Biotech Giants Are Bankrolling a GMO Free-for-All

Tom Philpott brings the bad news to Mother Jones:

The so-called “Big Six” agrichemical companies—Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow Agrosciences, BASF, Bayer, and Pioneer (DuPont)—are sitting pretty. Together, they control nearly 70 percent of the global pesticide market, and essentially the entire market for genetically modified seeds. Prices of the crops they focus on—corn, soy, cotton, etc.—are soaring, pushed up by severe drought in key growing regions. Higher crop prices typically translate to increased pesticide sales as farmers have more money to spend on agrichemicals and more incentive to maximize yield.

The companies operate globally—and have gained a stronghold in that emerging center of industrial agriculture, Brazil—but the biotech-friendly US is their profit center. They’ve got a big chunk of US agriculture pretty well sewn up—their GMO seeds dominate our corn, soy and cotton crops, which account for more than 53 percent of US farmland, and have won approval for GMO alfalfa (hay), which accounts for another 19 percent. The vast annual US corn crop—which accounts for 40 percent of the globe’s corn most years—is a particular bonanza, not just for GMO seeds but also a stunning amount of insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides.

But two things could mess up the Big 6 here in the US: 1) any delay in the regulatory process for a new generation of seeds engineered for resistance to multiple herbicides; and 2) any major move to require labeling of foods containing GMOs, a requirement already in play in many other countries—including the European Union, China, Japan, and South Korea—and one for which the US public has expressed overwhelming support. Unsurprisingly, the Big 6 are investing millions of their vast profits into forestalling both of those menaces…

[continues at Mother Jones]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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6 Comments on "Biotech Giants Are Bankrolling a GMO Free-for-All"

  1. when I was a kid
    I was told one day food would be chemically enhanced nutrition pills
    I had no idea they were going to grow the pills out of the ground
    in ways that made the pill like like old-school food

    I can’t wait for this corporate cabala of crime to collapse
    and take a few billion sheeple out on the way out

  2. 6Blackie6 | Aug 6, 2012 at 9:16 pm |

    The upcoming referendum on GMO labeling in California in November will be the catalyst for huge change in the North American market. Watch for massively underhanded “lobbying” by these big
    players, but the truth will be known soon….

    • Good link and story.  Also a big proponent of going back to the old ways. If you knew all the details you would be surprised that you are preaching to the choir with me.

  3. I work at a health conscious grocery store in Washington as a manager.  I discovered recently that there are so far no GMO corn for human consumption being grown on the West Coast of the US, at least none this year.  However there is plenty being grown here for feed, fuel and high fructose corn syrup.

    I am told next year that will probably not be the case.

    • 6Blackie6 | Aug 7, 2012 at 1:33 pm |

       So, you are saying that the high fructose corn syrup is not for human consumption?

      • Good point after the Stanford University report a couple years ago it shouldn’t be.  And after I quit allowing the junk in my house I was able to end three years of Acid Reflux disease, which is not a disease at all.

        The Norwegian doctor who lives near our market has explained why that worked and what high fructose corn syrup does to us.  I share this with anyone who is interested and have helped many to get out of this destructive cycle.

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