7.27.11 UPDATE: Monsanto bought De Kalb (flying ear of corn, my birthplace) Genetics in 1988. They will be celebrating 100th of the flying ear. When I detasseled for them it was De Kalb Ag Research. In fact, they are in discussions of putting that famous logo on a water tower in town. Monsanto is based in St. Louis and inquiries are being directed there. However, the De Kalb firm is following the sad case very closely.
1. Note: ponds in fields all over due to heavy rains over the weekend; was there a lightning strike?; reports have that it may have been struck by lightning on Sunday (KWQC) and, perhaps, no detasseling should have taken place Monday. It was noted by me that being behind schedule may have forced the issue of getting in the field. Monsanto has confirmed that lightning DID strike the irrigator. It was also known that it did.
From KWQC (Iowa): In an e-mail, Monsanto spokesperson Tom Helscher writes "lightning damage to the power supply for the irrigator has been observed. However, to our knowledge exactly how or if that may have contributed to the accident has not been determined and investigation of the matter is still underway."