Padgette notes Monsanto's initial strategy is two pronged. The Biodirect department will work to incorporate biologicals to bolster weed and insect control, enhance herbicide effectiveness, and control crop viruses.
The company's foray into microbials will utilize microbes, especially in the crop's root system, to enhance yields. For instance, Padgette says researchers are working to boost nitrogen fixation in soybean plants.
Though details are scarce, Padgette hopes to have a new product on the market from this foray by the end of the decade.
"We're really surfing the wave of this new technology," he adds.
One thing was crystal clear from this year's Media Days, Monsanto has not strayed from its mission to feed the world.
During the opening address, Brett Begemann, president and chief commercial officer, rehashed the population growth numbers: 9 billion people by 2050, another 900 million in the next two years, and an exploding middle class in China and India.
Last fiscal year, more than half of Monsanto's growth came from markets outside of the U.S. Begemann expects this trend to continue.
CEO and chairman Hugh Grant notes the "small-holder" agriculture segment has tremendous interest in Monsanto's products. In India, 1 to 1.5 acre farms are common. Using Monsanto products, these farmers have been able to reduce the number of times they spray a cotton field from 10-12 trips to 2-3.
"These (farm families) talk about finishing earlier and cooking a meal before dark," Grant notes.