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looks like three slam dunks for Monsanto in a single month

a little more on Monsanto & Haiti. apparently the seeds Monsanto donated last year were Terminator seeds.

I appreciated Sanpaku's post upthread about how they backed down on Terminator after the uproar & how they're now illegal in India & Brazil, but they are illegal there now only in response to this:

Diminished yields, health problems and weakened prospects to buy the next season's seeds in consequence of and combined with that binding contract with Monsanto have driven many rural farmers to poverty, and subsequently led to a rash of farmer suicides in rural India. Since 1997, more than 182,936 Indian farmers have committed suicide, according to a recent study by the National Crime Records Bureau. "As seed saving is prevented by patents as well as by the engineering of seeds with non-renewable traits, seed has to be bought for every planting season by poor peasants. A free resource available on farms became a commodity which farmers were forced to buy every year. This increases poverty and leads to indebtedness. As debts increase and become unpayable, farmers are compelled to sell kidneys or even commit suicide," Indian author Vandana Shiva noted in her 2004 article "The Suicide Economy Of Corporate Globalisation."

I don't mean to sound like a Luddite, really don't, so I'm all for Jeff or the other posters working for GMO companies starting more of a pushback instead of me just compiling the tired old arguments. Would simply love to hear conversation on this subject in more places in general, really.

Milton Parker, Tuesday, 15 February 2011 23:19 (six years ago) Permalink

Jeff, Tuesday, 1 March 2011 20:12 (six years ago) Permalink

good, thanks

Milton Parker, Tuesday, 1 March 2011 20:38 (six years ago) Permalink

eight months pass...

Michael Hart, a conventional livestock family farmer, has been farming in Cornwall for nearly thirty years and has actively campaigned on behalf of family farmers for over fifteen years, travelling extensively in Europe, India, Canada and the USA.

In this short documentary he investigates the reality of farming genetically modified crops in the USA ten years after their introduction. He travels across the US interviewing farmers and other specialists about their experiences of growing GM

john. a resident of chicago., Sunday, 13 November 2011 16:14 (six years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

As a teaser, I quote here the first two sentences:

"Chinese researchers have found small pieces of ribonucleic acid (RNA) in the blood and organs of humans who eat rice. The Nanjing University-based team showed that this genetic material will bind to proteins in human liver cells and influence the uptake of cholesterol from the blood."

It goes on from there, obv.

Aimless, Tuesday, 10 January 2012 02:32 (five years ago) Permalink

One response to that article:

Jeff, Tuesday, 10 January 2012 02:58 (five years ago) Permalink

I sympathize with that scientist's frustration with the bad analogies and the way it blows an unsubstantiated fear into what reads like a factual headline. It's fear-mongering and not completely rational.

So, nothing has been proven by this article in terms of danger. But her metaphor that this study is simply 'opening a door' for other people to follow up on doesn't rest well either -- the entire reason why most of the article isn't devoted to the study, but to underlining Monsanto's reliance on substantial equivalence to evade FDA testing, is to suggest that this open door complicates the entire concept of 'substantial equivalence'? I admittedly don't understand all the science, and I appreciate you sending these linked rebuttals -- anti-Monsanto sentiment is too often just sentimental horror at the idea of food being tampered with, but one can find plenty of reasons not to trust them

Milton Parker, Tuesday, 10 January 2012 03:25 (five years ago) Permalink

Honestly, as much as I'd like to, it's really hard to defend many of the actions of Monsanto. They have made some great breakthroughs in ag science, but like many people have mentioned, the dubious business practices certainly have tainted that. I know there are many well meaning scientists that work for them, that are true interested in the betterment of agriculture, but don't agree with the business practices. It sucks that Monsanto is the biggest game in town and are the only ones with the massive amount of money to throw at R&D. And they are the only ones with enough money to deal with all the regulation of the R&D of genetically engineered plants. Some argue that deregulation is the best way to combat this, because the little guys just can't deal with it (I know wacky idea, and not one I entirely agree with).

