– Attack of the Monsanto Superinsects (Mother Jones, Aug. 30, 2011):
Over the past decade and a half, as Monsanto built up its globe-spanning, multi-billion-dollar genetically modified seed empire, it made two major pitches to farmers.
The first involved weeds. Leave the weed management to us, Monsanto insisted. We’ve engineered plants that can survive our very own herbicide. Just pay up for our patented, premium-priced seeds, spray your fields with our Roundup herbicide whenever the fancy strikes, and—voilà!—no more weeds.
The second involved crop-eating insects. We’ve isolated the toxic gene of a commonly used bacterial pesticide called Bt, Monsanto announced, and spliced it directly into crops. Along with corn and soy, you will literally be growing the pesticide that protects them. Plant our seeds, and watch your crops thrive while their pests shrivel and die.
Monsanto focused its technology on three widely planted, highly subsidized crops: corn, soy, and cotton. Large-scale farmers of these commodities, always operating on razor-thin profit margins, lunged at the chance to streamline their operations by essentially outsourcing their pest management to Monsanto. And so Monsanto’s high-tech crops essentially took over the corn/soy- and cotton-growing regions of the country.
But now the pitches are wearing thin. Dumping a single herbicide onto millions of acres of farmland has, predictably enough, given rise to weeds resistant to that herbicide. Such “superweeds” are now galloping through cotton and corn country, forcing farmers to resort to highly toxic herbicide cocktails and even hand-weeding. More than 11 million acres are infested with Roundup-resistant weeds, up from 2.4 million acres in 2007, reckons Penn State University weed expert David Mortensen.
And now insects are developing resistance to Monsanto’s insecticide-infused crops, reports the Wall Street Journal. Fields planted in Monsanto’s Bt corn in some areas of the Midwest are showing damage from the corn rootworm—the very species targeted by Monsanto’s engineered trait. An Iowa State University scientist has conclusively identified Bt-resistant root worms in four Iowa fields, the Journal reports.
The findings are not likely isolated to those fields—just like spotting a cockroach on your kitchen floor probably signals an infestation, not that a lone cockroach randomly stumbled in for a visit. Sure enough, farmers in Illinois are also seeing severe rootworm damage in fields planted in Monsanto’s Bt corn. And it’s not just in the United States: In 2010, Monsanto itself acknowledged that in industrial-agriculture regions of India, where Monsanto’s Bt cotton is a dominant crop, a cotton-attacking pest called the bollworm had developed resistance.
Just as Roundup-resistant superweeds rapidly bloomed into a major problem after first appearing in the mid-2000s, Bt-resistant superinsects may be just getting started. Colleen Scherer, managing editor of the industrial-ag trade magazine Ag Professional, put it like this: “There is no ‘putting the genie back in the bottle,’ and resistance in these areas is a problem that won’t go away.”
So what does all of this mean for Monsanto? If its main attraction for farmers—the promise of easy pest management—is turning to dust in a quite public way, should we expect the company be on the verge of getting crushed under the weight of its failures?
To get a glimpse of how the publicly traded company is faring, I looked at how its stock has been performing over the past year, compared to the broader stock market. Early Monday afternoon, Monsanto’s shares were trading at about $71—a more than 25 percent gain over the past 12 months. Over the same period, the S&P 500—a broad gauge of US stocks—is up just over 10 percent. That means investors have high hopes for Monsanto going forward, despite the high-profile failures. Like weeds and bugs in farm fields, Monsanto shares have developed resistance to toxic tidings.
What gives? The Wall Street Journal article provides a clue:
The [Bt-resistance] finding adds fuel to the race among crop biotechnology rivals to locate the next generation of genes that can protect plants from insects. Scientists at Monsanto and Syngenta AG of Basel, Switzerland, are already researching how to use a medical breakthrough called RNA interference to, among other things, make crops deadly for insects to eat. If this works, a bug munching on such a plant could ingest genetic code that turns off one of its essential genes.
