A short addition to the legislation passed last week to continue the funding of the U.S. government contained a gift for the biotech industry that could hurt the very farmers that the transnational seed companies love to cozy up to. It could also hurt the environment. Read More
March 25th, 2013
March 21st, 2013
Spring has arrived. You can feel it in the air, the brighter sunlight slanting at a steeper angle, and the song of birds that have arrived from exotic winter homes. If you are not a night owl, you might wake up early enough to listen to the energy and excitement of the dawn chorus starting off the day. Read More
March 8th, 2013
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack made several recent pronouncements prompted by the growing recognition that climate change will make it harder to grow crops. It was a step in the right direction, but it will take a major shift in money and personnel to make needed changes happen. Read More
February 14th, 2013
It’s Valentine’s Day, and love is in the air. The President loves the First Lady’s bangs. Grammy-winner Kelly Clarkson loves fellow winner Miguel (now that she knows who he is). Babies (apparently) love Beyoncé.
And the Monsanto Company, the world’s largest seed and agrichemical seller, is making sure we all know how much they love American farmers.
January 11th, 2013
UPDATE: I have appended at the bottom of this post an update addressing Mark Lynas’ response to this post on his own website.
I suppose it is hard for journalists to resist a good story: Mark Lynas, former green activist, has seen the light. The pronouncements of converted GM critic Lynas have garnered coverage from several respected media sources, despite often being misleading, wrong, or questionable scientifically. Read More
December 3rd, 2012
A new paper in Nature magazine summarizes a project to delineate the DNA code of bread wheat. The results add to the growing number of crops and other plants whose genomes have been decoded, which facilitates genetic comparisons for evolutionary studies, crop improvement through breeding, and other biological work. Read More
October 26th, 2012
October 12th, 2012
July 3rd, 2012
The Monsanto Company is raking it in—last week they reported third quarter profits of $937 million. Yes, you read that right: Monsanto’s profit for the three-month period ending May 31 amounted to nearly a billion dollars, up a whopping 35% from the same quarter last year. That raging river of cash flowing in must make it easy for the company to finance a flurry of advertising and lobbying extolling the virtues its products. According to Monsanto’s PR, the company is feeding a growing population, protecting natural resources, and promoting biodiversity.
May 10th, 2012
I am sitting at my desk looking at a slim report published in March 1990 at the dawn of the crop biotechnology era. On the matte blue cover are pictures of a then-new commercial equation: a small corn plant enclosed in a chemistry flask and a big barrel of herbicide. The report, “Biotechnology’s Bitter Harvest: Herbicide Tolerant Crops and the Threat to Sustainable Agriculture,” * asked whether herbicide-tolerant crops (HTCs) are a wise use of this powerful new technology. Read More