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Monsanto CTO Robb Fraley Defines New Growth Layers For Company's R&D Pipeline

BioDirect technologies eventually could be used to identify new opportunities for current herbicides, create better insect control options, and offer new virus-control tools.  Fraley also cited recent transactions that have complemented and helped accelerate Monsanto's existing work in this space. 

"BioDirect technology has the potential to be one of the most exciting advancements for agriculture that I've seen in my career," Fraley said. "By working with a plant's own naturally-occurring processes, we have the potential to create products that are very precise and specific in how they work and may require smaller and fewer applications than current agricultural products.  That's better for farmers, more sustainable and consistent with our vision to create products that enable farmers to produce more and conserve more."

Precision Planting Strengthens Monsanto's Vision for Integrated Farming Systems

Fraley also cited the company's progress as it builds out its Integrated Farming Systems portfolio, noting today's announced plan to acquire precision agricultural engineering and planting technology leader Precision Planting Inc.  Monsanto's planned Integrated Farming Systems offering would provide science-based agronomic seed prescriptions with next-generation precision equipment, helping farmers increase yield potential and reduce risk.

"I've been in farming my whole life, and welcoming the Precision Planting team to Monsanto is a real highlight," Fraley said. "By bringing together Precision's planting technology with our data and breeding expertise, we expect to set ourselves apart with our ability to deliver specific on-farm prescriptions with the tools to use them for our farmer customers and I believe we will greatly improve crop yields."

Growth, Continued Investment in Latin America, Eastern Europe

Fraley noted the company's technology investment reaches beyond the United States to growing agricultural powerhouses like Brazil and Argentina and emerging leaders like Eastern Europe. 

In Brazil, Monsanto is readying for the commercial launch of its INTACTA RR2 PRO soybeans, the first product the company has developed specifically for an international market.  INTACTA RR2 PRO brings insect protection to the Roundup Ready 2 Yield® product that has delivered yield increases to U.S. farmers along with glyphosate tolerance.  The product has been well-received in on-farm trials and has already been tested by 500 farmers in Brazil with successful results.  It is expected to be commercialized pending the deregulation process for Brazil's main soybean importers.

Argentina also is expected to have more agricultural technology choices in the future, Fraley said, given good progress has been made on a new payment system between the company and Argentina farmers that encourages Monsanto's continued investment in that market.  With continuing progress, Fraley said he would expect the company to introduce Ground Breakers(SM) trials for INTACTA RR2 PRO in Argentina for fiscal year 2014.  The company also has invested capital in corn production for Argentina.

Fraley discussed oversea growth prospects as well, noting the company's planned capital investment in an expansion of its corn seed production facilities in Central and Eastern Europe. 

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