Monsanto Talks Sustainability

Laura McNamara

Michael Doane, Monsanto's Sustainability Team LeadThe recent surge in profitability within the agriculture sector is giving farmers and ag companies a bit of room to breath. But, Monsanto says, just a bit. Michael Doane, Monsanto’s Sustainability Team Lead says that with profitability comes responsibility: a responsibility for the agricultural climate of the future. There are big questions, Michael says, that begged to be asked, and, hopefully, answered. How do we meet the growing demand? How do farmers fit into the growing needs of the recent future? What will the world look like for our children? Will it be a world, Michael asked, that has a lot of pressure on its resource base?

“We’re going to have to produce more food on the same acres between now and 2050 then we’ve produced in the last 10,000 years combined,” Michael said. “That’s pretty substantial. That’s going to get us to twice the level of annual food production in 2050 versus today.”

Michael says responding to such demands is a responsibility that must be shared throughout the ag sector. But, he says, Monsanto is eagerly doing it’s part to help.

“This conversation about sustainability kind of hit us right between the eyes,” Michael said. “We went out and started talking to a lot of people about agriculture; and what doing more with less would look like; what would be important there.”

Ultimately, Michael says, Monsanto’s goal is to make farmers more productive and, consequently, more financially successful.

“Our goal is to make every farmer we serve better off the next year than they were the previous year,” Michael said.

And, Michael says, that goal is meant to benefit farmers all over the world.

“In developing countries we think we also need to do that,” Michael said. “So, we’ve committed to helping 5 million resource-poor farmers, who are simply trying to feed their families, do that.”

But, as much as Monsanto recognizes its role in securing the future of farming and the future of feeding the world, the Michael says finding long-term, sustainable solutions will be a team effort.

“It’s going to be the ‘we’ collectively that does this,” Michael said.

You can download and listen to Michael Doane’s entire speech at the 2008 Farm Progress Show in Boone, IA here: fp-08-doane.mp3

You can also download the speech with this link.

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