tagged w/ Monsanto
NOTE: More good news from the US. This is a major step forward. California's is the 8th largest economy in the world.
EXTRACT: Currently, farmers with crops that become contaminated by patented seeds or pollen have been the target of harassing lawsuits brought by biotech patent holders, particularly Monsanto. --- --- California Legislature Passes Bill Protecting Farmers Against Monsanto Lawsuits
First State Bill Regarding Genetically Engineered Crops Awaits Governor's Signature
PRESS RELEASE, The Genetic Engineering Policy Project
August 31 2008 - A landmark piece of legislation protecting California's farmers from crippling lawsuits was passed through both legislative houses this week in an end-of-session flurry. The Senate voted 23 - 14 to support it, and the Assembly was unanimous in their support. The bill, AB 541 (Huffman, D-Marin/Sonoma), is now headed to the Governor's desk for his signature. Sponsored by diverse organizations, some of whom are traditionally opposed on farm issues, AB 541 is the first bill passed by the California legislature that brings much-needed regulation to genetically engineered (GE) crops.
"I am very pleased that my office, working with the stakeholders on both sides of this historically divisive issue, was able to find common ground and pass California's first legislation on genetic engineered crops," stated Assemblymember Huffman. "While there is still work to be done on other aspects of genetic engineering, AB 541 is an important step in establishing basic protections for California's farmers."
AB 541 enacts protections against lawsuits brought against California farmers who have not been able to prevent the inevitable - the drift of GE pollen or seed onto their land and the subsequent contamination of their non-GE crops. Currently, farmers with crops that become contaminated by patented seeds or pollen have been the target of harassing lawsuits brought by biotech patent holders, particularly Monsanto. The bill also establishes a mandatory crop sampling protocol to prevent biotech companies that are investigating alleged violations from sampling crops without the explicit permission of farmers.
AB 541 has the support of organizations traditionally on opposite sides of the GE issue, and its sponsors are confident that the Governor will sign it. The bill was sponsored by a thirteen-member coalition including Community Alliance with Family Farmers, Earthbound Farm, California Certified Organic Farmers, United Natural Foods Inc., as well as California Farmers Union and the California Farm Bureau, and several others.
"AB 541 is a move in the right direction," stated Renata Brillinger, director of the Genetic Engineering Policy Project, the coalition of organic and conventional farmers, food industry, environmental, and faith organizations sponsoring AB 541. "It provides much needed protection for farmers who typically lack the resources to fight lawsuits brought by biotech conglomerates."
A copy of the bill can be downloaded at:
This is GOOD news! I hope other states use California as a model and work on bills that also give protection to farmers sued by Monsanto out of greed. Transgenic pollution and pollination is not the fault of the farmer, and Monsanto should not be allowed to indiscriminately sue farmers trying to make a living simply because they don't plant their frankenfood.
NOTE: More good news from the US. This is a major step forward. California's is... more
The Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) is part of the Risk Management Agency (RMA) that serves under the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), a Federal Executive Department (or Cabinet Department).The USDA-FCIC safeguards the economic stability of agriculture through a system of crop insurance and provides the means for research in devising and establishing such insurance. It is managed by a Board of Directors, subject to the general supervision of the Secretary of Agriculture.
On 12 September 2007, the FCIC Board of Directors approved a Biotech Yield Endorsement (BYE) pilot programme submitted under section 523(d) of the Federal Crop Insurance Act. The result is that farmers growing Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) maize receives crop insurance at a greatly reduced cost of between 20 and 70 percent.
The BYE programme was crafted by the Monsanto Corporation and its first beneficiary is limited to its GM maize. This insurance bonanza is intended for farmers planting Monsanto’s GM maize that has Bt genes against corn borer and root worm stacked with a gene for tolerance to Round-up herbicide. The FCIC Board of Directors, at its 14 August 2008 meeting, approved additional seed technologies for premium rate reduction for producers planting certain corn hybrid varieties; i.e., those containing Bt genes for corn borer and rootworm stacked with genes for tolerance to herbicides such as glyphosate and glufosinate. The companies benefiting from the largesse of the USDA give-away insurance include besides Monsanto, Dow, Syngenta and Pioneer Hi-Bred [1, 2].
The crop insurance policies insure producers against yield losses due to natural causes such as drought, excessive moisture, hail, wind, frost, insects, and disease . It is clear that the stacked GM maize lines are protected against corn borer and rootworm, but not particularly well protected against drought, excessive moisture, hail, wind, frost and disease, nor against the numerous insect pest that are likely to take advantage of reduced competition from borer or root worm. It may be that the stacked maize lines will benefit from a USDA give-away insurance that specifically protects against any such secondary insect pests; for they have indeed already emerged in China and India as the result of growing Bt cotton [4, 5] (see Why Prince Charles is Right, SiS 40 and Deadly gift from Monsanto to India, SiS 39)
FCIC is presuming that the stacked GM maize lines will consistently produce more than conventional or organic maize, but that has not been proven scientifically. It is based solely on an act of faith on the part of the USDA bureaucrats.
