How Monsanto Supersized a Problem in Under Three Minutes

May 13, 2014
Karen Perry Stillerman
Sr. Strategist and Sr. Analyst, Food & Environment Program

Well actually, it took about 5 years for our friends at the Monsanto Company to start turning regular old weeds into a crisis of “superweeds.” But they did it, and another decade on, farmers everywhere are paying the price. Now, using the magic of speed-drawing, we’ve taken this age-old tale of weedy villains and chemical “superheroes” (with fatal flaws), and boiled it down to just 2:29.

As we make clear in our video (and the policy brief behind it), Monsanto pursued a profit-driven strategy with its Roundup Ready seed and herbicide system, even though it knew or should have known how it would turn out. The resulting crisis of resistant weeds is plaguing farmers on millions of acres across the country.

Now, Monsanto and its corporate rivals, including Dow Agrosciences (a subsidiary of Dow Chemical), are hoping we don’t notice that the new solutions they’re proposing look a lot like the last one.

Just two weeks ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency indicated that it plans to green-light a request from Dow to market a new herbicide product made up of the active ingredient in Roundup plus an older, more toxic weed-killer known as 2,4-D. Dow will market this herbicide cocktail, known as Enlist Duo, with corn and soybean seeds designed to tolerate it. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which also must approve the new engineered seeds, has indicated that it will do so, probably in the next few months. Monsanto has requests for similar seed and multi-herbicide systems in the pipeline as well.

Will the real superheroes please stand up?

As the USDA implements reauthorized research grant programs and Congress allocates taxpayer money to fund them, they shouldn’t buy more corporate money-makers masquerading as superheroes. Instead, they should prioritize sustainable agriculture research to find lasting solutions to weeds and other farming challenges.

Write to your Congressional representatives and ask them to help scientists and farmers be the real heroes in the battle against superweeds. Click here to send your letter, and share our video today!