Monsanto does not have the best reputation among environmental activists and some farmers. They produce the seeds for many of the genetically modified crops found in today’s markets. In 2010 the company also tried to raise the price of their seeds and received a very bad public response from the farmers who use their products. Unfortunately some of their herbicides and genetically modified corn strains have also failed to live up to their promise.
It’s surprising to see that they are doing very well despite all of this. The profits of the company have gone up 87% in just the last two years. They are standing by their genetically modified seeds in legislatures and the farmers who use them are seeing the results of the biotechnology involved in their creation. Those results are driving sales and farmer’s yields up. More and more farmers are buying their seeds because they make their money off of higher yields.
Monsanto isn’t just dependent on their genetically modified seeds though. The company is the largest seed manufacturer in the world and conventional seed breeding still accounts for about fifty percent of the of the research budget of the company. The company is also committing more money to understand why certain strains of weeds are becoming resistant to the herbicides that the company uses. This resistance should not have come as a surprise to the company since they have been using the same herbicides for over forty years. The company’s failure on this front was that they didn’t see it coming.
The company claims that their genetically modified seeds are the most tested food products on the market and that they’re completely safe. Unfortunately for the company rumors that genetically modified foods are unsafe persists, but they have obviously not having a real effect on the company. This may be because of their conventional seed division. More likely it’s because most Americans really don’t pay much attention to where their food comes from, let alone what types of seeds were used to grow them.
As technical as Monsanto is they had to get back to the people who use their products and communicate to them better the value of their product after the public relations Armageddon of 2010. That’s exactly what they did. Thanks to consistent messaging and pricing the executives of the company turned the company around after their profits plunged an astounding forty-seven percent in 2010. Not many companies could have recovered from such a loss in revenues but Monsanto did it by putting an emphasis on customer service.
As populations rise around the world more farmers will likely use genetically modified seeds for their crops. They will need to get higher yields out of every field to keep up despite changing climates in growing regions. The future of genetic modifications may actually lie in promoting traits that will tolerate extreme temperature changes. There may be seeds that one day tolerate extreme drought, flooding, or both. Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds may be the only hope for farmers in areas that are experiencing changes in their climate.