Why then do these new GM constructs deserve the gift of reduced insurance cost at the US taxpayers’ expense? Have the taxpayers been consulted before such egregious largesse has been doled out to well-heeled farmers and the corporations who licence the GM seeds?
The rest of the farming community may feel especially aggrieved at this blatant display of favouritism on the part of the FCIC. After all, insured organic farmers were not compensated for damages from epidemics of fungal disease, even though the conventional fungicides were ineffective against the fungus disease. It seems that FCAC is taking on the role of sugar daddy to the GM industry and compliant farmers. And that may go a long way towards promoting universal GM farming practices and bankrupting the public coffers.
So not only do consumers pay for their frankenfood at the markets of America without proper disclosure as to health effects of it; US taxpayers are now footing the bill for their crop insurance, thanks to a gift from the USDA. Are you outraged yet?The Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) is part of the Risk Management Agency... more
The most important documentary you will see this year.
How much outrage can a single multinational corporation inspire? How much damage can they inflict? The breathtaking new film, The World According to Monsanto, features a company that sets the new standard. From Iowa to Paraguay, from England to India, Monsanto is uprooting our food supply and replacing it with their patented genetically engineered creations. And along the way, farmers, communities, and nature become collateral damage. The Gazette says the movie "will freeze the blood in your veins." The Hour says it's a "horrifying enough picture" to warrant "fury." But most importantly, this critical film opens our eyes just in time. The film is the work of celebrated award-winning French filmmaker Marie-Monique Robin, whose three years of work on four continents exposes why Monsanto has become the world's poster child for malignant corporate influence in government and technology.
Combining secret documents with accounts by victims, scientists and policy makers, she guides us through a web of misleading reports, pressure tactics, collusion, and attempted corruption. And we learn how the company systematically tricked governments into allowing dangerous genetically modified (GM) foods into our diet-with Monsanto in charge of determining if they're safe.
Deception, Deception, Deception
The company's history with some of the most toxic chemicals ever produced, illustrates why they can't be trusted. Ask the folks of Anniston, Alabama, where Monsanto's PCB factory secretly poisoned the neighborhood for decades. PCBs are Monsanto's toxic oils used as coolants and lubricants for over 50 years and are now virtually omnipresent in the blood and tissues of humans and wildlife around the globe. But Anniston residents have levels hundreds or thousands of times the average. They all know their levels, which they carry as death sentences. David Baker, who lost his little brother and most of his friends to PCB-related diseases such as cancer, says Anniston kids used to run up to him, report their PCB level and ask, "How long you think I got?"
Ken Cook of the Environmental Working Group says that based on Monsanto documents made public during a trial, the company "knew the truth from the very beginning. They lied about it. They hid the truth from their neighbors." One Monsanto memo explains their justification: "We can't afford to lose one dollar of business."
Replacing Nature: "Nothing Shall Be Eaten That We Don't Own" Monsanto is the world's largest seed company and many are concerned. Troy Roush says, "They are in the process of owning food, all food." Paraguayan farmer Jorge Galeano says, "Its objective is to control all of the world's food production." Renowned Indian physicist and community organizer Vandana Shiva says, "If they control seed, they control food; they know it, it's strategic. It's more powerful than bombs; it's more powerful than guns. This is the best way to control the populations of the world." The World According to Monsanto is aptly named. It is about Monsanto seeking to recreate the world in its own image, for its own benefit. They intend to replace (and patent) the entire food supply. And since their genetic pollution self-propagates in the environment, it will outlast the effects of global warming and nuclear waste. Such widespread permanent influence may not be safe with any individual or company. With Monsanto's record, the results can only be catastrophic. This powerful documentary might just inspire a global rejection of Monsanto's plans for our world. If so, it will be the most important film in history.
The most important documentary you will see this year. How much outrage can a... more
Monsanto is the owner of the patented herbicide Roundup and the also-patented Roundup Ready herbicide-resistant seed.
At issue in this case is David's right to plant Roundup Ready soybean seeds that he produced from plants grown from Roundup Ready seeds he purchased from Monsanto.
David lost the case, both at trial and at the federal circuit, and was fined $786,989. Last week, David appealed to the Supreme Court.
Presently, farmers must buy Monsanto seed annually to grow a Roundup Ready crop.
