"It was done in a completely open-sourced way," says Benbrook. "Scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture exchanged all sort of seeds with other scientists and researchers all over the world. This free trade and exchange of plant genetic resources was the foundation of progress in plant breeding. And in less than a decade, it was over."

The first crack appeared in 1970, when Congress empowered the USDA to grant exclusive marketing rights to novel strains — with the exception that farmers could replant the seeds if they chose and patented varieties must be provided to researchers.

But that wasn't enough. Corporations wanted more control, and they got it with a dramatic, landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1980 that allowed the patenting of living organisms. The decision was intended to increase research and innovation. But it did the opposite, encouraging market concentration.

Research professor Dr. Charles Benbrook found that rapidly increasing seed and pesticide costs were tamping farmers' income.
Courtesy photo
Research professor Dr. Charles Benbrook found that rapidly increasing seed and pesticide costs were tamping farmers' income.
Kansas farmer Bryce Stephens had to stop growing organic corn and soybeans for fear of contamination and has 30-foot buffer crops to protect his organic wheat.
Courtesy photo
Kansas farmer Bryce Stephens had to stop growing organic corn and soybeans for fear of contamination and has 30-foot buffer crops to protect his organic wheat.

Monsanto, which declined an interview request for this article, would soon gobble up every rival seed company in sight. It patented the best seeds for genetic engineering, leaving only the inferior for sale as non-GM brands.

Syngenta and DuPont both sued, accusing Monsanto of monopolistic practices and a "scorched earth campaign." But instead of bringing reform, the chemical giants reached settlements that granted them licenses to use, sell, and cross-develop Monsanto products. (Some DuPont suits still drag on today.)

It wasn't until 2009 that the Justice Department, working in concert with several state attorneys general, began investigating the company for antitrust violations. But three years later, the feds quietly dropped the case. (They also ignored interview requests for this article.)

Dr. Peter Carstensen, a professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School, said some states were interested in pursuing the case and "some of the staff in the antitrust division wanted to do something, but top management — you say the word 'patent' and they panic."


Set the Lawyers to Stun

Historically, farmers were able to save money on seeds by using those produced by last year's crops for the coming year's planting. But because Monsanto owns patents on its genetically modified strains, it forces farmers to buy new seeds every year.

Armed with lawyers and private investigators, the company has embarked on a campaign of spying and intimidation to stop any farmer from replanting his seeds.

Farmers call them the "seed police," using words such as "Gestapo" and "Mafia" to describe Monsanto's tactics. The company's agents fan out into small towns, where they secretly videotape and photograph farmers, store owners, and co-ops; infiltrate community meetings; and gather information from informants. Some Monsanto agents pretend to be surveyors. Others confront farmers on their land and try to pressure them to sign papers giving Monsanto access to their private records.

In one case, Monsanto accused Indiana farmer David Runyon of using its soybean seeds, despite documented fact that he'd bought nonpatented seed from local universities for years. While attempting to pressure Runyon, Monsanto's lawyer claimed the company had an agreement with the Indiana Department of Agriculture to search his land.

One problem: Indiana didn't have a Department of Agriculture at the time. Like most Monsanto investigations, the case never went to trial and would appear to be more about intimidation than anything. Runyon incurred substantial costs defending himself without having done anything wrong. In 2006, the Center for Food Safety estimated that Monsanto had pressured as many as 4,500 farmers into paying settlements worth as much as $160 million.

Yet Monsanto wanted even more leverage. So it naturally turned to Congress.

Earlier this year, a little-noticed provision was slipped into a budget resolution. The measure, pushed by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Missouri), granted the company an unheard-of get-out-of-jail-free card, which critics derisively dubbed "The Monsanto Protection Act."

There have been some indications of adverse health effects, but Monsanto has largely kept its products from researchers. Long-term studies have been limited, but scientists have found greater prevalence of tumors and digestive problems in rats fed GM corn and potatoes, and digestive issues for livestock eating GM feed. Those who have published studies critical of GM have been besieged by industry-funded critics disputing their finding, assailing their professional reputations, and effectively muddying the water. The feds have never bothered to extensively study GM foods. Instead, they've basically taken Monsanto's word that all is kosher. So organic farmers and their allies sued the company in 2009, claiming too little study had been done on Monsanto's GM sugar beets.

A year later, a judge agreed, ordering all recently planted GM sugar beet crops destroyed until their environmental impact was studied.

The Monsanto Protection Act was designed to end such rulings. It essentially bars judges from intervening in the midst of lawsuits — a notion that would seem highly unconstitutional.

Not that Congress noticed. Monsanto's spent more than $10 million on campaign contributions during the past decade — plus another $70 million on lobbying since 1998. The money speaks so loudly, Congress has become tone-deaf.

In fact, the U.S. government has become Monsanto's de facto lobbyist in countries distrustful of GM safety. Two years ago, WikiLeaks released diplomatic cables showing how the feds had lobbied foreign governments to weaken laws and encourage the planting of genetically modified crops in Third World countries.

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55 comments
patriciaptursi
patriciaptursi

Monsanto works through the Universities...the U of Missouri is "owned" by Monsanto.  The Extension professionals can't say anything against Monsanto.  By donating buildings and research money, companies get free researchers, free buildings, a tax write off and then get the patents. 