You're right with your last point about the anti-Monsanto sentiment and it's that sentiment that drives me nutso. People treat food as sacred and think that the alteration of it seems intrinsically wrong.

Jeff, Wednesday, 11 January 2012 15:53 (five years ago) Permalink

well -- I am certainly up for this research being done. but if there's anything should be treated as sacred, it is food. the scientists I talk to usually understand the depth of what they're doing, and the managers who risk-assess QA of their work under profit constraints usually don't

i.e. I usually trust the scientists; I don't trust this company

Milton Parker, Wednesday, 11 January 2012 21:48 (five years ago) Permalink

as much as I'd like to

why would you like to defend Monsanto

locally sourced stabbage (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 11 January 2012 22:03 (five years ago) Permalink

fwiw I'm not against the intersection of science and food (my grandfather was this guy but Monsanto's motives as a corporation are 100% suspect

locally sourced stabbage (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 11 January 2012 22:07 (five years ago) Permalink

this is probably known to most people reading the thread, but even if you ignore GMOs entirely, Monsanto is just a terrible, terrible, terrible monster:

-* Headquartered near St. Louis, Missouri, the Monsanto Chemical Company was founded in 1901. Monsanto became a leading manufacturer of sulfuric acid and other industrial chemicals in the 1920s. In the 1930s, Monsanto began producing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). PCBs, widely used as lubricants, hydraulic fluids, cutting oils, waterproof coatings and liquid sealants, are potent carcinogens and have been implicated in reproductive, developmental and immune system disorders.
  • The world’s center of PCB manufacturing was Monsanto’s plant on the outskirts of East St. Louis, Illinois, which has the highest rate of fetal death and immature births in the state. By 1982, nearby Times Beach, Missouri, was found to be so thoroughly contaminated with dioxin, a by-product of PCB manufacturing, that the government ordered it evacuated. Dioxins are endocrine and immune system disruptors, cause congenital birth defects, reproductive and developmental problems, and increase the incidence of cancer, heart disease and diabetes in laboratory animals.
  • By the 1940s, Monsanto had begun focusing on plastics and synthetic fabrics like polystyrene (still widely used in food packaging and other consumer products), which is ranked fifth in the EPA’s 1980s listing of chemicals whose production generates the most total hazardous waste.
  • During World War II, Monsanto played a significant role in the Manhattan Project to develop the atom bomb.
  • Following the war, Monsanto championed the use of chemical pesticides in agriculture, and began manufacturing the herbicide 2,4,5-T, which contains dioxin. -* Monsanto has been accused of covering up or failing to report dioxin contamination in a wide range of its products.
  • The herbicide “Agent Orange,” used by U.S. military forces as a defoliant during the Vietnam War, was a mixture of 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D and had very high concentrations of dioxin. U.S. Vietnam War veterans have suffered from a host of debilitating symptoms attributable to Agent Orange exposure, and since the end of the war an estimated 500,000 Vietnamese children have been born with deformities.
  • In the 1970s, Monsanto began manufacturing the herbicide Roundup, which has been marketed as a safe, general-purpose herbicide for widespread commercial and consumer use, even though its key ingredient, glyphosate, is a highly toxic poison for animals and humans. In 1997, The New York State Attorney General took Monsanto to court and Monsanto was subsequently forced to stop claiming that Roundup is “biodegradable” and “environmentally friendly.”
  • Monsanto has been repeatedly fined and ruled against for, among many things, mislabeling containers of Roundup, failing to report health data to EPA, and chemical spills and improper chemical deposition. In 1995, Monsanto ranked fifth among U.S. corporations in EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory, having discharged 37 million pounds of toxic chemicals into the air, land, water and underground.
  • Since the inception of Plan Colombia in 2000, the US has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in funding aerial sprayings of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicides in Colombia. The Roundup is often applied in concentrations 26 times higher than what is recommended for agricultural use. Additionally, it contains at least one surfactant, Cosmo-Flux 411f, whose ingredients are a trade secret, has never been approved for use in the US, and which quadruples the biological action of the herbicide.
  • Not surprisingly, numerous human health impacts have been recorded in the areas affected by the sprayings, including respiratory, gastrointestinal and skin problems, and even death, especially in children. Additionally, fish and animals will show up dead in the hours and days subsequent to the herbicide sprayings.
  • In the 1980s and early 1990s, Monsanto was behind the aggressive promotion of synthetic Bovine Growth Hormone, approved by the FDA for commercial sale in 1994, despite strong concerns about its safety. Since then, Monsanto has sued small dairy companies that advertised their products as free of the artificial hormone, most recently bringing a lawsuit against Oakhurst Dairy in Maine.
  • In August, 2003, Monsanto and its former chemical subsidiary, Solutia, Inc. (now owned by Pharmacia Corp.), agreed to pay $600 million to settle claims brought by more than 20,000 residents of Anniston, AL, over the severe contamination of ground and water by tons of PCBs dumped in the area from the 1930s until the 1970s. Court documents revealed that Monsanto was aware of the contamination decades earlier.