In other words, Monsanto claims it has the answer to the trouble it’s cooking up on corn, soy, and cotton fields: more patent-protected GM technology. It has managed to shove US farmers on a kind of accelerating treadmill: the need to apply ever more, and ever more novel, high-tech responses to keep up with ever-evolving pests. And while farmers run ever faster to stay in place, Monsanto just keeps coming up with highly profitable “solutions” to the problems it has generated.
Investors have embraced Monsanto’s pitch. Large-scale farmers, battered and desperate for relief, probably will too. But the broader citizenry, in the form of the regulatory agencies that ostensibly guard the public interest, should start asking hard questions.
More information on GMOs:
GM food alters your DNA, changes your brain waves, destroys your immune system, your organs and makes you infertile.
– Monsanto And The Mortal Danger To Traditional Agriculture
– Monsanto To Sell GM Sweet Corn In The U.S.
– GE Alfalfa Planting Brought To You By Incompetence
– Food, Inc. (Full Documentary)
– Farmer To Farmer: The Truth About GMO Crops (Documentary)
– Coming In 2012: Genetically Modified Front Lawns And The Mass Spraying Of Neighborhoods And Playgrounds With RoundUp
– The Worlds Largest Human Experiment: GMO’s In Europe – Why Europeans (And Everyone Else) Should Be Worried (Part 2)
– The Worlds Largest Human Experiment: GMOs, Roundup And The Monsanto Monstrosity (Part 1)
– Hungary Destroys All GMO Maize Fields (Around 400 Hectares) – GMO Seeds Are Banned In Hungary BUT Controllers Found Pioneer And Monsanto Products
– BASF Considers Genetically Modified Crop Exit in Germany And Possible Move To The US
– Bayer Pays $750 Million To Settle GM Rice Lawsuit
– ROUNDUP: Birth Defects Caused By World’s Top-Selling Weedkiller, Scientists Say
– Australia: Secret GM Wheat Experiment Begins
– Peru Approves 10 Year BAN on GM Crops
– Roundup Birth Defects: Regulators Knew World’s Best-Selling Herbicide Causes Problems, New Report Finds
– Indian Scientists: GMO Gene Severly Damages The Plants, Causing Developmental Defects, Growth Retardation And Sterility
– A Scary Side Effect of Eating GMO Foods
– Study: GMO Bt Toxin Found In Human Blood (= A Threat To Human Health)
– Genetically Modified Cows Produce ‘Human’ Milk
– Farmers and Seed Producers Launch Preemptive Strike against Monsanto
– Next Stop Monsanto Zone: Agribusiness Fascism You Can Take A Bath In!
– MSNBC Poll: 96% Want GMOs Labeled
– Hidden Dangers: Genetically Engineered Foods
– USDA National Organics Program: Testing for GMOs NOT Required!!!
– GMO Nightmare: There Is No Escape From GM Foods
– GMOs: No Seeds, No Independent Research!
– Scientists Warn Of Dangerous New Pathogen From Roundup Ready Treated Monsanto GM Crops Causing Infertility And Spontaneous Abortions
– Roundup, GMOs linked to emergence of deadly new pathogen causing spontaneous abortions among animals
– USDA Deregulates GMO Corn Engineered to Produce Fuel, Not Food, Unleashing Another Mass Contamination of Crops
– Despite a Court Ban USDA Allows Commercial Planting of Monsanto’s Genetically Modified Sugar Beets
– US: Organic Consumers Association Funded by Big Pharma and Rockefeller! Food Freedom Betrayal!
– Change: USDA Recommends ‘Coexistence’ with Monsanto
– Monsanto’s Roundup Triggers Over 40 Plant Diseases and Endangers Human and Animal Health
– Max Keiser: Monsanto And The Seeds Of Evil
– WikiLeaks Cables: US Targets EU Over GM Crops
– Australia: Monsanto GM Strain Blows Organic Status Away
– US Conspired to Retaliate Against European Nations If They Resisted GMOs: Wikileaks Cable Reveals
– USDA GMO Policy
– US House of Representatives Passes Unconstitutional S.510/HR 2751, The Food Safety Modernization Act (TREASON!!!)
