women depend on agriculture for their families’ livelihoods.  This includes an estimated 1 million female farmers in the U.S., and millions more globally – many of whom are smallholder … Full Article »


AATF Celebrates a Decade of Innovation for African Agriculture Featured Article

The African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) and its partners are celebrating 10 years of the development and use of innovative technologies for agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa. Some 14.5 million smallholder farmers will be helped when the technologies are ultimately implemented.

Monsanto works with the AATF on the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) project, which is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Howard G. Buffett Foundation, and USAID.WEMA was created to enhance food security in sub-Saharan Africa by developing and deploying more drought-tolerant maize varieties, provided royalty-free.

The AATF has created this video summarizing what’s … Full Article »

WEMA 2 women in field

Seeds for Survival Featured Article

By Mark Edge
Partnerships Team

In Africa, food is scarce and smallholder farmers, most of them women with very limited resources, struggle each year to harvest crops to feed their families. Africa is prone to drought, so year after year these farmers don’t know if their crops will survive or if their families will have enough to eat.

The African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), a nonprofit that partners with public and private organizations to put advanced resources and tools into the hands of farmers in Africa, reached out to us six years ago on a new initiative. Called Water Efficient Full Article »


Partnering for African Agriculture Featured Article

Understanding the severity of the challenges that smallholder farmers face, Monsanto and our partners are working with African NGOs, scientists and governments to support African smallholder farmers.

Three-quarters of the world’s most severe droughts over the past 10 years have occurred in Africa. These droughts make farming risky for millions of smallholder farmers, most of whom are women. Corn or maize is the most widely grown staple crop in Africa – more than 300 million Africans depend on it as their main food source. Maize production is severely affected by drought, which can lead to unpredictable and low yields, and at … Full Article »

Background WEMA Sustainability

Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) Featured Article

What if we could stop using Africa as an example of food scarcity and a non-existent agriculture infrastructure? This question is at the heart of our commitment to Africa.  That’s why Monsanto has been working to develop new technologies and seed that will help African farmers manage risk and ensure a more secure food supply.

The current food supply crisis in Africa has been well documented. But forecasters see something even more troubling on the horizon. As the population increases and climate change becomes a greater factor in food security, risk of hunger could increase up to 20 percent by … Full Article »


WEMA Partnership Celebrates 5th Anniversary Featured Article

By Mark Edge
Monsanto WEMA Project Lead

Maize continues to be the most widely grown staple crop in Africa, with more than 300 million people depending on it as their main food source.

Maize farming in Africa, however, is not without its risks – especially for millions of smallholder farmers who have limited resources and technologies to take on agricultural challenges presented by droughts and insect pests. Food security is constantly at risk with the potential of maize production ending with low yields or even crop failures, which contribute to hunger and poverty. Fortunately, Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA)Full Article »


Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) Update Featured Article

The Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) project is a public/private partnership, initiated in 2008, dedicated to improving lives through the development of products that help smallholder farmers mitigate drought risk and manage insect pressure. 

Led by the Kenya-based African Agricultural Technology Foundation and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates and Howard G. Buffett foundations, WEMA key partners include the National Agricultural Research Institutes in Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT ) and Monsanto. 

Since its inception, the WEMA partnership has successfully developed a robust pipeline of new drought-tolerant hybrids … Full Article »


Despite Drought, Hope Remains for the Gold Finger Women

Recently, three of us from Monsanto’s St. Louis offices had the opportunity to visit a group of women in a Kenyan village. The village is approximately three miles off the equator, and we came there to learn more about the challenges the women, and many more like them throughout Africa, face each agricultural season.

In true Kenyan style, we were greeted with 20 minutes of singing, chanting and dancing when we arrived. They must have sensed our hesitancy to immediately join in. An older woman seized my hand, and with a huge welcoming smile, encouraged me to join in the … Full Article »


Horn of Africa: Geldof, Bono and Seale

In the fall of 1984, while I was in college, BBC correspondent Michael Buerk did a television news report about the Ethiopian famine. A young Irish musician named Bob Geldof saw the report and decided to do something. He assembled popular British rock stars, under the name Band Aid, to record “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” The song raised money for famine relief.

As a young American, I took notice. With every chorus of “Feed… the… World…” the seed was planted deep in my psyche that I wanted to do something to help.

Fast forward to when I attended … Full Article »

We’re all in this together…

Editor’s note: Rory Herron is one of two UK interns spending their summer at Monsanto’s global headquarters, under a program with Scotland’s Saltire Foundation. The Saltire Foundation is an independent charitable organization representing a new vision for Scotland, providing invaluable opportunities through experience, learning and business networking. Its undergraduate internship programme offers Scotland’s students the chance to spend 8 weeks working at a top multinational company with the aim of encouraging candidates to develop their confidence, skills and capacity to succeed.

By Rory Herron

I’m the youngest of seven children. Before I was born in Ireland, my parents and … Full Article »