your pain is probably equal (Z S), Wednesday, 11 January 2012 22:07 (five years ago) Permalink

Their business model wrt gm plants is incredibly sleazy, too, regardless of the ecological effects

Do you know what the secret of comity is? (Michael White), Wednesday, 11 January 2012 22:12 (five years ago) Permalink

why would you like to defend Monsanto

― locally sourced stabbage (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, January 11, 2012 5:03 PM (21 minutes ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

yeah i had this exact question....

tyga mother (J0rdan S.), Wednesday, 11 January 2012 22:25 (five years ago) Permalink

For fun and profit.

Jeff, Wednesday, 11 January 2012 22:38 (five years ago) Permalink

Monsanto sucks in a lot of ways but the "tinkering with nature" hysteria is really tiresome. Most of the (non-GMO) plants and animals we eat have already been aberrations to "nature" for hundreds or thousands of years thanks to selective breeding.

Oh shit, that's my bone! (Hurting 2), Wednesday, 11 January 2012 22:56 (five years ago) Permalink

Even if I didn't mind tampering with my food, Monsanto would be the last entity I'd want touching it.

*tera, Wednesday, 11 January 2012 22:56 (five years ago) Permalink


puff puff post (uh oh I'm having a fantasy), Wednesday, 11 January 2012 22:58 (five years ago) Permalink

Some argue that deregulation is the best way to combat this, because the little guys just can't deal with it (I know wacky idea, and not one I entirely agree with).

Monsanto doesn't think it's a wacky idea!

Milton Parker, Thursday, 12 January 2012 00:27 (five years ago) Permalink

Not only was it exposed that the U.S. is threatening nations who oppose Monsanto with military-style trade wars, but that many U.S. diplomats actually work directly for Monsanto.

In 2007 it was requested that specific nations inside the European Union be punished for not supporting the expansion of Monsanto's GMO crops. The request for such measures to be taken was made by Craig Stapleton, the United States ambassador to France and partner to George W. Bush. Despite mounting evidence linking Monsanto's GM corn to organ damage and environmental devastation, the ambassador plainly calls for 'target retaliation' against those not supporting the GM crop. In the leaked documents, Stapleton states:

"Country team Paris recommends that we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU since this is a collective responsibility, but that also focuses in part on the worst culprits. The list should be measured rather than vicious and must be sustainable over the long term, since we should not expect an early victory. Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voices."

Milton Parker, Monday, 23 January 2012 19:49 (five years ago) Permalink

I know it's not the main problem being addressed in this article, but I've seen the organ damage study referenced a lot. Just to refute that, here is one scientist's take on the problems with the study and conclusions reached:

Trade wars, government corrupt, environmental devastation, sure, I wouldn't put it past them. But organ damage from GMO corn, not likely.