Some experts believed that a recent Supreme Court ruling on patent exhaustion indicated that the Supreme Court would grant David's appeal (if patent exhaustion was the issue presented on appeal).
Patent exhaustion means that the first sale of the patent seed exhausts the patent owner's rights.
Under this doctrine, Monsanto could not prevent use of its seed after the first sale.
David did not request the Supreme Court to consider the exhaustion doctrine because he did not believe the earlier ruling to be applicable because Monsanto's license agreement restricts use of the seed distinguishing his client's case from the case at hand.
Some patent experts believe the Supreme Court will therefore deny the appeal. David's lawyer strenuously disagrees.
The result? Monsanto's right to prevent farmers from planting herbicide resistant seeds they grow from Monsanto-patented seeds will remain in place until another suitable case makes its way through the court system. This could take decades.
David's lawyer informs me that $7.25 of the $21 cost of one “unit of Roundup Ready seed is attributable to the Monsanto technology fee.
Monsanto did not respond to my calls for current price structure.
I find it hard to believe that the Supreme Court in this case will rule in favor of the farmer regarding the patent. But then, it is possible though unlikely now that the patent exhaustion doctrine was not brought up in the appeal, which to me makes no sense. I wonder if they got to him? If they grant the appeal and he wins it will set a precedent for farmers everywhere who have purchased Monsanto's Roundup Ready seeds to not be obligated to purchase them every year, thus being able to save seeds as has been the practice of agriculture for centuries.
I truly find it despicable that Monsanto thinks it has the right to patent life itself and control the planting of seeds, and to then sue farmers who wish to use seeds taken from their own crops. Of course Monsanto has the clout and $$$$$$$$$$ to come down hard in influencing the decision on this appeal, as a ruling for the farmer could mean great loss of income to Monsanto. I will keep my fingers crossed for that. Kudos to this farmer for standing up to them and for farming as it should be.Monsanto is the owner of the patented herbicide Roundup and the also-patented Roundup... more
Avarice and greed in the name of exploiting a food crisis brought on not by food shortages, but high prices of oil and feed and political corruption propagated by the very governments and agencies like the World Bank that are now pushing GM foods that are untested. Notice a pattern here?
From the article:
Arguments about genetic modification, often wrongly characterised as science versus irrational nature-worshippers, have lost none of their passion. On one side are those who yearn for simple, high-tech solutions to complex problems. Against GM, there are ecological realities and scientific evidence. There is overwhelming evidence that farming took a wrong turn after the last war, with widespread use of artificial nitrogen fertilisers and sprays.
In Britain, we lost up to 95 per cent of our ancient woodlands, flower meadows, hedges and wildlife and saw massive losses of farms and farm workers' jobs. Farming became more oil-dependent. Our food lost vitamins, taste and diversity and our diet became unhealthy.
As the environmental and human cost of industrial farming became harder to deny, along came a new miracle cure ; genetic engineering. Twenty years ago, GM promised unbelievable wonders ; fruit that would never freeze, crops needing no fertiliser or sprays and food with vitamins and medicines engineered in. All food would soon be GM. Geneticists would engineer anything we wanted, taking a gene from a fish here, a pig there, adding a bacteria gene and maybe a bit of a virus.
The greatest coup by the GM companies, and their greatest scientific fraud, was to ensure no GM food had to be tested for safety. In America, they established the concept of "substantial equivalence" which means that if a GM crop looks like its non-GM equivalent and grows like it, then it is it no safety testing is needed before people eat it. GM maize could have added virus and antibiotic resistance genes, and a gene that makes it express an insecticide in every leaf, stem and root but to the US government it looks and grows like maize, so it is safe to eat.
GM crops face mounting scientific evidence of uncertainty, risk and danger. But now, because of rising food prices, the GM industry's claim that GM is needed to feed the world is suddenly newsworthy again. However, a key reason for soaring food prices higher oil costs leading to higher fertiliser prices also presents a massive threat to GM crops. All current and planned GM crops depend on artificial, oil-based fertiliser to grow, and all need to be treated with pesticides to survive.
In 2006, the pro-GM US Department of Agriculture observed that "currently available GM crops do not increase yield potential" a point already made by a 2004 UN Food and Agriculture Organisation report which acknowledged that "GM crops can have reduced yields". The recently published UN IAASTD report, the work of more than 400 international scientists, about the future of global food production under the challenges of climate change and population pressure, concluded that GM crops do not have much to offer.
GM foods: 'un'natural selection.
Avarice and greed in the name of exploiting a food crisis brought on not by food... more
Corporate monopoly over our food systems is a food security disaster. And while in some places like India these disasters have already had an impact at a global level, they are a disaster in the making.
