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January 6,2017: An Afternoon With Monsanto

The genetic advancement of agricultural crops is a growing area of research that many people are not aware about. Today we had the tremendous opportunity to visit one of the three Monsanto Research stations in Chile where we were able to learn about the different projects that are taking place at the station. Upon arrival we were greeted by some of the staff members and sat through a short presentation that explained about DH technology and how it is changing the direction of plant genetics. We also had the opportunity to drive out to different field sites where the staff explained to us different breeding projects that were  being worked on with corn, soybean, and canola. One of the main things that stood out to me was a conversation I had with one of the agronomists on the drive out to the field where he spoke to me about the importance of Chile’s climate which makes the research station possible. The consistent dry climate in the southern hemisphere allows for research projects like these to take place. The cool climate at night is helpful to prevent diseases and insects from being a problem, and the availability of  labor allows for long labored tasks to be possible. Finally, one of the most amazing things I realized was that although Chile may be thousands of miles away from the United States our westernized market and the amount and type of seed that our  American farmers use each season also affects the Chilean people. These are things that the common public does not think about when they sit at the dinner table to eat a meal, but a changing global climate will begin to drive the way our farmers and our suppliers work, and will in turn affect prices for consumers. Visiting the Monsanto Research station was definitely an eye opening experience and a very exciting way to get young people like us that are interested in agriculture to see potential futures with the industry.

Plant Biodiversity Student looking at Corn Breeding Fields

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