Jeff, Monday, 23 January 2012 20:43 (five years ago) Permalink

Not that this is a totally reassuring thought, but if there was a food product introduced into the mainstream food supply -- one that, in fact, was found in almost EVERYTHING we eat -- and it caused organ failure, wouldn't you see a sudden and alarming rise in organ failure?

frogBaSeball (Hurting 2), Monday, 23 January 2012 20:45 (five years ago) Permalink



though the last three paragraphs are hardly reassuring

Milton Parker, Tuesday, 24 January 2012 01:05 (five years ago) Permalink

there was an essay i remember reading in one of those alt-collections from the 90s (i think) - either Apocalypse Culture or Amok Journal or something like that - about how the invention of agriculture ruined human society. does anyone else know of this?

this was prob Jared Diamond?

i love pinfold cricket (gbx), Tuesday, 24 January 2012 01:31 (five years ago) Permalink

it's a common anti-civ talking point, see Derrick Jensen, John Zerzan, Chellis Glendinning, etc. Diamond would fit in there as well.

sleeve, Tuesday, 24 January 2012 01:34 (five years ago) Permalink

I mean he wrote a lil piece that had exactly that as its thesis.

i love pinfold cricket (gbx), Tuesday, 24 January 2012 01:35 (five years ago) Permalink


i love pinfold cricket (gbx), Tuesday, 24 January 2012 01:37 (five years ago) Permalink

I'm sure this guy is an evil tool head but it's hard to defend raw milk. Seriously.

Jeff, Sunday, 5 February 2012 23:11 (five years ago) Permalink

I'm trying to be careful with what I post to this thread, because for whatever reason the anti-Monsanto sentiment is already at fever pitch right now; countless FB posts with a lot of false information (Monsanto owns Blackwater), old information or hyperbole (whole foods)

But cracking down on the Amish with armed raids for selling their own milk seems a little extreme?

Milton Parker, Sunday, 5 February 2012 23:17 (five years ago) Permalink

Actually I'll back down on this one a bit, reading up on the raw milk craze of the last ten years. I don't suspect these kinds of raids as base acts of removing the competition, but if they really are pulling guns on the Amish, that does seem like an overreaction

Milton Parker, Sunday, 5 February 2012 23:37 (five years ago) Permalink

True, agree. Just ask them nicely to hand it over.

Jeff, Sunday, 5 February 2012 23:48 (five years ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

my 4-5 facebook friends who occasionally post about chemtrails are all about the Mansato hate right now

Big Mr. Guess U.S.A. Champion (crüt), Thursday, 1 March 2012 08:03 (five years ago) Permalink

also Monsanto

Big Mr. Guess U.S.A. Champion (crüt), Thursday, 1 March 2012 08:05 (five years ago) Permalink

Gus Mansanto

I have one thing to say: "Roxanne Shanté" (Stevie D(eux)), Thursday, 1 March 2012 14:13 (five years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Monsanto, the massive biotechnology company being blamed for contributing to the dwindling bee population, has bought up one of the leading bee collapse research organizations. Recently banned from Poland with one of the primary reasons being that the company’s genetically modified corn may be devastating the dying bee population, it is evident that Monsanto is under serious fire for their role in the downfall of the vital insects. It is therefore quite apparent why Monsanto bought one of the largest bee research firms on the planet.

Milton Parker, Monday, 23 April 2012 21:57 (five years ago) Permalink

The most recent Harvard study linked Bee Colony Collapse Disorder to imidacloprid - a pesticide. Not corn or corn syrup. The pesticide can be transmitted via corn syrup or pollen the report said. Nothing to do with genetically modified corn. This story got changed somewhat to "Pesticide-laden corn syrup lead to CCD" which not what the study demonstrated.