Hillary at the International Bio Convention spoke for 65 minutes and on GMOs about 29 minutes in.  She bragged about how she had spread GMO seeds all over Africa by avoiding mentioning Genetic Modification, but called the seeds "drought resistant".  It's all about spin. 

Also, HIllary said that anyone that questions the safety of GMO seeds is "ignorant":.  You can hear HIllary at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hypwb_SYaAc    and the Consumer Report on CBS explain how there are no requirements for GMOs to be proven safe.  The Truth in Labeling voting has all kind of big money thrown to make statements like Hillary's. 

anonymox101
anonymox101

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RWZed
RWZed

Just a quick Wikipedia check here:


The case drew worldwide attention and is widely misunderstood to concern what happens when farmers' fields are accidentally contaminated with patented seed. However by the time the case went to trial, all claims had been dropped that related to patented seed in the field that was contaminated in 1997; the court only considered the GM canola in Schmeiser's 1998 fields, which Schmeiser had intentionally concentrated and planted from his 1997 harvest. Regarding his 1998 crop, Schmeiser did not put forward any defence of accidental contamination.


Well researched indeed.

RWZed
RWZed

Just a quick Wikipedia check here:


The case drew worldwide attention and is widely misunderstood to concern what happens when farmers' fields are accidentally contaminated with patented seed. However by the time the case went to trial, all claims had been dropped that related to patented seed in the field that was contaminated in 1997; the court only considered the GM canola in Schmeiser's 1998 fields, which Schmeiser had intentionally concentrated and planted from his 1997 harvest. Regarding his 1998 crop, Schmeiser did not put forward any defence of accidental contamination.


ardamalfi
ardamalfi

When it comes to their monopoly on seed-stock, their corporate policies, and the legal action they've taken against farmers unlucky enough to have their crops contaminated indicates they're (Monsanto) full of shit. This is just basic bullshit that comes with the territory of capitalism and an apathetic democracy with a corrupt electorate system instead of a more direct system.


But many of the health hysteria surrounding GMOs is the same sort of thing that existed when they first came to the block in the 1970s. Are there potential risks? Almost definitely. Are there benefits? Undoubtedly. At this point in terms of what we know and can verify scientifically, they benefits outweigh the risks in terms of feeding mankind and taking care of vitamin and mineral deficiencies in the "third world". The technology isn't inherently dangerous, bad, or evil- certainly it needs unbiased voices researching the long-term effects of it rather than just dumping onto consumers, but... that's capitalism. Money is the bottom line. The corporation, which exists for it's SHAREHOLDERS rather than it's STAKEHOLDERS is evil, in this case and in most cases. Never forget that.


Also this article claims that Monsanto helped pioneer Agent Orange. This is a lie. They did, along with 9 other companies, help produce it for the US Government at their behest, some 20 years after it was invented and conceived of.


DDT similarly was in existence long before Monsanto, in 1874; it's use as a pesticide was not discovered until the 1930s. They, along with 15 other companies, produced it starting in the 1950s.


So while I agree on some points, I disagree on others, and implore better fact-checking.

DeepFloyd
DeepFloyd

One of the best written articles I have read in a long time. Perfectly researched and explained. Lots of information and truthful depiction of the situation and reality. Who can fight such a powerful corporation? Only the knowledge and willpower of millions. We can't give up to expose these greedy S.O.B. and resist consuming their nasty seeds. Once we stop buying they will stop producing. 

McNamara31
McNamara31

When it comes to GM crops:

The pollen blows

And Monsanto's Market Share Grows


What is 6 foot high and costs the American farmer 1 billion dollars a year to eradicate?  

Superweeds caused by Monsanto's RUR tolerant GM crops




perennialharvest
perennialharvest

please disregard the gmo pr hacks.  they are paid to discredit people who do their homework.

One of the gmo companies aims is to get asia hooked on gm rice.  Monsanto didn't give up the war in vietnam, it just restrategized.  defoliating their ancient food forests was one way to try to control people--but they just couldn't win.  Selling them seed to survive in the name of feeding the world has better pr.  

If they want people to get more vitamin A, as GMO "golden rice"  has been marketed, they could have 10,000 dollars on moringa seed and sent it to the impoverished and hungry nations.  Moringa is a highly nutritious (off the charts) and very resilient tree that grows in impoverished arid areas and can be propagated by sticking a branch in the ground.  If the GMO rice makers did that when they began their quest to feed the world, moringa would be in everyone's backyard (where it is adapted to).    

After all monsanto alone donated millions in campaign donations, why couldn't they afford to do such a beneficial thing?  They do it for the money and power.  They bought the seed supply up.  Now states can't afford to pass labelling bills because says it will sue.  What junk. I think its  time we shake things up--the puppets in the purchased government are just fine letting you and your family be part of this experiment.   Now is the time to start your GMO Free chapter.  Check out the many on facebook.  

also check out www.agroforestrydesign.net to learn more about how to grow more food with less inputs and effort.



usmael
usmael

This author should be ashamed for spreading sensationalist lies. Like most romanticist propoganda, there is no mention of GM techniques outside of pesticide use. GM can offer a wealth of nutritional customization, that sporadic plant breeding simply cannot. This article spouts traditionalist rubbish , nothing more.