It is therefore unscientific, illogical and irresponsible for the Environmental Minister Mr Woolas to say that Prince Charles must provide "proof" that a disaster has happened.
I would imagine that he is aware of the environmental principle on which the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change rest.
The principle is called the Precautionary Principle. It is based on the recognition that when an activity or technology has the potential to cause harm, and there is no conclusive evidence to establish the harm that can be caused, then policy and decision making must err on the side of caution.
The Environment Minister also said "Government ministers have a responsibility to base policy on science and I do strongly believe that we have a moral responsibility to the developing world to ask the question: 'Can GM crops help'?
Minister, if you could travel with me through Vidarbha and see the tears in the eyes of farmers' widows, you would be compelled to ask the question:'Can GM crops harm'? That is your moral responsibility.
It is also your responsibility to sincerely base your decisions on real science, not pseudo science. Science based policy would recognise that an agriculture that conserves biodiversity also produces more food and nutrition per unit acre.
Science based policy would recognise that if farmers fall into debt, it is not an instrument for ending poverty, but a recipe for ending the lives of small farmers.
A science based policy would not blindly spread GM crops to Africa without assessing their role in India's agrarian crisis. A science based policy would not be based on unscientific principle of "substantial equivalence" which has prevented independent and serious testing of GM foods and crops.
That is why the Supreme Court of India has served notice on the Government of India to ask why a GMO moratorium should not be imposed till proper testing protocols and tests and facilities for biosafety are in place.
end of excerpt.
Dr. Vandana Shiva is one of the most passionate and knowledgable scholars and environmental activists on the topic of GM foods, the global water crisis, Monsanto ( bio technology), sustainability, and environmental democracy. I trust her words and her judgement on this implicitly as I too have done the research. The world needs to listen to and read her words as she speaks truth about the monopoly taking form to control both our food and water in the guise of companies stating they are pushing GM organisms on us for our own benefit, when it is really for their own.
GM foods and the poisons sprayed on them that are in our water and food are not sustainable and will not save this world from a food crisis, but may well perpetuate it especially in areas of severe drought. We have all the conventional food we need to feed this world save political corruption (World Bank) and those in power looking to deny it to those who need it most to suit their own political, economic, and ideological agendas. I hold Dr. Shiva in the highest esteem and take her word on this based on her years of experience over anyone looking to defend the monstrous crime being perpetrated by these biocompanies on our environment and our health.Corporate monopoly over our food systems is a food security disaster. And while in... more
by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho and Prof. Joe Cummins
Preliminary findings suggest a link between Morgellons Disease and Agrobacterium, a soil bacterium extensively manipulated and used in making GM crops; has genetic engineering created a new epidemic?
CDC launch investigation on Morgellons’ Disease
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States announced the launch of an investigation on ‘Morgellons Disease’ in January 2008, after receiving thousands of complaints from people with this bewildering condition, which it describes as follows: “Persons who suffer from this unexplained skin condition report a range of cutaneous (skin) symptoms including crawling, biting and stinging sensations; granules, threads, fibers, or black speck-like materials on or beneath the skin, and/or skin lesions (e.g., rashes or sores). In addition to skin manifestations, some sufferers also report fatigue, mental confusion, short term memory loss, joint pain, and changes in visions.”
Morgellons Disease first became known in 2001, when Mary Leitao created a web site describing the illness in her young son, which she named after a 17th century medical study in France describing similar symptoms. Until then, people with Morgellons Disease have been diagnosed as cases of “delusional parasitosis”, in which the symptoms are deemed entirely imaginary, and lesions allegedly due to self-inflicted wounds.
Indeed, the debate over Morgellons Disease has continued in the pages of medical and scientific journals right up to the CDC’s announcement.
Dr. Michele Pearson, principal investigator for the CDC said that the primary goals of the study are “to learn more about who may be affected with this condition, the symptoms they experience and to look for clues about factors that might contribute to the condition,” adding that the condition is “complex”, and “may be due to multiple factors.”
In response to questions from journalists at the CDC press conference, Pearson said:
“We are aware that many patients have suffered from this condition. And, I can tell you that here at CDC, we have really been seeing an increasing number of these reports over the past year or so.”
CDC’s investigation is to be carried out in conjunction with Kaiser Permanente’s Northern California Division of Research and the US Armed Forces Institute of Pathology.
Dr. Joe Selby, Director of the Kaiser Permanente’s Northern California Division of Research, said the study would proceed in three stages. In the first stage, they will identify all members who may have seen a Kaiser Permanente physician with symptoms suggestive of this condition at any point during the 18 months between July 1 2006 and December 31, 2007, and determine whether they meet eligibility criteria for the study. In stage two, all eligible members will be invited to complete a comprehensive web based or telephone survey conducted by the CDC that examines the duration and severity of a variety of symptoms. And in stage three, those with active symptoms will be invited to the division of research for an extensive clinical examination including collection of skin biopsies, blood and urine samples.
