At Monsanto, People Drive the Innovation

Oct 28, 2013 1:45 PM ET

For Monsanto employee Phoong Tang, the $400 million expansion of the company’s Chesterfield Village Research Center will certainly help her and her colleagues’ research to help farmers produce more crops sustainably. But it’s not just infrastructure improvements that make Monsanto’s research and development pipeline hum. For Tang, it’s the people and their dedication to science and agriculture.

“The work we do here is tremendously impactful. We get to improve the lives of those farmers, small and large, across the globe. We get to do that because we have a culture that fosters innovation,” Tang said during her remarks at a celebration event to mark this year’s groundbreaking for the new facility.  “It's not about the money. It's about the people.”

With Monsanto’s expansion of the research center, Tang and her colleagues will have more space and additional tools to help them help farmers. The expansion will include a number of new facilities, including a conference center, research building, 36 additional greenhouses, 13 controlled environment agriculture (CEA) rooms and 250 additional labs. The expansion is expected to be completed in 2017.

“I'm even more excited for when we get to do a ribbon cutting at the new facility,” Tang said.

Tang started her career in 1996 as an intern in Belgium and has risen through the ranks to become Monsanto’s global cotton and specialty crop research strategy lead.

“When I look back, joining Monsanto has been one of the best life decisions I've ever made,” she said.

Nearly 700 people will have the opportunity to join Monsanto at the Chesterfield Village Research Center over the next three years as part of the expansion. Many of them, like Tang, will have a degree in one of the S.T.E.M. disciplines—Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Of Monsanto’s nearly 22,000 employees, approximately 7,000 have a degree in S.T.E.M.

The Chesterfield site supports breeding and biotech research for the major crops—corn, cotton, soybeans and wheat—to help farmers achieve higher yield potential.