The Mother Of All Herbicide Marketing Plans

Roundup_herbicide_logoDow Agrosciences plans to double the trouble caused by Monsanto’s Roundup with a compelling marketing pitch to farmers. Tom Philpott reports for Mother Jones:

During the late December media lull, the USDA didn’t satisfy itself with green-lighting Monsanto’s useless, PR-centric “drought-tolerant” corn. It also prepped the way for approving a product from Monsanto’s rival Dow Agrosciences—one that industrial-scale corn farmers will likely find all too useful.

Dow has engineered a corn strain that withstands lashings of its herbicide, 2,4-D. The company’s pitch to farmers is simple: Your fields are becoming choked with weeds that have developed resistance to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. As soon as the USDA okays our product, all your problems will be solved.

At risk of sounding overly dramatic, the product seems to me to bring mainstream US agriculture to a crossroads. If Dow’s new corn makes it past the USDA and into farm fields, it will mark the beginning of at least another decade of ramped-up chemical-intensive farming of a few chosen crops (corn, soy, cotton), beholden to a handful of large agrichemical firms working in cahoots to sell ever larger quantities of poisons, environment be damned. If it and other new herbicide-tolerant crops can somehow be stopped, farming in the US heartland can be pushed toward a model based on biodiversity over monocropping, farmer skill in place of brute chemicals, and healthy food instead of industrial commodities.

Yet Dow’s pitch will likely prove quite compelling. Introduced in 1996, Roundup Ready crops now account for 94 percent of the soybean crops and upwards of 70 percent for soy and cotton, USDA figures show. The technology cut a huge chunk of work out of farming, allowing farmers to cultivate ever more massive swathes of land with less labor.

When Roundup Ready crops hit the market in the mid-1990s, farmers started applying more and more Roundup per acre.: From Mortensen, at al, “Navigating a Critical Juncture for Sustainable Weed Management,” BioScience, Jan. 2012
But by the time farmers had structured their operations around Roundup Ready and its promise of effortless weed control, the technology had begun to fail…

[continues at Mother Jones]

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  • Anarchy Pony

    Then we get even stronger weeds. Are these fucks so stupid that they never learn?

    • Mr Willow

      Yes. 

      Or they just consider all the money they’re making on selling their poisons more important than the long term effects they will have on the environment to which they are exposed. 

      Short term profits, long term misery. 

      • Anarchy Pony

        Yes well, profit motive and all that.

        • Mr Willow

          The only motive there is. 

          • Anarchy Pony

            In the world we have built for ourselves anyway.

          • Mr Willow

            Yeah. 

            Here’s hoping for a better world. 

          • Anarchy Pony

            Well don’t look at Weyland-Yutani.

  • Uneducated Conservative

    If we had slaves to manually remove the weeds, this wouldn’t be an issue.

  • Choodyhoobabadas

    The potential up side to this is that someone like Dow might just cause Monsanto to take legal steps to protect itself from such competition. Such steps could backfire and create an opportunity for legislation and control of GMOs.

    • HoboDeiter

      They are working together

  • D.D.B.

    I wish that all farmers would just read one study.

    http://www.cornucopia.org/2011/09/study-debunks-myths-on-organic-farms/

    It’s so simple and affordable, clean and safe! But how to reach them all?

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