I don't know of a credible report that links CCD to genetically modified corn. Anyone?

everything, Monday, 23 April 2012 22:37 (five years ago) Permalink

By the way, when I said "this got changed somewhat" I mean some websites who report on environmental issues reported it that way and it got passed around Facebook etc like that.

everything, Monday, 23 April 2012 22:39 (five years ago) Permalink

eleven months pass...

what is the deal with the "Monsanto Protection Act"? Seeing this phrase on facebook, but

SEC. 735. In the event that a determination of non-regulated
status made pursuant to section 411 of the Plant Protection Act
is or has been invalidated or vacated, the Secretary of Agriculture
shall, notwithstanding any other provision of law, upon request
by a farmer, grower, farm operator, or producer, immediately grant
temporary permit(s) or temporary deregulation in part, subject to
necessary and appropriate conditions consistent with section 411(a)
or 412(c) of the Plant Protection Act, which interim conditions
shall authorize the movement, introduction, continued cultivation,
commercialization and other specifically enumerated activities and
requirements, including measures designed to mitigate or minimize
potential adverse environmental effects, if any, relevant to the
Secretary’s evaluation of the petition for non-regulated status, while
ensuring that growers or other users are able to move, plant,
cultivate, introduce into commerce and carry out other authorized
activities in a timely manner: Provided, That all such conditions
shall be applicable only for the interim period necessary for the
Secretary to complete any required analyses or consultations related
to the petition for non-regulated status: Provided further, That
nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting the Secretary’s
authority under section 411, 412 and 414 of the Plant Protection

how's life, Wednesday, 27 March 2013 19:50 (four years ago) Permalink

what are barack obama's flaws?

THIZZ VAN LEER @_@ (lpz), Thursday, 28 March 2013 04:47 (four years ago) Permalink

he's so perfect that he intimidates everyone else

your holiness, we have an official energy drink (Z S), Thursday, 28 March 2013 23:20 (four years ago) Permalink

it's possible that he cares TOO much. also, sometimes he may be a little too good at doing things, which can discourage those around him who feel that they cannot "keep up". sometimes, arguably, he works too hard - again, intimidating his co-workers.

your holiness, we have an official energy drink (Z S), Thursday, 28 March 2013 23:22 (four years ago) Permalink

I can't form a rational opinion about this issue because I find the anti-GMO crowd to be obscenely obnoxious

Heyman (crüt), Thursday, 28 March 2013 23:36 (four years ago) Permalink

yeah there's something about the GMO panic crowd that seems just like two notches more sane than the anti-vaccine crowd (and there's obvious overlap) and that prejudices me. I'm mistrustful of monsanto, but I also feel kind of like "Ok, make a case for me WHY it would be dangerous to take a gene from one species and put it in a different species." Like "we don't know all the potential effects" isn't a good enough argument. I have no fucking idea what will happen if I mix my dish soap with some tomato juice, baking soda and pepto bismol and put it in the microwave for 30 seconds, but that doesn't mean I have a good reason to believe it would be dangerous.

i've a cozy little flat in what is known as old man hat (Hurting 2), Friday, 29 March 2013 00:54 (four years ago) Permalink

p sure that the reason monsanto is bad has more to do with hugeness.

big farming:gmo panic::big pharma:vaccine panic

well if it isn't old 11 cameras simon (gbx), Friday, 29 March 2013 00:55 (four years ago) Permalink

yeah I am on board with the antitrust and IP concerns, but the "Monsanto Protection Act" seems to be more about food safety fears that don't strike me as warranted.

I found this:

very sorry for linking to anything called "skeptical libertarian" but it's the first site I've found that actually gets into the details of what the legislation actually does, and their analysis mostly sounds convincing

i've a cozy little flat in what is known as old man hat (Hurting 2), Friday, 29 March 2013 01:05 (four years ago) Permalink

I can't form a rational opinion about this issue because I find the anti-GMO crowd to be obscenely obnoxious

― Heyman (crüt), Thursday, March 28, 2013 11:36 PM (Yesterday) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

otm, otm for everything tbh

mister borges (darraghmac), Friday, 29 March 2013 01:08 (four years ago) Permalink

just wanted to belatedly respond to the above post

The most recent Harvard study linked Bee Colony Collapse Disorder to imidacloprid - a pesticide. Not corn or corn syrup. The pesticide can be transmitted via corn syrup or pollen the report said. Nothing to do with genetically modified corn. This story got changed somewhat to "Pesticide-laden corn syrup lead to CCD" which not what the study demonstrated.

