Every nine out of 10 years, Iowa farmer Dave Sieck expects the Missouri River to stay in its banks near his farmland in Glenwood, Iowa, about 15 miles south of Council Bluffs. But lately, it’s been a rough run. This is the third year in a run some Sieck and Midwest farmers are facing the threat of flooding.

“It’s a never-ending battle, especially on the bigger rivers,” he said. “We plan on losing a crop once or twice every 10 years.”

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We were pleased to participate in the March 12th workshop and provide more information about our business. It was a unique opportunity to highlight the investment that Monsanto and hundreds of other seed companies are making on behalf of U.S. farmers. With dozens of trait technologies available to farmers today and fifty new traits currently under development, it’s clear that competition within the U.S. seeds industry is growing. The fight to win the farmer’s business is intense. We remain committed to investing in new products for farmers, products that present another option on farm and offer them more value for their farm.

Monsanto currently supports, and has supported in the past, the freedom to conduct wide-ranging research with its commercial products. That includes research that compares Monsanto products to those of its competitors.

Last summer, Scientific American ran an editorial criticizing seed companies for inhibiting independent research of GM (biotech) crops. The editorial was prompted by public comments from university scientists to the EPA, who stated they felt the contractual agreements required for purchasing commercial seed prohibited them from conducting their research.

Not long after the article ran, I read many outraged comments on Twitter and received quite a few inquiries. I was surprised by the backlash because it was my understanding that Monsanto allows independent research with  products—and not just research that Monsanto believed would end with positive results. Heck, I’ve had to handle communications on studies where Monsanto didn’t agree with the conclusion. So what’s the deal?

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As someone that didn’t grow up in agriculture (the closest I got was the 5 cow dairy farm up the street from my subdivision) I seldom thought about the importance of farming in my everyday life before I graduated college. Now that I work for Monsanto, I have had the opportunity to meet with farmers and I understand more about the challenging yet rewarding occupation these men and women have chosen.

National Agriculture Week (March 14-20) is an opportunity to connect to the people that are supplying the world with their food, fuel and fiber. Anyone who has ever met a farmer can tell you that they are more than willing to open up their home and their farm to anyone who is interested in learning more about agriculture. I know personally, they have talked my eager-to-learn ear off about it!

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Several years ago, I had the opportunity to host a group of guests from Greece for a tour of the U.S.  The group was made up of cotton ginners, textile mill personnel, a few agronomists and others in the Greek cotton industry.  I ended up being the person who accompanied the group throughout their tour.  We started by giving them a view of our facilities in the Mississippi Delta and then headed to Lubbock, TX for see the largest cotton patch & learn all sorts of things!  On the way back to the Delta from Lubbock, we stopped in Dumas, Arkansas to see a cotton gin.

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Seven hundred people are expected at today’s joint USDA/DOJ workshop on “Issues of Concern to Farmers,” in Ankeny, Iowa. Event organizers are answering questions and completing last-minute preparations. There is a lot of anticipation and wonder over what today will look like.

I landed yesterday in a still wintry Des Moines and will be one of the hundreds in the audience. I will be tweeting live coverage of the panels via my Twitter account @mica_MON using the hashtag #agworkshop. You can also get twitter coverage via our corporate account @MonsantoCo.

The law bloggers at Truth on the Market have announced they will be live blogging the event.

You can find an agenda for the workshop here.

For more information on the USDA/DOJ workshop visit the USDA/DOJ workshop portion of the Monsanto.com website.

For a complete look at competition in the seed industry, please visit www.choiceinag.com or click on “A Look at the Seed Industry” from the homepage of Monsanto.com.

His name is Cal Dalton. He’s a retailer-customer of Monsanto’s, and he is a manager for the Landmark Services Cooperative in Cottage Grove, Wisconsin.

He recently received the Agri-Communicator Award at the Corn/Soy Expo, held in Wisconsin Dells. The award is given to a grower who tells agriculture’s story. The award is sponsored by Wisconsin Agri-View, and the recipient is chosen annually by The Wisconsin Corn Growers Association and the Wisconsin Corn Promotion Board.

What Cal has done to merit the award tells you a lot about people who are committed to agriculture.

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