ajkmsteph2
ajkmsteph2

The article says Monsanto was a pesticide company that bought up seed companies. They did sell RoundUp exclusively to the world until China started to produce and with Chinese government subsidies undercut them in prices.  Monsanto said lets get out of chemicals and into seeds. They bought DEKALB genetics corn seed and turn a 10% market share into 35% in 10 years (the activists call this world domination). RoundUp sales are now 15% of sales - so now a minority herbicide company. No sales in chemical insecticides profits coming from GM corn. soy and cotton and non-GM veggies even some organic veggie seeds)

ajkmsteph2
ajkmsteph2

There was a comment by Farmy... that yields from the EU are similar to those from the US that uses GM. The reason is the EU uses higher inputs of chemicals that the US and the US uses GM.  The EU uses herbicides as much as the US on corn - they just don't use roundup over the crop when it is growing. They use Roundup to kill off weeds before they plant or before the crop emerges.  They use aerial insecticides against corn borers but these don't work well and the US rarely used these and now gets a 10% boost when the insect is around. The US corn has big problems with rootworms that migrated from southern americas and used to put insecticides in the soil for about 25 million acres a year now they use Gm crops.  The EU didn't have a problem with soil insects. recently Romania has started to have problems and has started to use soil insecticides or nicotinamides. The EU puts higher levels of nitrogen on their corn. this is on part because they have wetter soils and can get higher yields without irrigation than the US.  Most corn hybrids for the EU are produced for use in the US northern regions with shorter life span in the season and transferred to the EU for sale.  So comparing average yields in the EU and US and saying yields are the same and that GM traits don't work is like saying oranges are really orange colored apples.  The only way to show that a GM trait increases yield or not is to do side by side comparisons of the GM and non-GM versions (same genetics except for GM gene and having about 30-100 sites of data. rarely is this done by anyone in academics since they don't have the resources.  If you have a site to do the test your results will be random -i.e. sometimes one winning and sometimes the other meaningless. people who try to discredit GM crops use crop yields from different fields to say that organic crops out yield GM this is nonsense and is not science

mikemoskos1
mikemoskos1

We have so many farmers' markets, CSAs and food clubs selling pastured meat and raw milk here in MIami-Dade that there is no reason you ever have to eat a GMO "product". 

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

i didn't think the FARMers were such dupes to be conned by a BIG scam especially involving elected officials but then again our water is screwed-up so i guess like ALL these stories - M O N E Y talks

pdjmoo
pdjmoo

Excellent article Chris and a great "summary"... but you omitted the latest coup d'etat in the works by Monsanto and the biotechnology and biotech ag juggernaut.  In their determination to leap-frog over opposition to their tactics and products they are now engaged, as we speak, in secretive trade pacts that will give them full license to steam ahead without national governments having much say in the issue of global monopoly of the food supply.  It is horrifying and looks like it will go through with the US Government twisting arms (and legs) of foreign governments to accomplish this coup.  It is NAFTA on steroids and we'd better get on top of it before it is too late and the final nail in the coffin to the resistance to GMO and Monsanto is sealed and our world will change forever.

Obama's New Secretive Global Trade Pacts Will Impact Us All. Threatens Sovereignty And Public Ownership  http://sco.lt/74uPth

Why Has Monsanto "Quit" Europe? (Monsanto Never Quits) The Answer is #ISDA in #TAFTA #TPP New Global Trade Pacts  http://ow.ly/ngqjs

Millions Against Monsanto and the Dangerous New Secretive Trade Pacts http://ow.ly/ngqqh

ajkmsteph2
ajkmsteph2

just look at what has happened to wheat yields without a way for seed companies to make profits and it being done by academics? Nothing in 10 years while average corn yields have gone up 20% or more in 10 years. Insecticide use is down dramatically in corn and cotton due to GM traits.  WHY DO YOU THINK MOST OF THE SOY AND CORN IN THE AMERICAS IS GM and farmers pay for the traits .........BECAUSE they work

ajkmsteph2
ajkmsteph2

BTW monsanto today is not the old Monsanto from before - not the same shareholders, managers employees. It was new in 2002

ajkmsteph2
ajkmsteph2

Nonsense: organic food kills people - Wholefood cheese recently, Costco organic blueberries sicken, German Sprouts. 16 year of GM crops, 3 billion acres planted and zero harm to people

Riselda Ruiz
Riselda Ruiz

@Cary, so we just lie down and let this company take over the world's food supply? Meanwhile the bess that pollinate our plants are mysteriously dying (many think from the same pesticides created by Monsanto) and guess what, Monsanto is developing new pollination technology. Coincidence?

Elisabeth Moore
Elisabeth Moore

Bastards. Obama needs to get on board with stopping them. Until then, public awareness is key.

Robert John Becerra
Robert John Becerra

They are like the Umbrella corporation in the "Resident Evil" movies.

Cary Cary
Cary Cary

It's one of those things that really don't have a solution given the power and money involved. Sad.

j.pollo
j.pollo

Monsanto's specialty is killing stuff? From Wikipedia: "Founded in 1901 by John Francis Queeny, by the 1940s it was a major producer of plastics, including polystyrene and synthetic fibers. Notable achievements by Monsanto and its scientists as a chemical company included breakthrough research on catalytic asymmetric hydrogenation and being the first company to mass-produce light emitting diodes (LEDs)...The company's first product was the artificial sweetener saccharin...Monsanto expanded to Europe in 1919 by entering a partnership with Graesser's Chemical Works at Cefn Mawr, near Ruabon Wales, to produce vanillin, aspirin and its raw ingredient salicylic acid, and later rubber processing chemicals."

