Recognizing People for Improving Quantity & Quality of Food in the World

Posted on October 15, 2013 by:

“Musings of a Pig Farmer” by Larry Sailer

In my blog post last week, I pointed out that farmers can’t just shut down and questioned how civilized is a society whose government shuts down.  This week I promised last week to solve our federal government’s debt problem but… that must wait a week.  Today I can’t pass up the opportunity to share my thoughts about the World Food Prize and the #borlaugdialog Tweet Up I attended yesterday.

When I first received the invite to yesterday’s Tweet Up, I thought, “I can go if it rains.”  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was something that I really want to attend.  After all, I had planned to get done combining beans over the weekend and my corn wasn’t yet ready. That plan sounded reasonable until a few setbacks occurred: (1) my combine broke down and (2) I had to stop and watch my grandson Devin and his ISU teammates play football, and kickoff was scheduled for the silly time of 11 AM Saturday.  Before I knew it, I was down an entire day’s worth of bean combining.

There's nothing better than eating bacon in a coffeehouse promoting a vegan men

There’s nothing better than eating bacon in a coffeehouse promoting a vegan men

The next problem I encountered was the location of the World Food Prize Tweet Up because this particular coffee shop advertised a vegan menu.  No chance of me walking through the door of such an establishment!  After pointing this out to two Tweet Up organizers, Janice Person and Deb Brown assured me BACON would be served there. Game on!

This Tweet Up gathered together a group of 140 Conference speakers in honor of World Food Prize Week.  One of the three laureates this year is Robb Fraley, PhD.  Dr. Fraley, is responsible for global research as Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer.  He has worked for Monsanto for 30 years and was on the ground floor of biotechnology.

Often referred to as the Father of Biotechnology, Dr. Fraley has literally changed the world of agriculture.  Yet, the one thing that struck me when he visited with us during coffee is that Robb grew up on a small farm about 100 miles south of Chicago.  He’s an old farm boy like me!  Robb reminisced about growing up in a small town with just 17 students were in his graduating class.  He developed a strong work ethic by growing up in a farming community.

The attention of the world is focused on Iowa this week, as dignitaries around the globe gather in Des Moines for the World Food Prize, which has been called the Nobel Prize for Agriculture. Dr. Robert Fraley was named a 2013 World Food Prize Laureate. This Illinois farm boy and Ph.D. scientist has dedicated his career to advanced crop improvement techniques that are helping feed a hungry world. Pictured from left to right: Doug Getter, Former executive director of the Iowa Bio Tech Industry and current Webster City Councilman and Deb During Brown, Laura Lloyd Abarr Gaulke, Janice Person, Patrick Palmer, Darcy Maulsby, Larry Sailer and Robert Fraley

The attention of the world is focused on Iowa this week, as dignitaries around the globe gather in Des Moines for the World Food Prize, which has been called the Nobel Prize for Agriculture. Dr. Robert Fraley was named a 2013 World Food Prize Laureate. This Illinois farm boy and Ph.D. scientist has dedicated his career to advanced crop improvement techniques that are helping feed a hungry world. Pictured from left to right: Doug Getter, Former executive director of the Iowa Bio Tech Industry and current Webster City Councilman and Deb During Brown, Laura Lloyd Abarr Gaulke, Janice Person, Patrick Palmer, Darcy Maulsby, Larry Sailer and Robert Fraley.

Another person attending this Tweet Up from Monsanto was Janice Person, Social Media Director for Monsanto.  Anyone who has ever been around Janice knows what a sweet, sincere and genuine person she is.  A third person in attendance at yesterday’s Tweet Up was Tami Craig Schilling, Technology Communications Lead for Monsanto. Tami and I have been friends for quite some time on Facebook, and I was glad to finally meet her in person.  Online she often talks about being a farm wife, and I know her family is extremely important to her.

Why am I explaining so much about these Monsanto employees?  Monsanto has been demonized as a huge corporation, trying to take over the world’s food supply!  The truth is, this corporation is made up of people like you and me.  They have families.  They have social lives.  And, yes, they might even have a few faults – just like you and me.

One statement that Robb said stuck with me: “GM crops are the least size-sensitive of any crop. Small farmers, as well as large farmers, can use them.  They are just seeds, and any farmer knows what to do with a seed.”

Please do your own research on the topic of GM crops.  Below are a links to resources:

And if you have more questions, visit directly a farmer.  There are some great chat boards where you can ask questions and receive straight answers.  Please do NOT just listen to some emotional jargon provided by a special interest group or someone with a bone to pick!

Categories: Musings of a Pig Farmer