Tag Archives: Dave Mayonando


On November 12th, 2018 we had a guest lecture from Dave Mayonado. He gave a guest lecture on Industry and Academia in Agriculture. He started out the lecture by talking about technology in Agriculture. This started out with him talking about in the past when we used animals to pull plows and did things by hand. He also mentioned how the entire family was involved in farming. The first thing to cause a change was Land Grant Universities which established land-grant colleges to focus on the teaching of agriculture, science, military science, and engineering. From this we had more acts created that focuses on research in the agriculture field. This has led to an increase in US crop production via improved agronomic practices and the adoption of new tools. Dave also mentioned some examples of biological tools. This included CRISPR and GMOs. CRISPR is a gene editing tool that allows us to change the genes of a crop plant to be more drought or pest resistant. This allows for the crop to have a higher yield when faced with a drought since it can tolerate less rainfall. After talking some more about biotechnology he talked about Monsanto.

He started out by giving information on Monsanto’s history. He talked about the founding of it back in 1901. Then cell biology research began in 1972. From this he mentioned all the seed brands that they have. He also gave stats about the business. He also mentioned that Monsanto is a company that gets work done fast. He mentioned that they have been adjusting to the way things are now that Bayer has purchased Monsanto. He also mentioned new opportunities that will be available since Monsanto and Bayer cover different parts of the industry. Overall it was a very informative lecture. Thank you Dave Mayonado for being our guest lecturer and talking about the biotechnology industry in Agriculture.

Dave Mayonado on Agricultural Innovation

Dave Mayonado is an expert in the agricultural industry. Having worked for Monsanto for decades, he has witnessed first had the rapid innovations in agriculture that have occurred in recent years. These innovations began to take root with the development of land grant universities and agricultural research stations. Through the research conducted in these institutions, gene editing technologies have been created, such as RNAinterference, CRISPR, and Genome Wide Selection. These technologies have increased yield and nutritional value in produce, while minimizing agriculture’s environmental impact. Furthermore, consuming these crops have been shown to have no negative impacts on consumer health. Dave also provided interesting insights into what it is like to work in the industry. With Monsanto recently being bought by Bayer Crop Sciences, the agriculture industry has surely been shaken up. In a time like this where agricultural companies are growing to match the growing world population, it is crucial that we develop young agriculturists that will join the industry.

Dave Mayonado & Biotechnology

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.

Monsanto: A company that is better than what your friend told you.

Science and agriculture together do seem scary but really that is how we learn, practice, study and much more for everything we create and discover. Monsanto is a large company that does a lot of science work for the agriculture industry.

Science based research and development over the past 100 years have resulted in a huge increase in US crop production via improved agronomic practices, the adoption of ever improving mechanical, chemical and biological tools. This science has allowed Mid-Atlantic farmers to provide steadily larger crops while at the same time improving soil quality and fostering an environment that supports a thriving wildlife population.

The changing tools for agriculture pest management began at hand and animal labor. Then it went to mechanical labor by the use of steel. Next is chemical labor that used small molecules such as no-till. And today biological which uses proteins and RNA through GMOs. “What are GMOs? Biotechnology in plant agriculture has come to mean the process of intentionally making a copy of a gene for a desired trait from one plant or organism and using it in another plant. The result is a GMO (genetically modified organism).” Some commercial products of biotechnology are RoundUp Ready Corn which allows growers to be more effective and efficient in the control of weeds. YieldGard Corn allows growers to manage yield robbing insects without the need to spray. DroughtGard Corn enhances drought tolerance in corn for tough environments. Lastly, Vistive Gold/Plenish Soybeans are soybeans that provide a vegetable oil that is more healthy for consumers.

To date, more than 2,000 scientific studies have assessed the safety of these crops in terms of human health and environmental impact. These studies together with several reviews performed on a case by case from regulatory agencies around the world, have enabled a solid and clear scientific consensus: GM crops have no more risk than those that have been developed by conventional breeding techniques.

Lecture on Biotechnology in Agriculture

Biotechnology in today’s agriculture industry is important to the point where without it we would not be able to feed the world’s population. The biotechnology used is basic sciences that use scientific discovery and new technologies for the manipulation of the building blocks of the plant’s genetic information.  Farmers are able to grow five times the amount of corn that they could back in the 1930’s on 20% less land. The first to revolutionize yield production through different varieties of plants was Norman E. Borlaug. He shares his ideas with other to lower hunger issues leading him to win a Nobel Peace Prize in 1970.  Ag Biotechnology allows plants to have their genetics changed to become resistant pests, disease and build a tolerance to invasive plants, also creating the GMO. Farmers have adopted this way of growing because of yield increase, energy savings, tillage effectiveness, pesticide savings, better pest control for weeds and insects, and it helps save money. Despite there being fears towards biotechnologies and GMO’s farmers see them as a haven so they are able to feed more people and also make a profit.