By Chris Adams

The chairman and chief executive of Monsanto, the agricultural science giant that has become a lightning rod worldwide, described his company’s role in some of the controversial issues of the day.

In a Q&A session with National Press Foundation fellows, Hugh Grant spelled out his vision for his company’s future (for a broad overview of those plans, see Fortune magazine’s June 2016 examination of what it called “the world’s most vilified company,” asking “Can Monsanto Save the Planet?”).

While Grant would not address one of the biggest stories of the day – the proposed acquisition of Monsanto by Bayer – he did address several other issues, including:

Climate change, which he calls “one of the biggest issues we face in agriculture, as well as one of the most pressing challenges facing humanity”;

The safety of genetically modified organisms, which the company strongly stands behind (for a review from the other side, go here);

And a recent World Health Organization review on the potential for the herbicide chemical glyphosate to cause cancer (Monsanto’s view is here, and recent reports from two WHO agencies that came to differing conclusions on the issue are here and here).

He also discussed the significant technological changes that have swept through the agriculture industry in recent years, due to both plant-science breakthroughs and to digital technologies that allow farmers to more precisely farm their land.

“Agriculture today is not the same as agriculture a decade ago,” Grant said.