Texano78704
Texano78704

The writer makes a few good points and even sprinkles in some facts. However, none of the facts are referenced and much information is presented in such a biased manner (like the "Monsanto Protection Act," which was really for the protection of farmers), that it's hard to take this article seriously.

DeepFloyd
DeepFloyd

You are stupid. Or you work for them. NO other explanation for you stating such a silly comment. The world has survived just fine without some greedy pseudo- scientists mingling their stinky hands into Mother Nature's work. .

Farmy
Farmy

@usmael That is because the huge majority of currently approved GE crops express pesticides or are engineered to be sprayed with pesticides.  Most biofortification uses conventional plant breeding, not GE techniques.  Your complaint is equivalent to a report on the human body not including the fact that some people have large hairs on their toes.  The large body of information regarding currently approved GE crops is related to pesticides, and your name calling doesn't change that.

Farmy
Farmy

@ajkmsteph2

You obviously didn't read the whole comment because the evidence suggests the EU often uses LESS pesticides and has about equal or better yields.  "The short-term reduction in insecticide use reported in the period of Bt crop adoption appears to have been part of a trend enjoyed also in countries not adopting GM crops (Figure 3). Thus, reductions attributed to GM crops (Fedoroff 2012) are in question. In 2007 (the latest FAOSTAT figures available for the United States) US chemical insecticide use was down to 85% of 1995 levels by quantity of active ingredients, and herbicide use rose to 108% of 1995 levels. Meanwhile, similar if not more impressive reductions have been achieved in countries not adopting GM crops. By 2007, France had reduced both herbicide (to 94% of 1995 levels) and chemical insecticide (to 24% of 1995 levels) use, and by 2009 (the latest FAOSTAT figures available for France) herbicide use was down to 82%, and insecticide use was down to 12% of the 1995 levels. Similar trends were seen in Germany and Switzerland."  http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14735903.2013.806408#. 

Your argument makes no  sense when the same study I referenced states, "Between 1961 and 1985 the United States produced on average approximately 5,700 hg/ha more maize per year than did W. Europe."  So all your claims about differences in irrigation, etc. make no sense when before GE crops the U.S. had higher yields than the EU and after GE crops, "there was a significant change in yield in our comparison countries (Figure 1). Between 1986 and 2010, W. Europe's yield averaged 82,899 hg/ha, just slightly above United States yields of 82,841 hg/ha (Table 1).:   

There are numerous examples of yield comparisons including side by side comparisons, which suggest GE crops often yield less in U.S. comparisons and in EU comparisons.   "Overall, Roundup Ready varieties yielded 97% of the conventional yields averaged across all trials in all states." http://www.foodsafety.ksu.edu/articles/147/varietytrials.pdf  

"Two years of NU Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources research showed Roundup Ready soybeans yield 6 percent less than their closest relatives and 11 percent less than high-yielding conventional soybeans." http://ianrnews.unl.edu/static/0005161.shtml  

"yield of the CR variety(KS 4202 RR) was 7bu/A lower than its conventional near isoline" http://www.ipni.net/ppiweb/bcrops.nsf/$webindex/6023B2456D1CE559852573940017E6CF/$file/BC+2007-4.pdf

"Yield advantages of the MON 810 and SYN-Bt11 maize varieties tested in Hungary, who is the second biggest European maize producer, was lowered by 5%."  http://www.ij-ep.org/paperInfo.aspx?paperid=799 

Even the USDA admits, "The toxic effect of glyphosate to B. japonicum also has been attributed to the inability of the organism to synthesize aromatic amino acids. The loss of energy and fixed N2 provided by B. japonicum may be significant factors responsible for reduced growth and yield in GR soybean” http://www.ddr.nal.usda.gov/bitstream/10113/39648/1/IND44313688.pdf 

ajkmsteph2
ajkmsteph2

@mikemoskos1 how many low income people have a chance to eat these products?  Is it the same price as the conventional or GM products?

ajkmsteph2
ajkmsteph2

@Farmy if you want all your food to cost more inFlorida please pass it. If you want all your oranges to die of disease please pass it

usmael
usmael

@pdjmoo 

no this article is sensationalist and backwards, the equivalent of old people who refuse to use email

ajkmsteph2
ajkmsteph2

@pdjmoo You guys love to quote other activist website for facts that talk about secret deals etc. bullshit.  The US government job is to also represent US farmers who's products their own scientists have approved. The EU safety agencies have all approved import of these grains ! So when EU countries ban cultivation of GM crops when their own safety scientists say it is safe they know it is to protect EU businesses from fair competition.  Its is not a secret deal its very public.  Monsanto and every other Ag company has given up on gets GM crops cultivated in the EU but they haven't given up selling seed --yet in fact Monsanto said they are increasing production of non-GM seed that EU farmers will now spray with herbicide and insecticides and fungicides more than their US counterparts - well done EU for protecting EU farmers - they can now keep spraying nerve poisons on their fields.  I will give you a choice - a cup on Bt corn or a cup of sarin like nerve poisoning insecticide what would you chose?  Do you think you need to ask one of those Indian School kids would they have rather eaten some GM cotton instead cotton insecticide????????????People like you make me sick - you literally habve blood on your hands 

