Monsanto, the multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation and the leading producer of engineered seed, just received government permission to test a large scale genetically modified (GMO) crop experiment. The engineered corn seed from Monsanto will be introduced throughout the country from South Dakota to Texas.
The project includes Monsanto testing their man-made corn variant. These crops are expected to thrive in dry and unfavorable conditions. The company feels their product could revitalize a large portion of the agriculture as many are experiencing abnormal climate conditions.
The first round of tests of the biotech crop are being done on farms owned by Monsanto. If the seed proves to be commercially viable it will be made for purchase in 2013.
This government approval marks a first. This is the first time the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services has allowed the testing of a genetically engineered product that has been tailored to weather conditions such as drought.
There are so many flags being raised over this issue. For starters, Monsanto is a huge industry. Their large scale has been threatening small farmers for years. In addition, Monsanto has giant industry lawyers on their side. Recently a suit by small farmers claiming Monsanto’s crops were infringing on their organic crops was rejected by courts. To add insult to injury, Monsanto actually sued many small farmers for the unauthorized use of their patented GMO crops. Between 1997 and 2010, 144 organic farms were sued. In most cases it was believed that the “unauthorized use” was simply seeds blown by wind. Regardless, many farmers lost the suits- and their farms.
Many questions are being raised over Monsanto. Perhaps one the biggest is what will happen once a large portion of our food is no longer natural, but completely engineered. The GMO seed comes with a price tag that is hard to resist and many fear this is the beginning of the end.
This issue isn’t going without a fight. Jim Gerritsen, president of the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, recently issued a statement saying, “Monsanto’s threats and abuse of family farmers stops here. Monsanto’s genetic contamination of organic seed and organic crops ends now. Americans have the right to choice in the marketplace — to decide what kind of food they will feed their families – and we are taking this action on their behalf to protect that right to choose.”
Keep your eyes peeled and ears open. This issue is far from being over.
March 21st, 2012