Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make it to class to see Dr.Mayonado lecture, but being able to watch it after the fact was a huge help. First off I want to say that I think Bayer is a great company. I really like the work they do and the different types of field education classes they offer to the public. The best part of the presentation for me was being able to here about what it is like working in a company. It was very interesting to learn about how there were 30 industries developing new herbicides and products like that and now over the span of a few years that number has dropped to just 4. Which seems weird because you would think that as technology advances and continues to grow that getting your hands on that type of technology would be easier. But, I guess that with all these flare ups of false allegations that it probably helped a lot of these companies fail and discouraged anyone from trying it. It probably has made it just that more difficult to start up a company that creates pesticides and herbicides by means of paper work and regulations. It is crazy to me that people can make a case out of the little information they have that RoundUp causes cancer. Especially, when all of these other trusted organizations are disagreeing with that. It would be like if a organization in Europe said 1+1=3 but all these other organizations were saying no it definitely equals 2. But the public and the court are saying well they said it equals 3 so it must equal 3. It just doesn’t make sense to me how our judicial system just seems like there are suspending logic on these cases.
In class we had the opportunity to hear Dave Mayonado talk about biotechnology and his experience with Monsanto, and now Bayer. He started out but briefly talking about agricultural practices before we had all this precision agriculture technology and biotechnology. Explaining how land grant universities had the ability to conduct great amounts of research about agriculture. Afterwards he began to dive into how the knowledge of genetics and proteins in a plants genome has created for so many advances in agriculture. The ability for seed companies to insert targeted traits, silence traits, or add traits into a plants DNA allowed for them to start producing seeds that wouldn’t die from glyphosate, withstand drought better, produce higher levels of oil, and much more. This changed the face of agriculture. However, this technology is something that is heavily targeted but anti-GMO activists despite the fact that it is constantly being proven as a safe technology. In being employed with now Bayer, Mayonado has to be an agvocate for such technology, although that may not be formally in his job description.
I thought it was really interesting how Mayonado explained he spends a lot of the time in his job, working with government officials to educate them on this technology. The food and fiber system is quite the platform for political figures but yet a lot of them really have no idea what they are actually talking about. In saying so, I think a lot of people don’t realize that major seed companies have to take many different roles in educating consumers/political figures in order to continue to have successful company. He also talked about how they are constantly having to research, create, and produce new products in order to keep up with the producer and the demands. A big concern with this technology is the development of resistance in pests, so marketing new products so producers have different modes of action is crucial to a biotech company like Bayer. Creation of such products is lengthy, costly process but if done correctly can be very financially rewarding. Clearly, Monsanto/Bayer have been able to do just that.
Mayonado gave a great lecture pertaining to biotechnology and his experience within the company. Although I may not have understand all the technical science in his presentation, the one point that stuck out to me was that he never has the same work day. Things are always changing, and that is innovation something that excites me as a future producer.
I really enjoyed Mr. Mayonado’s lecture he gave on 11-12-18. He talked about Monsanto being bought by Bayer and how it was weird for him after working for Monsanto for 30 years but that it ultimately needed to happen. I learned that mergers happen to make the world more efficient meaning that more product can be produced while also saving money. It reminded me of my agricultural economic classes; if country A can make something for cheaper than country B and country B can make a different product for cheaper than country A, the two countries will trade those products and won’t spend extra money trying to produce it themselves. Monsanto is a huge seed breeding company that uses genetic technology to get the traits they want. I always thought that after I got my PhD that I would want to work for a company like Monsanto and after this guest lecture I definitely want to.
In listening to Dave speak on all that has changed in agriculture and in the company he works for, Bayer, he focused on four main topics as the beginning of that change. This change was based around tools used to control agricultural pest and managing them. The first of these changes was labor. In the beginning of agriculture labor was highly reliant on animals to pull the tools they needed to plow the fields, followed by someone pushing the tools. In order to collect these crops large groups of people, often families, went out to their crops and would pick one plants that were ready to be harvested. In todays world we are heavily reliant on machinery and fewer people in order to harvest crops. The second main step in this change was mechanics. Steel was a main part to this change, as it became more of a reliant for farmers and their families and yields to the increase of agriculture during the early days. This is what evolved the industry to become more reliant on machinery and allowed the industry to begin the era of tractors. The third piece that impacted early agriculture was the use of chemicals, where they would use small molecules in order to aid to the crops. This allowed chemicals to protect the plants and repel the pests that may be ruining or have the potential to ruin a crop. This was also a time point of no till and chemicals greatly affected this. The final piece to impact agriculture pest management was the biological aspect, where we began using things like GMO’s to give us higher yields using less input. This was also a time of CRISPR (where you can isolate a certain gene) and RNAi (when you could shut off certain genes) which greatly impacted the ability for a farmer to produce more food and to gain higher yields, all to benefit the consumer. Without listening to Dave speak on how important these factors became in the field of agriculture, it could be difficult for one to think back on crop production and to realize just how far it has come.