Farmy
Farmy

 You may want to read the data in the studies referenced in this article to see that you are mistaken.  For example, the countries in the Western EU do not use GE corn yet, "Between 1986 and 2010, W. Europe's yield averaged 82,899 hg/ha, just slightly above United States yields of 82,841 hg/ha (Table 1). Comparing W. Europe with the United States for the entire period 1961–2010 (Figure 1), the average yields were not significantly different (ANOVA: F 1,98 = 0.53; P = 0.47). These results suggest that yield benefits (or limitations) over time are due to breeding and not GM, as reported by others (Gurian-Sherman 2009.), because W. Europe has benefitted from the same, or marginally greater, yield increases without GM. Furthermore, the difference between the estimated yield potential and actual yield or ‘yield-gap’ appears to be uniformly smaller in W. Europe than in the US Midwest (Licker et al. 2010). Biotechnology choices in the form of breeding stock and/or management techniques used in Europe are as effective at maintaining yield as are germplasm/management combinations in the United States." Clearly the yield increase in corn has nothing to do with GE.  As for insecticide use,Between 1996 and 2011, overall herbicide use increased by 239 million kilograms (527 million pounds) (Benbrook 2012). When the in-planta insecticide is added back, there is no net reduction in insecticide application (Benbrook 2012)."  "The short-term reduction in insecticide use reported in the period of Bt crop adoption appears to have been part of a trend enjoyed also in countries not adopting GM crops (Figure 3). Thus, reductions attributed to GM crops (Fedoroff 2012) are in question. In 2007 (the latest FAOSTAT figures available for the United States) US chemical insecticide use was down to 85% of 1995 levels by quantity of active ingredients, and herbicide use rose to 108% of 1995 levels. Meanwhile, similar if not more impressive reductions have been achieved in countries not adopting GM crops. By 2007, France had reduced both herbicide (to 94% of 1995 levels) and chemical insecticide (to 24% of 1995 levels) use, and by 2009 (the latest FAOSTAT figures available for France) herbicide use was down to 82%, and insecticide use was down to 12% of the 1995 levels. Similar trends were seen in Germany and Switzerland."  http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14735903.2013.806408#.UcHXzEnD9Mv   Farmers don't really choose GE crops in the U.S. they have little other option, in many cases they want to grow Non-GE crops, but the Non-GE seeds just aren't available in the quantities they need.  "In the United States, where farmers have primarily a choice among GM-varieties for maize and soybean, this lack of choice of non-GM varieties is causing increasing concerns"  www.gmls.eu/beitraege/91_Binimelis.pdf  

ajkmsteph2
ajkmsteph2

@Riselda Ruiz Are you saying that Monsanto wants to kill bees - another crazy. What evidence do you have that BT crops are killing bees ! Organic farmers use Bt insecticides because they don't kill bees. The EU has virtually no GM corn but bees are dying there - do you think they are dying out of sympathy for the bees in the US. What new poilination technologies is Monsanto developing?  They acquired a company Beelogics who is working on benign technologies to kill the pathogens. The technology uses very specific ways to kill pests based on DNA that only those pests have. They also want to use the technology to kill pests of plants - instead of using chemical insecticide nerve poisons. Monsanto doesn't sell chemical insecticides. But Syngenta does - why not go after them?  Because Syngenta as a competitor of Monsanto in other areas is very happy for others to attack Monsanto and not them (guess where some anti-Monsanto people get their money from?)

ajkmsteph2
ajkmsteph2

@j.pollo 

read on -- but you left this out ---There are two companies Old Monsanto and New Monsanto. Old Monsanto was a chemical company it was bought by Pharmacia who was bought by Pfizer. The chemical part was spun off as Solutia in 1998. The Pharmaceutical part of Monsanto (they made a lot of aspirin and Celebrex) was incorporated into Pfizer (technically the old Monsanto is Pfizer.  Pfizer spun off the new Monsanto - solely Agriculture - they don't have the same board of directors, manger or employees or probably shareholders as the old Monsanto- I am a white Anglo-saxon - can you really blame me for the crimes of the Vikings?  or a 21 year old German for Hitler - but don't let the facts get in the way of your crazy ramblings or the truth

MusicNerd99
MusicNerd99

@j.pollo Wikipedia CONT.: "In the 1920s Monsanto expanded into basic industrial chemicals like sulfuric acid and PCBs, and Queeny's son Edgar Monsanto Queeny took over the company in 1928....Monsanto began manufacturing DDT in 1944, along with some 15 other companies...Until it stopped production in 1977, Monsanto was the source of 99% of the polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) used by U.S. industry....PCBs are a persistent organic pollutant, and cause cancer in animals and likely in humans as well, among other health effects...They were known to be highly toxic from the beginning, but it was assumed that they would be contained in the products in which they were used. However, as leaks of transformers occurred, and toxicity problems arose near factories, their durability and toxicity became widely recognized as serious problems..As of 2012, Monsanto is associated with 11 "active" Superfund sites and 20 "archived" sites in the US, in the EPA's Superfund database.[97] Monsanto has been sued, and has settled, multiple times for damaging the health of its employees or residents near its Superfund sites through pollution and poisoning."

Just sayin.....

