Planting takes specialized equipment on a small scale for research and development efforts.

Friday afternoon I was trying to reach a coworker.  I looked on the office instant messaging system and a rush came over me – there was an out of office message saying he was planting just outside of Corpus Christi, Texas. Immediate reaction? Pick up the phone and call to see how it’s going!

It’s a high tech version of what has happened for generations. It used to be conversations at the general store or maybe the church social.  It passed from neighbor to neighbor and town to town.  Now, the news gets out quickly & electronically – and for those of us on or connected to the farm, hearing it creates a rush of excitement.  Optimism strikes.

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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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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

Very few of my friends or family are on Twitter.  And of the few who are Twitter users, I hate to admit they’ve let their accounts go unused.  I think my family and friends get a bit of a laugh out of the very concept of 140 character tweets.

When most Americans think of Twitter, they probably think of following a big name celebrity or maybe a local news source.  The value of creating community and providing your own perspective is why farmers like Mike Haley are on the social media site.  It’s also how I came to know him.

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If you’ve been listening to the radio lately, you may have heard some new advertisements from Monsanto that aim to raise awareness of the contributions of the American farmer. The ads articulate the positive impacts American farmers have on our economy as well as their efforts to preserve and care for the land. On Thanksgiving Day, we will also begin running television ads. These ads will feature real American farmers and echo the message of the radio ads.

Interestingly enough, we discovered that as we began to run our ads, many other people, organizations and companies were also out there paying tribute to recognize the hard work of the American farmer this Thanksgiving. In addition to Monsanto, ADM and the Montana Farm Bureau are running advertisements aimed at consumers. As of today, state governors in AZ, CO, GA, KS, KY, NC, ND, SD, OK, WA, WI, WY have declared “Thank Your Farmers and Ranchers Day” in their states.

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By Nick Weber

I grew up in St. Louis and now work here in our corporate headquarters. Quite frankly, I don’t get out to the farm much. In fact, I think I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve visited a farm. I’ve learned a lot from other meetings with farmers at trade shows, in the office, etc., but it’s different to have the conversation focused solely on what’s happening with them.

Before February, I relied almost entirely on agriculture trade publications, their Web sites’ message boards and the occasional mainstream media article for information about what’s happening in U.S. agriculture. But then, thanks to my colleague and co-blogger Kathleen, I discovered Twitter. I quickly realized this was a “place” where farmers were hanging out and talking shop. I embraced the new medium as another method of learning about all types of farming

A group chat session on Twitter, called #agchat, has helped me immensely in conversing with farmers and those in the industry. And I have gained a great deal of knowledge from those sessions as well.

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Greetings from Decatur, IL!

September 1, 2009

Driving up to Farm Progress 2009 this morning.

Driving up to Farm Progress 2009 this morning.

The event so many people in agriculture have been working toward is finally here: Farm Progress 2009.  I am excited because it is my first farm show and what better first event than the “Super Bowl of Agriculture”? I am not quite sure what to expect, but my co-workers say it’s a blast. I DO hope that the “Yield’s of Tomorrow” tour and Social Media Booth (shameless plug), among other Monsanto exhibits are going to be a draw for attendees.

For those who may not be able to attend, you don’t have to miss out. During Farm Progress, a team of bloggers will be posting stories, pictures, and video on this blog as well as our Farm Progress blog. On the Farm Progress blog you can follow Troy, an agronomist, Whittney, a student at The Ohio State University, and Mike, a longtime employee and Decatur native, on their adventures during Farm Progress.

You can also check out what is going on at the show on Twitter with the hash tag #FPS09, or by going to the Monsanto Farm Progress website.

We are also asking for your input on what you want us to write about. What questions would you like us to ask farmers on your behalf? Let us know on our Facebook Page. We’ll post the responses on the blog and Facebook page later in the week.