I don't know of a credible report that links CCD to genetically modified corn. Anyone?

― everything, Monday, April 23, 2012 10:37 PM (11 months ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

If it wasn't clear, I was not trying to link CCD directly to genetically modified corn. Of course, use of imidacloprid has increased dramatically with the global marketing of Monsanto's Roundup + Roundup Ready GMO product chain over the last ~15 years.

The European Union has proposed to ban their use on crops frequented by bees. Some researchers have concluded that neonicotinoids caused extensive die-offs in Germany and France.

Neonicotinoids are hardly the beekeepers’ only concern. Herbicide use has grown as farmers have adopted crop varieties, from corn to sunflowers, that are genetically modified to survive spraying with weedkillers. Experts say some fungicides have been laced with regulators that keep insects from maturing, a problem some beekeepers have reported.

Eric Mussen, an apiculturist at the University of California, Davis, said analysts had documented about 150 chemical residues in pollen and wax gathered from beehives.

“Where do you start?” Dr. Mussen said. “When you have all these chemicals at a sublethal level, how do they react with each other? What are the consequences?”

Experts say nobody knows. But Mr. Adee, who said he had long scorned environmentalists’ hand-wringing about such issues, said he was starting to wonder whether they had a point.

Of the “environmentalist” label, Mr. Adee said: “I would have been insulted if you had called me that a few years ago. But what you would have called extreme — a light comes on, and you think, ‘These guys really have something. Maybe they were just ahead of the bell curve.’”

Milton Parker, Friday, 29 March 2013 18:28 (four years ago) Permalink

Companies are probably right to fear a critical mass of people who don't know what they are talking about.

hmm I would think this is their bread and butter tbh

Οὖτις, Friday, 22 May 2015 20:27 (two years ago) Permalink

I'm not arguing in Monsanto's favour by any means but the ability of the internet to force change through the spreading of panic is something companies can legitimately complain about. I'm as sceptical of Monsanto as anyone but I'd rather the debate was around the credible science / politics of GMOs than the chemtrails-type fearmongering that seems to have taken over. It might be the right result for the wrong reasons in this case but idk if that is always going to be true.

Petite Lamela (ShariVari), Friday, 22 May 2015 20:39 (two years ago) Permalink

that's a fair point, thanks for clarification

sleeve, Friday, 22 May 2015 20:42 (two years ago) Permalink

conflating Monsanto and GMO is problematic imo, even if they have been on the breaking edge of the wave

ultimate american sock (mh), Friday, 22 May 2015 20:45 (two years ago) Permalink

yes, definitely, my issue is with the patenting and the lawsuits

sleeve, Friday, 22 May 2015 20:51 (two years ago) Permalink

any particular lawsuits? science patents are pretty fucked across the board, imo

ultimate american sock (mh), Friday, 22 May 2015 20:54 (two years ago) Permalink

I'm against the entire legal principle that allows the patenting of a genetic code

Οὖτις, Friday, 22 May 2015 20:58 (two years ago) Permalink


same story, different article:

The company is notorious for suing those farmers when their non-GMO crops become contaminated by GMOs growing in nearby fields.

sleeve, Friday, 22 May 2015 21:05 (two years ago) Permalink

The Bowman case is interesting in that it is kind of a self-defeating move and was done almost completely as trolling. iirc he had previously purchased seed, signed the contracts involved with that seed, and then decided he was going to be clever and try to get something for free, and in fact rub it in the face of the people who sold him the original seed. I can't vouch for the completeness of this article, but it gets into the fact that he was a licensee who was trying to get around a license he signed:

I think the legislation, as-is, is problematic although the public understanding of plant breeding is more so. If hybrid maize was saved and planted year-over-year, you'd have a completely different crop than originally planted -- hybrids do not breed true. I'm less versed with the soy end of things (as is the industry, as soy is a distant second as far as planted acres go), but I believe the same holds true.

