The company Monsanto is a multinational Chemical and Agricultural Biotechnology company based in Creve Coeur, Missouri.
It is most famous (or infamous) for its production of genetically engineered seeds as well as its production of the weed killer Roundup.
The company, which began as a small chemical start-up company in 1901, has grown to become an immensely powerful corporation with Net Sales for the 2012 fiscal year of over $13.5 billion and operations in 68 countries across six continents.   
According to a recent study by Food and Water Watch, 93% of the US soybean market, and 80% of the US corn market contain genetics patented by the agribusiness giant. 
Monsanto owns over 1,676 patents on seeds plants and other agricultural applications. 
Since 1996, the amount of acreage supporting Monsanto’s genetically engineered (GE) crops has exploded from 3 million to 282.3 million worldwide. In the US alone, 151.4 million acres of land support Monsanto’s GE products, accounting for 40% of overall acreage devoted to agricultural production across the board. 
Monsanto’s success is not solely, if at all, attributable to its ability to create a superior product. Monsanto has been very aggressive in its lobbying and public relations efforts. According to figures from the Center for Responsive Politics, Monsanto has donated over $4,607,790 to US political campaigns since 1990, and has spent over $61,852,724 since 1998 lobbying elected representatives. 
More insidious perhaps, is the revolving door which sees Monsanto board members having worked for the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Agriculture, not to mention positions in public universities, industry and trade groups. (See diagrams below.)