Farmy
Farmy

@Texano78704 Which references would you like?  The, "Monsanto Protection Act" was designed to protect Monsanto(and other biotech companies) from being forced to destroy the crops they grow for seed in the event that a court ruled those crops caused environmental, etc. damage and should be destroyed.  Obviously Monsanto, etc. would lose billions of dollars if they were forced to destroy their entire seed supply and so Monsanto, etc. has the greatest benefit from this legislation, hence the term, "Monsanto Protection Act".    

DeepFloyd
DeepFloyd

I totally agree with you. The greatest driving power of all of GM producing technologies is greed. They don't care at all about global consequences to stock, plants or humans. Dozens of years will have to pass until the long term issues will appear. I mean these guys use to produce DDT!!! No more words needed to explain who they are and what they are. Greed Inc.

usmael
usmael

GM increase yield, reduces crop damage, and has many other agricultural applications outside of insect pesticides. It's a superior and much more precise tool  of food production than traditional plant breeding. Most of your links are part of an anti-American smear campaign trying to place the EU as the new world police.

Dozens of long-term animal feeding studies concluded that various GM crops were as safe as traditional varieties:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691511006399


The US is a world leader in technology, those in 2nd place need to get over it.

mikemoskos1
mikemoskos1

@ajkmsteph2 @mikemoskos1 A low income person can eat quite well by purchasing the raw ingredients and cooking themselves. Most of the people at my favorite farmers' market in Brownsville are far below "low income". Also, several of the farmers' markets here double EBT/food stamp dollars--$20 on the card becomes $20 in purchases via a private donor. (More of the markets that do this will open again during our growing season.) And there's nothing wrong with growing some of your own food--it may not seem like it, but the hourly payoff is high.  (I recognize that most of the poor rent their living space and landlords won't allow it, but one can grow a tray of sprouts inside.) Most of the cost of prepared food goes into transport, marketing and packaging, and in order to get the price at a point people will buy their product, the manufacturers buy the cheapest, subsidized ingredients. Ever notice how much corn and soil compose processed foods?

By the way, ajmsteph2, I'm not necessarily opposed to viralized transgenic crops. I'm more concerned with the freshness of the produce (because nutritional quality degrades quickly after picking) and what the animals ate whose milk, eggs, and meat I buy. For example, I'll pay more for animal items (principally chicken) that aren't fed soy, whether its GMO soy or the non-GMO soy that my farmer used to grow himself to supplement the chickens' diet. 

DeepFloyd
DeepFloyd

Your paycheck has Monsanto printed on the front. LOL.

ajkmsteph2
ajkmsteph2

@Farmy

yields in US are higher than EU this is deceptive as the highest yields are in new mexico under irrigation and virtual no acres.  EU is down next to obscure non producers LIKE IRAN and US produces 6 x the amount and exports a lot while the EU exports zippo to the rest of the world. IF THE EU DOESN'T BOTHER TO PRODUCE ON POOR LAND THEN THEIR AVERAGE YIELDS WILL BE HIGHER ITS NOT A CORN TO CORN COMPARISON THAT IS VALID. This is how the anti-GM try to manipulate data.  without GM traits it is well known that the EU generally inputs more into production and their germplasm is not as good simply because 50% of it (in the north its of n't even harvested as grain but as silage - the shorter the season the lower the yield grain. 

Yield (MT/HA)1Chile11.002Jordan10.003New Zealand10.004United States10.005Switzerland9.006Canada9.007Argentina8.008Egypt8.009Turkey8.0010EU-277.0011Iran, Islamic Republic Of7.0012Kyrgyzstan6.0013China

Farmy
Farmy

@ajkmsteph2

There is certainly evidence that Bt crops adversely impact bees.  For example, Quantification of toxins in a Cry1Ac + CpTI cotton cultivar and its potential effects on the honey bee Apis mellifera L. "during a 7-day oral exposure to the various treatments (transgenic, imidacloprid-treated and control), honey bee feeding behaviour was disturbed and bees consumed significantly less CCRI41 cotton pollen than in the control group in which bees were exposed to conventional cotton pollen. It may indicate an antifeedant effect of CCRI41 pollen on honey bees and thus bees may be at risk because of large areas are planted with transgenic Bt cotton"  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20700762

"we exposed bee colonies to different syrups containing Cry1Ab protoxin, deltamethrin or imidacloprid at 1000 µg/kg, 500 µg/kg and 48 µg/kg,respectively.""Concerning Cry1Ab protoxin, foraging activity decreased during and after exposure toCry1Ab protein""This suggests that different behaviours, such as communication processes leading to the recruitment to the food source, and individual learning ability expressed by the recognition of scented sites, could be differentially affected by the toxin."  http://academia.edu/1225695/Effects_of_Cry1Ab_protoxin_deltamethrin_and_imidacloprid_on_the_foraging_activity_and_the_learning_performances_of_the_honeybee_Apis_mellifera_a_comparative_approach

While Bt is used by organic farmers there are often huge differences between the synthetic cry proteins expressed by Bt crops and the natural proteins in Bt spray, which includes huge differences in the levels involved.  For example, "According to toxin quantity determined in the entire plant, the toxin level produced on the plantation area was calculated to be 1500-2000 times higher than the toxin dosage corresponding to the registered application rate of the Bt-toxin-based biopesticide DIPEL. This means that the genetically modified corn plant represents a 1500-2000 times higher load on the environment than the registered non-biotechnological toxin application rates." http://4ccr.pgr.mpf.gov.br/institucional/grupos-de-trabalho/gt-transgenicos/bibliografia/pgm-e-riscos-ambientais/Darvas,%202003,%20Acad%20Hongr.pdf