It's worth noting that the last article isn't about Monsanto suing anyone -- it's about a group preemptively suing Monsanto. It's also inconsistent in that they start out with

The company is notorious for suing those farmers when their non-GMO crops become contaminated by GMOs growing in nearby fields.

and later state
The judge dismissed the case on the grounds that none of the plaintiffs had actually been sued by Monsanto and therefore their reasons were "unsubstantiated."

while failing to cite a single case of Monsanto suing a farmer for having a field that has picked up GMO traits via cross-pollination.

ultimate american sock (mh), Friday, 22 May 2015 21:33 (two years ago) Permalink

yeah, that might be repeating misinformation from the Saskatchewan case. that's what I get for a cursory search.

you are correct abt hybrids not breeding true, I think that is the case for all crops

sleeve, Friday, 22 May 2015 21:44 (two years ago) Permalink

fwiw, Monsanto's background in crop biotech is illuminating as far as their motives go

Until the 80s, they were pretty much completely a chemical company, but (as several companies did) they decided that biotechnology was going to be huge and started tinkering with plant genetics in the 80s. They didn't really bring anything to market until the mid-90s, at which point they licensed the technology to many companies, and got into the maize business. That was in 1996 -- they didn't actually own any means of commercial production before then, afaik.

Following that, they bought as many of the mid-sized maize seed companies as they could. Others have been bought or merged into other corporations. As far as mass industrial feed stock goes, the majority is Roundup Ready seed.

ultimate american sock (mh), Friday, 22 May 2015 21:45 (two years ago) Permalink

a better article, which notes that many farmers settle because they can't afford to go to court:

sleeve, Friday, 22 May 2015 21:48 (two years ago) Permalink

What I know from friends/family involved in farming (of the corn variety) and what I've heard in my professional career, you can break down the corn industry like this:

  • Small growers, low acreage: No real net positive for buying expensive seed. They use the same seed year-over-year, or more likely just buy something cheap and local. If they own equipment it's old or small-scale. Pretty unsophisticated as far as chemicals go (you see bugs, you spray for bugs?)
  • Mid-sized growers: Might own some of their own equipment, might rent out or pay teams to come harvest/spray. Real entry level for the high-end seed, more likely to take shortcuts, very interested in whatever it takes to get better yield. Unsophisticated about chemicals, but can afford them.
  • Large-scale operations: Own large tracts of contiguous land, tens of thousands of acres. Own really expensive equipment. Precision agriculture, including yield monitoring by location, fertilizer and chemical application appropriate down to the acre. Probably have drones flying over their fields.
The large scale ones, while they're using tons of land and probably not doing the crop rotation they should, are most likely not the ones screwing up the water table or patent-trolling seed companies. They're too busy trying to optimize every planted acre. They aren't going to play loose with regulations -- if they don't personally have an agronomist on staff, they are provided agronomy services by at least one of the companies they work with. They're the ones who make sure to plant the refuge area in their field -- the non-biotech crops with no insect resistance to make sure tolerant bugs don't become dominant. There are in-bag refuge products where 20% of the seed complies, but the mid-sized growers might get greedy and not plant it.

ultimate american sock (mh), Friday, 22 May 2015 21:57 (two years ago) Permalink

that VF article kind of shows the way they are being assclowns, though -- afaik, they hire jerks to lurk around farms that have signed a license agreement, wait for them to plant seed that wasn't purchased under that agreement but has patented traits, and then drop paperwork

ultimate american sock (mh), Friday, 22 May 2015 22:03 (two years ago) Permalink

the fact that their goons can't even tell which farmer (or store owner) is which is kind of the prime indicator that they don't give a shit about farmers, even while they're buying up seed companies

ultimate american sock (mh), Friday, 22 May 2015 22:05 (two years ago) Permalink

corn farming is so fucking weird these days. there's a yearly show called the "f4rm progress show" that bounces between Iowa and Illinois and the weirdest moment, attending it probably six or so years ago, was seeing a machine that was planting seed in a field at a precise depth that varied by that square foot's soil conditions, ground temperature, etc. followed by a FFA kid in high school with messed up teeth asking me if I could grab a free sample of chaw for him from this chewing tobacco booth