* * * * *
Much more at link.by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho and Prof. Joe Cummins Preliminary findings suggest a link between... more
Support Schmeiser, Nelson and hundreds of other farmers who are being forced to pay Monsanto to have their fields contaminated by genetically modified organisms.
Sign OCA's "Millions Against Monsanto" petition. These petitions will be physically delivered to Monsanto and related court hearings
The petition can also be found half way down the subject page above organicconsumers.org/monlink.cfm after the following story.
Multi-Billion $$ Monsanto Sues More Small Family Farmers
Percy Schmeiser is a farmer from Saskatchewan Canada, whose Canola fields were contaminated with Monsanto's genetically engineered Round-Up Ready Canola by pollen from a nearby farm. Monsanto says it doesn't matter how the contamination took place, and is therefore demanding Schmeiser pay their Technology Fee (the fee farmers must pay to grow Monsanto's genetically engineered products). According to Schmeiser, "I never had anything to do with Monsanto, outside of buying chemicals. I never signed a contract.
If I would go to St. Louis (Monsanto Headquarters) and contaminate their plots - destroy what they have worked on for 40 years - I think I would be put in jail and the key thrown away."
Rodney Nelson's family farm is being forced into a similar lawsuit by Monsanto.
Support Schmeiser, Nelson and hundreds of other farmers who are being forced to pay Monsanto to have their fields contaminated by genetically modified organisms.
Sign OCA's "Millions Against Monsanto" petition. These petitions will be physically delivered to Monsanto and related court hearings.Monsanto Takes Ownership of Public Water Resources
Over the past century, global water supplies have been contaminated with the full gamut of Monsanto's chemicals, including PCBs, dioxin and glyophosate (Roundup). So now the company, seeing a profitable market niche, is taking control of the public water resources they polluted, filtering it, and selling it back to the people. In short, Monsanto is making a double profit by polluting the world's scarce freshwater resources, privately taking ownership of that water, filtering it, and selling it back to those who can afford to pay for it.
Sign OCA's "Millions Against Monsanto" petition. These petitions will be physically delivered to Monsanto and related court hearings
Support Schmeiser, Nelson and hundreds of other farmers who are being forced to pay... more
This is corporate PR. rBGH is one of the most hated products in the world. That's why Monsanto is dumping it. Why would Eli Lilly want to pick up rBGH? Because they are partners in crime with Monsanto and the biotech industry--pushing largely untested and unlabeled genetically engineered products on an unwilling, but often gullible public.
(317) 277-7464 Joan Todd (Elanco)
(317) 276-5795 - Mark Taylor (Lilly)
Elanco Announces Acquisition of Posilac® Dairy Business
Deal Provides Strategic Fit with Lilly's Animal Health Division
Greenfield, IN - Elanco, a division of Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE:LLY), today announced that Lilly has signed an agreement to acquire the worldwide rights to the dairy cow supplement, Posilac® (sometribove), as well as the product's supporting operations, from Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON).
"Global dairy demand is increasing, outstripping supply, and consumers are seeing rapidly rising prices," said Jeff Simmons, president, Elanco. "With the purchase of Posilac, Elanco can enhance its overall product portfolio and work together with the industry to provide dairy farmers more options and give consumers affordable choices. Critically, we remain focused on the health and care of the cow in working with farmers to increase global milk supply.
"With our rich history and experience in the dairy industry, Elanco is the ideal steward of this vital technology," Simmons said. "Elanco remains committed to using science to address the growing need for safe, affordable food; and to choices for consumers, retailers and producers."
Elanco has exclusively sold sometribove outside of the United States for a decade. Posilac has been safely used for more than 14 years.
Under the terms of the agreement, Lilly will acquire all rights to the Posilac brand, as well as the product's U.S. sales force and its manufacturing facility in Augusta, Georgia. In return, Monsanto will receive a $300 million upfront payment, as well as contingent consideration. The Posilac dairy business manufacturing and sales teams will be integrated into the Elanco business. The transaction is expected to close near the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2008, contingent upon clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Anti-Trust Improvements Act and other customary closing conditions. Lilly confirmed that the acquisition will not result in a change to the company's full-year 2008 financial guidance, as detailed in its second quarter 2008 financial results press release issued July 24, 2008.
Same poison, different drug dealer. The fight is not over.This is corporate PR. rBGH is one of the most hated products in the world. That's... more
What causes honeybee colonies to collapse?
