Posted by: Michael Arndt on January 11

Anyone who's seen the documentary Food Inc. knows that Monsanto comes across as a thug. Its bioengineered soybeans, designed to be unaffected by Monsanto weedkiller Roundup, command 93% of the U.S. crop, yet there's Monsanto in the 2008 movie, heartlessly hauling farmers into court to jack up its market share even further. Monsanto execs declined to comment then. In retrospect, CEO Hugh Grant now says he should have. He might have blunted the film's impact if he had.

Grant has a different take on Monsanto's role in agriculture, of course. From his point of view, the company is working on the side of angels, helping to create commodity crops to feed today's population and the 2 billion more people who might occupy the planet by 2030. He is proud that Monsanto scientists were the first to have a patented genetically modified plant on the market-Roundup Ready soybeans were introduced in 1996-and he is excited about new efforts to bioengineer wheat and vegetables, too, as well as the next generation of super beans and corn.

I got a chance to hear Grant's perspective when swung through Bloomberg's office in Chicago the other day. (My colleagues at Bloomberg News posted this story on Monsanto's patent strategy, and its legal fight with sometime partner/sometime rival DuPont.) Grant, 51, a big man with a Scottish accent and a shaved head, was joined by Robert Fraley, Monsanto's chief technology officer, 56, a former Illinois farm boy who coincidentally wears the same haircut.

This article appears on BusinessWeek's website. To read the complete article, please go to Monsanto v. Food Inc. over How to Feed the World

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