National poll results released this week confirm that farmers across the country believe the merger of Bayer and Monsanto will be bad for farming and farm communities. As the Department of Justice considers its final decision regarding the merger, the poll demonstrates serious concern from farmers and some details about why many believe more consolidation will be harmful.
Pesticide drift is a severely underreported problem in rural, agricultural communities. And now we're in the middle of an epic summer of drift thanks to Monsanto’s new dicamba-resistant seed line, Xtend. Expanded planting of Xtend soy and cotton is leading to more spraying of the herbicide. As a result, farmers in Southern and Midwestern states are reporting extensive and debilitating crop damage from dicamba traveling from where it's applied to nearby fields.
Of the Big 6 seed and pesticide giants, there are three proposed mergers in the works: Dow with Dupont, Monsanto with Bayer, and Syngenta with ChemChina. Despite opposition from several farmer organizations, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and other anti-trust agencies around the world seem relatively unconcerned with this ever-increasing concentration in the agrichemical industry.
Does glyphosate cause cancer? That's the question Monsanto is desperately trying to prevent the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from answering. With governments around the globe recently divided on how to regulate glyphosate, Monsanto’s spin machine is in overdrive trying to discredit anyone who suggests their biggest moneymaker is toxic to human health.
Its latest target is EPA, which is currently convening a Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) to determine whether to list glyphosate as a carcinogen.
Last night, my neighborhood gathered for a community potluck. My neighbor David planned kid-friendly activities, including a piñata. He confessed to me that there was no candy inside it, only toys — he had originally bought a big bag of Tootsie Rolls, but when he read "this product made with genetic engineering" on the packaging, he decided to fill the paper maché Minion doll with trinkets instead. David looked at me incredulously: "Tootsie Rolls?!?" As in, how could something so classic include genetically engineered ingredients?
Pesticide drift is not just a health issue. It can also cause significant financial problems for farmers growing sensitive crops. This spring, PAN lobbied alongside a growing coalition of farmer organizations in Iowa to promote solutions to the economic issues presented by drift. The Iowa state legislative session just wrapped up, and it looks like a small victory for these farmers might be just around the corner.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has just been signed by all twelve participating countries. But the massive and highly controversial trade agreement still has a long and rocky road ahead before it can go into effect.
By now you may have heard that in a surprising move last month, EPA effectively pulled Enlist Duo from the market. It had only been a year since EPA approved Dow AgroSciences' controversial new pesticide product, a combination of glyphosate and 2,4-D designed to accompany the agrichemical giant’s latest genetically modified seeds.
Monsanto has really been on a roll lately — with the company's new pesticide-intensive genetically engineered (GE) crop system being approved, Obama gaining Fast Track Authority for the TPP, and the introduction of an even scarier version of the "DARK Act" to block GE labeling.
But just when we thought Monsanto was as big and bad as it could be, the agricultural giant out-Monsanto's itself. In case you missed the news, Monsanto, the largest seed company in the world, is putting in aggressive offers to acquire Syngenta, the largest pesticide company in the world. Because global domination of just one market is never enough.
Criticisms of genetically engineered (GE) food have gone mainstream lately — from Chipotle going GMO free to GE labeling bills moving forward in states across the country. But very little public attention has been given to the important crossroads we are facing right now around how GE crops get onto the market to begin with.