Why do 36 states have honeybees with this disorder and not other states?
Are pesticides part of the problem?
What role does hybridized corn seed created by Monsanto have on honey bee colonies?
What do we know about the genetic makeup of honeybees and how they are affected by pesticides and other toxic chemicals such as pest control products?
These are all questions that were discussed on on KQED just today. It was a great discussion but answering these questions was almost impossible.
These are the facts.
Honeybees, which pollinate everything from almonds to apples to avocados, began abandoning their colonies in 2006, destroying about a third of their hives.
Since then, their numbers have not improved. A survey of beekeepers in the fall and winter 2007 by the Bee Research Lab and the Apiary Inspectors of America showed that beekeepers lost about 35 percent of their hives compared with 31 percent in 2006.
Scientists have not pinpointed the cause.
In 2007, Congress recognized colony collapse disorder as a threat and gave the U.S. Department of Agriculture emergency funds to study honeybee disappearances. In addition, the 2008 Farm Bill grants the USDA $20 million each year to support bee research and related work. And earlier this year, ice cream maker Haagen-Dazs, who relies on honeybees for 40 percent of its flavors, awarded a $250,000 research grant to UC Davis and Pennsylvania State University to research honeybees.
Published on Tuesday, August 19, 2008 by the San Francisco Chronicle
Lawsuit Seeks EPA Pesticide Data
by Jane Kay
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is refusing to disclose records about a new class of pesticides that could be playing a role in the disappearance of millions of honeybees in the United States, a lawsuit filed Monday charges.
The Natural Resources Defense Council wants to see the studies that the EPA required when it approved a pesticide made by Bayer CropScience five years ago.
The environmental group filed the suit as part of an effort to find out how diligently the EPA is protecting honeybees from dangerous pesticides, said Aaron Colangelo, a lawyer for the group in Washington.
In the last two years, beekeepers have reported unexplained losses of hives - 30 percent and upward - leading to a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder. Scientists believe that the decline in bees is linked to an onslaught of pesticides, mites, parasites and viruses, as well as a loss of habitat and food.
please go to this link for more...
Also recommended is this book
Fruitless Fall: The Collapse of the Honey Bee and the Coming Agricultural Crisis by Rowan Jacobsen
Talking and learning what is going on around us will help change this crisis.
XWhat causes honeybee colonies to collapse? Why do 36 states have honeybees with this... more
The naturally occurring bacillus thuriengus (Bt) is one of the most useful living organisms known to mankind. First discovered in 1901 by the Japanese scientist Ishiwata its economic importance in the ecological cycle became apparent in 1911 when the German scientist discovered the disease Schlaffsucht in flour moth caterpillars.
It was then found that this bacteria produces a crystal insecticide (Cry toxins) which kills the worms (larvae) of insects which change (metamorphoses) from egg, to worm, to insect. Scientists have succeeded in producing commercial formulations, both granular and liquid, of Cry toxins which are extremely effective when applied at the hatching, crawling and early eating stages when the larvae are exposed and most vulnerable. It is strategically applied by conventional means or pivot irrigation by farmers. The importance of this insecticide it biodegrades on the plant and is therefore non-toxic to humans and beneficial insects when used correctly. It has become increasingly important in the control of mosquitoes.
The naturally occurring bacillus thuriengus (Bt) is one of the most useful living... more
Never underestimate the power of a few committed people to change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
-- Anthropologist Margaret Mead
Even if you've heard the above quote many times before, the sentiment expressed is so powerful that I think it's worth repeating. All around the world, small groups of people are organizing public support for improved food safety and successfully challenging large corporations to change their behavior.
That's exactly what Flint Michigan residents Kathleen Kirby and Mark Fisher are banking on: their power to influence change. They're participating in a nationwide consumer boycott of Kellogg's Co. instigated by the Organic Consumers Association. By boycotting the world's largest cereal company, they hope to pressure Kellogg's into rejecting the use of sugar from genetically engineered (GE) sugar beets and to spark widespread market rejection in products ranging from cereal to baby food to candy.
As you may know, Roundup Ready sugar beets are genetically altered to resist Monsanto's toxic weed killer, Roundup, and its active ingredient, glyphosate. But here's the scary truth about these beets:
When the USDA first approved GE sugar beets for commercial planting in 1998, the EPA also increased the maximum allowable residues of glyphosate on sugar beet roots from just 0.2 parts per million to 10ppm. That's a staggering 5,000 percent increase of allowable toxins on beet roots. And, it's little surprise that EPA made this policy change at the request of Monsanto.