ultimate american sock (mh), Friday, 22 May 2015 22:18 (two years ago) Permalink

I think Monsanto will even sue farmers who have genetically modified seeds blow into their land without even planting it on purpose

panettone for the painfully alone (mayor jingleberries), Friday, 22 May 2015 22:27 (two years ago) Permalink

uh we just went over that case

Οὖτις, Friday, 22 May 2015 22:29 (two years ago) Permalink

They haven't, iirc, although people will constantly claim they have

ultimate american sock (mh), Friday, 22 May 2015 22:31 (two years ago) Permalink

there has been at least one high-profile misunderstanding of that:

All claims relating to Roundup Ready canola in Schmeiser's 1997 canola crop were dropped prior to trial and the court only considered the canola in Schmeiser's 1998 fields. Regarding his 1998 crop, Schmeiser did not put forward any defence of accidental contamination.

however, the Oregon wheat case referred to above seems to have been the result of accidental contamination - but afaik nobody is being sued there.

sleeve, Friday, 22 May 2015 22:31 (two years ago) Permalink

If you're curious and/or a complete masochist, page 32 of this pdf appears to be the 2015 technology use agreement:

ultimate american sock (mh), Friday, 22 May 2015 22:37 (two years ago) Permalink

yes, definitely, my issue is with the patenting and the lawsuits

― sleeve, Friday, May 22, 2015 4:51 PM (2 hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

right and i won't begrudge that, but this revive was about a food company ditching GMO ingredients. different issue

k3vin k., Friday, 22 May 2015 23:42 (two years ago) Permalink

chipotle is full of shit, I go into there and wear a little towel over my eyes as if I was eating an ortolan, so as to not see the "gmo free" banner

ultimate american sock (mh), Friday, 22 May 2015 23:44 (two years ago) Permalink

I know a few beekeepers, and most of the concern I see about Monsanto/GMOs is about the effect on bee populations from using additional pesticide. Can anyone point to a good, solid article that defends against this?

cause baby, now we got dad bod (how's life), Friday, 22 May 2015 23:50 (two years ago) Permalink

The bee issue is complex and most likely related to insecticides, if there is a link. I know a single study was about honeybee confusion in presence of glyphosate (a herbicide), but that was in isolation and was fairly circumstantial. There's a stronger case for neonicotinoids (a seed treatment, which a seed is coated in, in order to avoid predation of the seed and seedlings) being toxic to bees, but I am not aware of any evidence that it happens when used as intended.

There is a case in Europe where a field was planted with a neonicotinoid treatment that was powdered, it was windy, and it blew on to a neighboring field that was pollinating. Pretty atypical, not how that pesticide is recommended to be used.

The "articles that defend against" policy is kind of one of those "can you show an article saying you didn't beat your wife?" things. I think there might be something messing with honeybees, but every agriculture chemical-based argument I've read is usually a petition saying "ban neonicotinoids and glyphosate and save the bees!"

ultimate american sock (mh), Saturday, 23 May 2015 00:06 (two years ago) Permalink

also worth noting that people throw neonicotinoids under the weird GMO umbrella (and under the Monsanto thread!) when it's just a nicotine-like chemical

fwiw original Roundup (glyphosate) isn't under patent anymore and you can buy it generically.

also, the glyphosate tolerance gene? for soybeans, it's no longer under patent. it's expired elsewhere, but as of this year, it's open in the US

ultimate american sock (mh), Saturday, 23 May 2015 00:13 (two years ago) Permalink

yeah it is my understanding that a lot of nicotine-based pesticides actually qualify for organic certification.

I will try to look up some good links for the neonicotinoid/bee issue, it's been talked about a lot in the Willamette valley lately.

sleeve, Saturday, 23 May 2015 00:41 (two years ago) Permalink

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