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Agribusiness: Kansas, Nebraska corn farmers eligible for premium savings

Nebraska and Kansas farmers who plant Monsanto Company (NYSE: MON) triple stack corn technologies in 2009 on the majority of their irrigated and/or non­ irrigated acres will be eligible for savings on their qualifying crop insurance premiums.

The opportunity for lower risk premiums is the result of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) recent announcement of expansion of the Biotechnology Yield Endorsement SM (BYE) program to Nebraska and Kansas, among other states, for the 2009 crop year. Under the expansion, the FCIC has renamed the program the Risk Management Biotechnology Endorsement (BE).

Monsanto’s triple stack technologies are the only products eligible for a premium discount for irrigated practices in Kansas and Nebraska. In Nebraska, nearly 70 percent of all corn acres in 2007 were irrigated. And in Kansas, 42 percent of corn acres in 2007 were irrigated.

Keith Olsen, president of the Nebraska Farm Bureau and Steve Baccus, president of the Kansas Farm Bureau, have both been vocal advocates for expansion of the program. “First and foremost, the new BE program represents real savings to growers,” Olsen said. “Its expansion will certainly encourage more currently insured growers to buy up coverage, and it will prompt uninsured growers to purchase insurance.”

Baccus adds, “The BYE program is an innovative and genuine improvement in crop insurance for corn growers and its expansion is particularly timely, given current market volatility and an unprecedented demand for increased stability in corn production.”

To be eligible for the premium discount, farmers must plant at least 75 percent of their irrigated and/or non irrigated corn for grain acres on an insured unit basis including replanted acres to corn hybrids containing YieldGard VT Triple®, YieldGard VT Triple PRO™, or YieldGard® Plus with Roundup Ready® Corn 2 technologies. Participation in this program does not replace the importance of growers respecting the EPA­mandated refuge requirements. These hybrids are available from more than 250 seed companies.

“As one of the originators of the BYE program, Monsanto Company spent more than two years gathering and analyzing thousands of data points from more than three harvest years for the or iginal pilot states,” said Monsanto New Business Manager Tim Hennessy. ”This data demonstrat ed that Monsanto YieldGard triple stack technologies effectively lower risk and deliver more consistent yields.”

“My insurance premiums have nearly doubled in the last couple years,” estimates Don Cantrell, a corn producer from Merna, Neb. “We have twice as much risk today because the crop is worth more. Anytime we can save $3 an acre that helps. We’re already planting triple stacks so that would mean money coming back.”

Adds Brian Baalman, a Menlo, Kan., producer: “As a Kansas corn farmer who plants on irrigated acres, this is welcome news. Like farmers everywhere, I am looking for an opportunity to lower my risk premiums, and I like the idea of getting a premium reduction for investing in these stacked corn varieties that are higher yielding and shown to withstand pest pressures.”

This 2008 innovative BYE program piloted in Illinois, Iowa, Indiana and Minnesota, on average reduced the cost of qualifying crop insurance policy premiums by more than $3 per acre. The crop insurance policies that qualify for this discount are Actual Production History, Revenue Assurance, and Crop Production Coverage and savings on these qualifying policies are expected to be similar with the 2009 expanded pilot.

In addition to Kansas and Nebraska, the Biotechnology Endorsement program is being expanded to Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin on non­irrigated acres.

About Monsanto Company

Monsanto Company is a leading global provider of technology­based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality. For more information on Monsanto, see:

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