Note from Mica: With our America’s Farmers Farm Mom of the Year contest in full swing with over 170 submissions so far, I asked my good friend and colleague Tami Craig Schilling to write a guest post for the blog, reflecting on what it means to be a farm mom. Tami is a full-time Monsanto employee, farm wife and mom, community volunteer and mentor for many of her colleagues. She’s one of those women that other moms’ envy (including me), and has us constantly asking, “How does she do it all and make it look so easy?”

From left to right; Marcia Craig, Dorothy Dilliner, and Tami Craig-Schilling. Three generations of farm moms and wives.

At a recent farm show, several farm moms came to the Monsanto booth and commented “that they weren’t deserving of Farm Mom recognition” because they weren’t very involved in the farm. When I heard that I smiled because I know all too well that the little things a farm mom does and shrugs off really do make a difference.

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California Dreamin’ with Corn, Soybean, Wheat and Sorghum Growers

The 2010 Commodity Classic Show kicks off today in Anaheim, California. Classic (as its known to hip ag-sters) is the annual meeting of the nation’s corn, soybean, wheat and sorghum growers, hosted by the National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, and the National Sorghum Producers.

We have a team of Monsanto employees at the show providing live coverage to growers back home to growers who don’t want to miss out on the action.

Be sure to check out the Commodity Classic hub on our Monsanto Web site during the show for event coverage. Attendees are tweeting live coverage of the event using the hashtag #classic10. You can also follow these Monsanto twitter accounts for coverage of Learning Center sessions – @MonsantoCo, @Kath_Monsanto, @KateOnline, Tyne_Ag.

We’ll also be posting photos and updates on the Monsanto Company Facebook page.

Here are some other great blogs and people to follow on-line for Classic coverage.

Blog Coverage

AgWired.com
NCGA’s Flickr page

NCGA’s Corn Commentary
NAWG’s Wheat World

Twitter Coverage

@cornfedfarmer
@Ken4Corn

@mpaynknoper
@INSoybean
@agissues2010

@agchick
@ASA_News2

@NECGA

@agriblogger

CEO Hugh Grant addresses an audience at Monsanto's recent shareholder meeting.

It’s not the first annual shareholder meeting I’ve ever been to and it won’t be the last.  This one was a little bit different for me – it was the first one I’d been to since joining Monsanto.

My previous experiences with annual shareholder meetings at a previous job were fairly formulaic.  There are specific things that are required and a specific process through which that needs to be done.  Votes to be tallied and input to be received.  They were dry and I was hoping this one would be better.

I asked my colleague who was organizing the meeting if she needed any volunteer help.  Knowing all the cool jobs were likely taken, I braced myself for something like running between buildings.  Somehow other people’s schedules had changed and I got the chance to help host some of our farmer customers, including two brothers I’ve known for years!  Score!

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In comments submitted to the Department of Justice and the USDA, Pioneer Hi-Bred calls rival seed company Monsanto’s dominance in the corn and soybean trait markets “an overwhelming monopoly.”

— Brownfield Ag Network, Jan. 12, 2010

DuPont Chief Executive Ellen Kullman told analysts that President Paul Schickler and his Pioneer team “delivered on their commitment to improved profits and market share.”

“We expect the same results this year,” Kullman said.

The $13 billion U.S. seed industry is embroiled in what Kullman described Tuesday as “an incredibly competitive period.”

Schickler on Tuesday exulted in the company’s market share gains of 2 percentage points in corn seed sales and 3 points in soybeans.

Des Moines Register, Jan. 26, 2010

Why Do I Work At Monsanto?

January 26, 2010

Some days, I ask myself that question.  And it’s not always in a “this is a great place to work!” kind of way.

Don’t get me wrong…I wholeheartedly agree with Fortune’s ranking of Monsanto as one of its “100 Best Companies to Work For.”The competitive salary, excellent benefits, career opportunities, flexible work hours, professional development opportunities, work culture, etc. are all an important part of the package. In the five years I’ve been with Monsanto, I’ve gotten married and had my first child. Becoming a working mom is a hard choice, but it was made easier knowing that my boss supported and understood my desire to be able to attend doctor’s appointments, cut back on my travel and work a more structured schedule.

Beyond that though, I feel very lucky to have found myself working in agriculture. I’m a couple of generations removed from the farm, and without my work at Monsanto, I’d be woefully unaware of the immense contributions of the world’s farmers toward the quality of my life. Monsanto has been my link to these farmers, and I’m proud to work at a company whose mission is to make a difference in agriculture.

But Monsanto isn’t all roses. It’s tough to love the place you work, and know that there are so many who despise your company. Monsanto is aware of the challenges to its image. Our employees are aware. My particular role in social media puts me up close and personal with it every day. Yes, I do read what people are saying about us. Much of what is said is based on misinformation, but some of it is just a fundamental difference in opinion. A lot of it is vicious.

Why then do I wake up every morning, drag myself out of bed and drop my precious son off at daycare to deal with this? Wouldn’t it just be easier to work at one of Fortune’s other 99 Best Companies? These are questions that I sometime ask myself.

I was reminded why I love working here yesterday when I walked into an all-day training session and met John Purcell. John has been at Monsanto since the late ’80s and is currently leading the Technology Development organization in our vegetable business.

At the beginning of the session, the trainer asked us to turn to our neighbor and introduce ourselves. What immediately struck me about John is that he smiles the entire time he talks. His passion, energy and enthusiasm for Monsanto, for science and for agriculture is palpable.

In talking with John, I realized what keeps me here and why I can’t imagine leaving—the people. I’ve met hundreds of people in the form of John over my time at Monsanto, but each with their own unique perspective and background. People who are bright, talented, driven, and most importantly, incredibly motivated by their work and passionate about agriculture.

You can’t measure what the value is in working with the caliber and quality of people you find at Monsanto. It’s what Fortune can’t capture in its survey.

Monsanto News Lowdown

January 20, 2010

There is a lot of news at Monsanto this week. Here is a quick read of everything that is going on.

  • Corn Farmers Saved $50M in Insurance Premiums by Planting Biotech
  • And on it goes…Monsanto vs. DuPont
  • Roundup Ready® Alfalfa Goes to the Supreme Court
  • Calling All Rice and Wheat Breeders Read the rest of this entry »

By Dan Goldstein (aka Dr. Dan)

Recently, a paper was released claiming three Monsanto corn varieties cause organ damage in mammals. This simply isn’t true.

In the current paper (de Vendomois et al., 2009) as with the prior publication (Seralini et al, 2007), Seralini and his colleagues use non-traditional statistical methods to reassess toxicology data from studies conducted with MON 863, MON 810 and NK603 corn varieties, and reach unsubstantiated conclusions.

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