Although, I would agree that numerous factors are involved with bee populations, including pesticides produced by other biotech companies like Bayer and Syngenta.

ajkmsteph2
ajkmsteph2

@Farmy @Texano78704  more deception. GM traits were being approved by the EPA and USDA and FARMERS were planting them sometimes on 90% of their crop land. Then CA judges were blocking the harvest of the crops due to lawsuits brought against the USDA saying their procedure was wrong. The FARMER protection which is almost expired was to protect FARMERS from frivilous lawsuits submitted on procedural issues from denying FARMERS the right to harvest.  Any lawsuit that is brought on actual likely harm would not be blocked by this temporary law but don't let the facts get in the way just be fooled by the anti-GM activists who have no scruples in trying to confuse the public. It doesn't help Monsanto's production.  These lawsuits have been brought against GM alfalfa (Monsanto doesn't sell the seed (other companies do) and against GM sugar beet (monsanto does sell sugar beet seed - look at their website. The lawsuits have never ever been won by the activists - I think the sugarbeet one even went to the Supreme court

Farmy
Farmy

@usmael

Your reference is a study by primarily European biotechnologists(not toxicologists who are actually qualified to conduct this analysis) yet you talk about, "anti-American smear campaign trying to place the EU as the new world police."  Nice conspiracy theory there.  Had you actually read the studies in that reference you can see it shows the exact opposite of what you claim.  First of all, many of those studies are completely irrelevant in regards to foods humans currently consume or human health.  6 of 24 studies use varieties that are not currently approved for human consumption and some have been banned.  2 of the 18 remaining studies didn't use mammals and if you look at Table 2 the first study only looks at, "Milk composition and yield" which is not a health parameter and one was only 60 days which is not long term.  So that leaves us with 14 studies.  Out of those 14 studies 6 of them suggest increased risk of some negative effects were observed in the GE fed animals(Malatesta 2002a, 2002b, 2003, 2004, Vecchio 2004, Kilic 2008).  There are other long term studies not mentioned in your reference which suggest increased risk of some negative effects were observed in the GE fed animals.  For example, 1. A long-term toxicology study on pigs fed a combined genetically modified (GM) soy and GM maize diet  http://www.organic-systems.org/journal/81/8106.pdf  "The GM diet was associated with gastric and uterine differences in pigs. GM-fed pigs had uteri that were 25% heavier than non-GM fed pigs (p=0.025)."   2.  Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize.  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691512005637  "In females, all treated groups died 2–3 times more than controls, and more rapidly. This difference was visible in 3 male groups fed GMOs. All results were hormone and sex dependent, and the pathological pro-files were comparable. Females developed large mammary tumors almost always more often than and before controls, the pituitary was the second most disabled organ; the sex hormonal balance was modified by GMO and Roundup treatments. In treated males, liver congestions and necrosis were 2.5–5.5 times higher. This pathology was confirmed by optic and transmission electron microscopy. Marked and severe kidney nephropathies were also generally 1.3–2.3 greater. Males presented 4 times more large palpable tumors than controls which occurred up to 600 days earlier." 

3.  Histochemical and morpho-metrical study of mouse intestine epithelium after a long term diet containing genetically modified soybean http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3167318/ "in the duodenal villi of GM-fed animals, a lower amount of acidic mucins (Figure 1e, f) and sulpho-mucins (Figure 1g, h) was observed in comparison to controls.""acidic and sulpho-mucins are characterised by a higher viscosity compared to the neutral mucins, thus conferring a higher degree of protection to the intestinal surface,1 and their decrease could make the intestine less resistant to infections."    So unless you have other references it looks like 9 out of 14 relevant long term studies(most) suggest increased risk of some negative effects were observed in the GE fed animals.  Now if you look at your reference in Table 2 many of these studies only looked at a couple of health parameters.  For example, the third study states they looked at, "Aorta wall tissue", but they didn't seem to look at organs like the pancreas, liver, kidneys, etc.  So this study cannot conclude GE foods are safe it can only really conclude that no impact was observed in the aorta wall tissue.  Another issue is that in toxicology when you are suggesting something is safe you need a large test group to try to represent the population as a whole, many would suggest 50 test subjects per sex, per dose(at least 3 doses required), but 20 subjects per sex, per dose is an absolute minimum to suggest safety.  If you look through Table 2 of your reference you see that only 1 study meets the minimum requirement to suggest safety for females(Haryu 2009) and the authors didn't appear to look at the charts(the rest of the text is in Japanese) in the Sakamoto 2008 study or they would have noticed that they give the test subject numbers of around 50(slightly less because some died) so that also meets the minimum requirement to suggest safety.  The problem with both the Haryu and Sakamoto study is that they only used a single dose and Sakamoto doesn't list whether or not the Non-GE feed was contaminated or how much glyphosate was applied, etc.(at least not in the charts which is all I can read).  So we have 9 studies that suggest increased risk of some negative effects were observed in the GE fed animals and only 2 studies which suggest safety at one dose of one GE feed each(Bt11 and Soy 356043).  So your reference(and the references I added) suggest only 2 studies(not dozens) suggest only Bt11 may be safe for females at a single dose as far as the parameters observed("Growth, Gestation, milking periods, reproduction, lifespan")and 356043 may be safe for both sexes at a single dose as far as the parameters observed("Growth, Feed intake, Organ weight, Hematology, serum).  However, another minimum requirement to suggest safety is that the study be replicated using a minimum of 2 different species.  So since both the Haryu and Sakamoto study used only one species, those studies need to be replicated using a different species before they can be used as evidence to suggest safety.  So you presented no evidence by toxicological standards that GE foods can be considered safe, and your own reference suggests 6 studies(plus the 3 I added, so 9 total) suggest increased risk of some negative effects were observed in the GE fed animals.  So far the available long term evidence suggests that most GE varieties tested may pose some health risks compared to Non-GE varieties.

