In 2009, Monsanto, the biggest agricultural company in the world, did something that had been unthinkable just five years before. It made a major investment in wheat. This wasn't the company's first foray into developing more advanced wheat cultivars. In the 1990s, it had begun research in developing Roundup Ready wheat to add to its suite to herbicide-resistant crops. But economics reared its ugly head. Acreage in spring wheat had declined dramatically, and Monsanto ended the research in 2004.