– The GMO Orange Scandal
– And Now: GMO Oranges As Solution To Insect-Borne Bacterial Disease
– Judge Orders Destruction Of Monsanto GMO sugarbeets
– Monsanto, Syngenta, BASF And Others Working On GM Wheat
– Scientists working to create genetically modified chocolate – to make you healthy (Sure!)
– MIT Scientists Develop GMO Plant That Produces Pharmaceutical Drugs
– USDA Plans To Allow GM Sugar Beet Planting During Lawsuit
– 10 Freakiest Things About Frankenfish
– GM Flax Contamination Detected in 35 Countries
– Study: GM Corn ‘Has Polluted Rivers Across The United States’
– FDA Refuses to Require Labeling of GM Salmon
– GM Salmon Nears US Approval
– RED ALERT: Dr. Rima E. Laibow On The Food Safety Bill (S 510): This Bill Eliminates All Local Farming, Organic Farmers and Garden Farmers
– US: GM Salmon May Go On Sale
– GMO Sugar Beets – Monsanto Wins Again
– US: Rice Farmer Awarded $500,000 In GM Rice Trial
– Scientist Leading Taxpayer-Funded GM Crop Test Defends Links To US Biotech Giant Monsanto
– US Supreme Court Lifts Ban On Monsanto’s GM Alfalfa
– UK Academics Quit Rigged FSA Frankenfood Propaganda
– Study: Monsanto’s Roundup Kills Human Cells (Flashback)
– GMO Alert: US Attempting Global Censorship of GMO Food Labeling
– California Files Legal Brief Opposing Monsanto in US Supreme Court
– Russian Scientists Prove Genetically Modified Foods are Harmful, Suggest Ban on GM Foods
– Bayer AG admits GMO contamination out of control
– Monsanto: GM-Corn Harvest of 82,000 Hectares in South Africa Fails (!)
– Multiple Ways Monsanto is Putting Normal Seeds Out of Reach
– Monsanto’s Genetically Modified Seed Patents May Trump Antitrust Claims
– Former Managing Director of Monsanto India: Monsanto ‘Faked’ Data for Approvals
– Monsanto GM Corn Causing Organ Failure In Rats: Study (Everything You Need To Know)
– Scientist: Monsanto’s herbicide could cause brain, intestinal and heart defects in foetuses
– Hawaii: GMO taro ban proposal goes to full council
– Monsanto to Charge as Much as 42 % More for New Seeds!
– US Association of Physicians calls for Moratorium on GMO Foods
– Monsanto sues Germany over GM corn ban
– Germany bans Monsanto’s GM maize
– Greenpeace: No need for condoms – GE corn can do the job
– Austrian Government Study Confirms Genetically Modified (GM) Crops Threaten Human Fertility and Health Safety
– BIODIVERSITY: Privatisation Making Seeds Themselves Infertile
– At stake is no less than control of the world’s food supply.
– Exposed: the great GM crops myth:
“Genetic modification actually cuts the productivity of crops, an authoritative new study shows, undermining repeated claims that a switch to the controversial technology is needed to solve the growing world food crisis.”
Highly recommended videos:
– Life running out of control – Genetically Modified Organisms (!)
– The World According to Monsanto – A documentary that Americans won’t ever see. (!)
Obama and Monsanto:
– Obama Gives Key Agriculture Post to Lobbyist of CropLife America Whose Members Include Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont and Dow Chemical
– Obama Gives ‘Pesticide Lobbyist’ Post as Chief Agricultural Negotiator
– Monsanto lobbyists to be placed in charge of food safety by Obama
– Obama appoints Monsanto shill Tom Vilsack to USDA chief
On CODEX and the agenda of the elite:
– Food Safety Bill Invokes Codex Harmonization And Grants FDA Authority To Police Food Safety Of Foreign Nations
– Dr. Rima E. Laibow: The Globalist Depopulation Agenda
– Dr. Rima E. Laibow on Codex Alimentarius and Food Nazification (!)
– Dr. Rima E. Laibow on the Contamination of the Food Supply & Deadly Antibiotics
– Codex Alimentarius: Population Control Under the Guise of Consumer Protection
– One Nation Under Siege – Full Theatrical Release
– Nutricide – Criminalizing Natural Health, Vitamins, and Herbs