INA – The future of farming rolled onto the Rend Lake College campus Tuesday.
Students, area FFA chapters, local growers and distributors were invited to tour the Monsanto Mobile Technology Unit as it makes a three-day stop in Ina as part of a nationwide tour.
The MTU is a unique, travelling exhibit showcasing Monsanto’s advances in plant breeding, biotechnology and new product innovations focused on corn, soybean and cotton that support farmer success, according to a Monsanto release.
It is unique. A semi-tractor trailer, designed with photos of healthy, vibrant corn rows, suddenly comes to life. With side panels popping out and a canopy put in place, the vehicle transforms into a thousand feet of exhibit space that includes a mini-theatre and ag lab.
Bill Kossinski, an ag educator with Monsanto, guided about 30 RLC students through the tour Wednesday afternoon. Following a 15-minute video featuring everything from farm chores to genomics and scientists to NFL quarterback Kurt Warner, Kossinski led the group on a highlight of Monsanto’s plant breeding, biotechnology, crop analytics, and research and development process, as well as new developments in corn, cotton and oilseed.
Students learned about brilliant innovations in crop technology such as advanced robotics systems used to analyze seed samples at amazing speeds, using genetic markers to identify desirable characteristics in particular crops, new molecular breeding tools that can more effectively identify “high-yield” genes, utilizing an MRI machine to scan more than three million corn seeds annually and using biotechnology on sea algae to develop soybeans that can produce oil with heart-healthy Omega 3.
“As a company focused solely on agriculture, Monsanto is committed to helping farmers be successful,” Jim Zimmer, Vice President for Monsanto U.S. Branded Business, stated in a release. “That is why we are so strongly committed to developing new technologies that can help farmers increase their yields, improve their profitability and participate in new market opportunities for their crops.”