Sugar beet roots contain sucrose that's extracted, refined, and processed into the sugar used in the foods we eat. What this means is that the more GE ingredients that find their way into our food, the greater the likelihood that we are ingesting more toxic chemicals.
Thankfully, GE sugar beets have never been grown in the U.S. for sale to food manufacturers -- that is, until this year, when Western farmers planted their first crop of Monsanto's Roundup Ready sugar beets. Right now, over half of the sugar used in U.S. processed foods comes from sugar beets, with beet and cane sugars combined in those products. What's most disturbing is that once GE sugar beets hit the market, which could be as early as next year, there will be no way to know if we're eating GE sugar because GE ingredients are not labeled.
Currently, only four major GE crops are sold commercially -- corn, cotton, soy, and canola. Most of these are engineered to withstand repeated, large doses of herbicides. For the most part, these crops and their byproducts are largely fed to animals with the exception of some minor food ingredients and oils. GE beet sugar breaks with this tradition in that it could become the first major GE ingredient added to almost all processed foods on our grocery store shelves.
Our food supply is systematically being taken over and poisoned by Monsanto.There is no other way to state it now. If sugarbeets are allowed to continue to become a part of our food supply, then you can expect that EVERYTHING you touch will be genetically modified, and it has NOT been proven to be safe for human consumption or our environment. Please, I have been writing on this for months along with others who have been trying to make people understand how URGENT it is that you get involved in pushing state legislatures to require proper labelling of GM sources in foods. Read up on this at the Monsanto tag and take action.
Citizen activism is the only way to make companies like Monsanto back down. Consumers did it regarding POSILAC, and we can do it with this. Current TV is the only place I have been able to get exposure to this so far aside from my own blog, and it is also because of people here voting the information up so more can see it. So thank you to those who fight the good fight here everyday over those who would do anything in their power to keep this down.
Never underestimate the power of a few committed people to change the world. Indeed,... more
In late March, Monsanto Co. sent a Dear Valued Customer letter to most U.S. corn and soybean farmers. The reason, wrote Jim Zimmer, Monsanto's vice president of U.S. branded business, was to discuss some current marketplace dynamics that will directly affect you in terms of increased prices for Monsanto's line of Roundup herbicides for 2008.
Demand for glyphosate, Roundup's generic counterpart, is at an all time high, explained Zimmer. As such, we have seen the demand for Roundup brand herbicide increase more than our current ability to supply.
That's a problem, he continued, because We have a reliable supplier commitment to farmers who choose to purchase Roundup Ready technology and who choose to purchase Roundup brand herbicide that we will have supply available.
Our competitive challenges have put our commitment at risk, forcing us to increase our price for Roundup herbicide.
Golly, a farmer who telephoned me about the letter asked, How much is their promise to me going to cost me?
Globally, about $411 million, the amount Roundup net sales increased from March through May over the same three months in 2007, according to Monsanto's third quarter, Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission June 27.
That's a 54 percent increase.
Additionally, the 10-Q reports, Net sales of Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicides increased 63 percent, or $1,222 million $1.222 billion in the nine-month comparison with fiscal 2007's first three quarters.
Remarkably, however, that $1.2 billion increase in Roundup sales, notes the 10-Q, was posted despite a seven percent sales volume drop in Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicides in third quarter 2008 and only an 8 percent increase in global Roundup sales for the nine-month period ending in May.
Clearly, Roundup mostly because Monsanto boosted its price hit a home run. Gross profit increased $927 million because of higher sales of Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicides in the first nine months of 2008, the company said.
What Monsanto did for Roundup herbicide this spring, it promises to do for Roundup seed corn next year, according to a July interview of company officials by DTN and Progressive Farmer editors.
Indeed, wrote Marcia Taylor for DTN after the gathering, Even the list price on seed corn will topple the $300 per bag barrier starting this fall, up about $95 to $100 per bag, or 35 percent on average, according to Monsanto officials.
Again, according to Monsanto's most recent 10-Q: In the first quarter 2008, Monsanto entered into an agreement on corn herbicide tolerance and insect control technologies with Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc (whereby Monsanto will receive) cumulative cash receipts of $725 million over an eight-year period.
In third quarter 2008, Monsanto and Syngenta entered into a Roundup Ready 2 Yield Soybean License Agreement (under which) the minimum obligation from Syngenta over this (nine-) year period is $81 million, reports the 10-Q.
Is Monsanto everywhere? Almost; according to its June SEC filing, it recently bought a vegetable seed company in Europe, a seed corn company in Guatemala, another in Brazil.
In late March, Monsanto Co. sent a Dear Valued Customer letter to most U.S. corn and... more
Grow Hemp for the War, " says a World War II ad found on the back of a 1943 map of Iowa. More than 60 years down the road, hemp is back, for another type of combat: the one against high energy prices and agri-food multinationals.