mikemoskos1
mikemoskos1

@ajkmsteph2 @mikemoskos1 I think I will leave my last reply as this: everything will change once the subsidies (both to farms & individuals via food stamps) can no longer be paid in full. The Feds' total liabilities stand at $222 trillion and the baby boomers have begun retiring en masse (at about 10,000 a day).  It is no longer mathematically possible to cover all the liabilities. State and local governments are in the same situation of liabilities not on the balance sheet. 

How the food system will respond is anyone's guess, but even with the subsidies intact, a lot of the existing models change as the costs of inputs--usually dictated by the price of liquid fuels--go up. Will the farmer earn enough on his crop to run the diesel irrigation pumps, is there enough to pay for pesticides or they have to be cut back, etc.  Will it still be cheaper to bring refrigerated food in from other countries? As for the midwest, it will most likely go back to cattle grazing land via Allan Savory's model of intensive rotational grazing. Most vegetables for retail sale will probably be produced within a short distance of where they are sold just as they were in the past. 

Most of today's small farmers who raise chickens are in an indentured servitude relationship with the big processors. They'll probably lose their farms and others will take over. But the new farmers will won't be interested in a system that pays them average of five cents a pound for birds they've raised from chicks to slaughter weight. They'll demand their own price.  Poultry will go back to being the Sunday dinner/special dinner meal it was in the past.  

I don't exactly how the food system will change, but my guess is that as the price of food goes up, far more people will--probably reluctantly--making meals from scratch. 

ajkmsteph2
ajkmsteph2

@mikemoskos1 @ajkmsteph2 good luck with changing the ways of those low income people around the country. I agree with you that we should not subsidize corn and soy (the growers actually don'y need the money - the big ones anyway but cut the subsidy and many small farmers will die out. Then bloggers like you will fill pages on how the small farm has been destroyed by big company farms. Vast area of the midwest will go back to nature -(good) and the lives of people there will be decimated (since they vote republican good chance of that happening).   So could they all grow nice healthy veggies - no.  You need so much land and there is not enough irrigation to guarantee production. Also the land area is full of insect, bacterial and fungal pathogens compared to CA.  So we make the central midwest into a waste land for people and push everyone to the coasts.  Great for nature bad for people. Leave the central US to the gas frackers So you pay more for chicken what about the poorer people already on food stamps?  Abortion up to  the age of 10 yrs ?  BTW what is viralized transgenic crop.  BTW there is no difference in nutritional quality of a chicken fed grain or grass.  In this country you can label a chicken pasture fed if it just looked through a window at grass a pretty useless system. of course you could allow them loose on the field and help spread the next killer bird flu even quicker (something the brits were concerned about in the last flu epidemic) but at least that is death through natural causes.  

You are correct most of cost of food is transportation -so every move to CA or Florida or near St Louis next to Monsanto !

Farmy
Farmy

@ajkmsteph2 @Farmy @Texano78704 That is a whole lot of writing just for you to admit that I am right and Monsanto will lose much more money than any individual farmer.  Monsanto helped develop the legislation to protect their profits.

ajkmsteph2
ajkmsteph2

@Farmy @ajkmsteph2 @Texano78704 the farmer loses his livelihood Monsanto loses a fraction of its profits for a year. If Monsanto couldn't produce sugar beets for a year their profits would not be affected if they couldn't produce their corn in the US they could move it to Argentina. If they really couldn't produce their seed and also Dupont couldn't then about 90% of corn seed would not be produced and only 10% of corn grain would be produced that next year.  I would love to see the organic activist take the blame for that over a technicality and lawsuit and not actual imminent danger of harm. You would see presidential and congressional actions to ensure this wouldn't happen hence a simple law to prevent the need for crisis management over a non-crisis

ajkmsteph2
ajkmsteph2

@Farmy @ajkmsteph2 @Texano78704 

A farmer buys a bag of corn seed for say $300 that plants 3 acres - the corn is produced at say 180 bushels an acre (in Illinois) and sold for $6 a bushel $1080 an acre or $3240 from a bag of seed, then they have to pay for fertilizer and land rental - the seed cost is not the highest input cost. Monsanto spends $3.5 M a day on research how do you think that gets paid for

Farmy
Farmy

@ajkmsteph2 @Farmy @Texano78704 Biotech companies make more money producing seeds than any individual farmer does selling the crop.  If a biotech company was forced to destroy their seed crops they would lose billions of dollars.  There are very few farmers(if any) that would lose billions of dollars if there crops were destroyed.  The deception appears to be on your part since Monsanto and other biotech companies have the most to lose by their seed crops being destroyed and the most to gain by the, "Monsanto Protection Act".

 
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