Marc Bercier grows hemp on the lower part of a field behind his St-Isidore seed cleaning facility. He's testing 100 varieties and hopes to soon find the right one to produce vegetable oil and market it as a Canadian substitute for virgin olive oil.
"I'm anti-multinationals," Bercier says, standing inside a container housing his new oil press. The German-made press will allow him to extract oil for human consumption from hemp and camiline (false flax) seeds, both very rich in Omega-3s.
The press can also extract oil from soybeans, which can be used as a green fuel. One day, a soybean-burning co-generator will provide all the electricity and heat required to dry grain and operate the Marc Bercier Seed Cleaning Center.
Bercier's tractors and combine could also run on soybean oil. No big company will get rich off his diesel bill anymore.
Like his neighbours that grow cash crops, Bercier is currently enjoying very high grain prices. But along with them have come sharp price increases for farm inputs like fuel, fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides. These products are all controlled by large multinationals, Bercier notes.
Bercier's main business is in itself an everyday combat against the Monsantos and Pioneers (DuPont) of this world, that own the patents over genetically modified (GMO) seeds. Bercier successfully grows and markets non-GMO seeds, competing against much larger feed companies and co-ops that resell GMO seeds and the weed- and pest-control chemicals that come along.
Grain prices could drop again as soon a in a year of two, but high input prices are there to stay, Bercier predicts.
"We can't control much the price we are paid for our farm products, but we can control our farm operating costs," he says. One way of achieving this is to produce your own fuel. Grow Hemp for the War, " says a World War II ad found on the back of a 1943 map... more
No evidence that GM crops will solve the food and fuel crisis
Most of the EU's animal feed comes from Brazil and Argentina, which are careful to grow only those varieties of feed, both GM and non-GM, that are approved in the EU, so as not to harm their export markets . An article in the Financial Times quotes a Brazilian diplomatic source saying, 'We produce to satisfy our clients. We are not going to produce something they are not going to buy.' The article goes on to say that neither Argentina nor Brazil share the apocalyptic scenario currently being put forward by the biotech and livestock industries and intensive farmers .
Such scaremongering ignores the well-known fact that GM crops have at best, variable impacts on yields and are therefore not a solution to the food crisis, as was confirmed by the recent IAASTD (International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development) report on the future of agriculture .
More importantly, it ignores the fact that the major cause of the food and feed crisis is not European GM policy, but the rush to biofuels. Even the World Bank has now confirmed what NGOs have been saying ever since the notion of a food crisis was first mooted, that the Bush-subsidised ethanol boom (with the EU's agrofuel boom following in its wake) is by far the single most important factor in creating the food crisis that is driving 100m people worldwide below the poverty line. The report, which has not been published but was leaked to the UK's Guardian newspaper, says biofuels have forced global food prices up by 75 percent. The figure emphatically contradicts the US government's claims that plant-derived fuels contribute less than 3 percent to food-price rises. Senior development sources believe the report, completed in April, has not been published to avoid embarrassing President George W. Bush .
The irony is that exactly the same people who created this disaster by promoting the rush into agrofuels are now promoting a rush for GMOs as the solution. It is this hype that the European Commission and British politicians appear to be swallowing, without being honest about the vested interests at stake.
Monsanto does a complete about-turn on GMOs being needed to feed the world
And here's another irony. The truth about GMOs as the solution to the global food crisis is not coming from politicians but from industry itself. Previously, in the face of growing global opposition, Monsanto has long proclaimed that GM crops are vital for feeding a hungry world, while critics countered that the food is there and that distribution is the key to tackling hunger. But as opposition to biofuels is rising in Europe and even in the US on the grounds that they are not a solution to climate change and are contributing to the food crisis, Monsanto is now keen to defend the biofuels gravy-train that sent food prices sky-rocketing, and the company's spin has suddenly gone into complete reverse.
The ethanol boom may be pushing millions towards starvation and hundreds of millions deeper into poverty, but, says Monsanto's chief technology officer Rob Fraley , "From a production perspective, we have abundance [of food]". Fraley now says the "challenges" are in distribution and access to food because of wealth distribution, in other words, poverty.
Fraley made his pitch at the launch of a new multi-million dollar lobby group for ethanol, the Alliance for Abundant Food and Energy, that Monsanto has helped set up. There could be no clearer demonstration that Monsanto's concern has never been feeding the hungry; its leading role in the ethanol lobby shows that the hungry can happily starve, just so long as it's good for the company's bottom line.
Given that industry has revealed the truth behind its biofuels agenda, is it too much to ask of Europe's politicians that they should be equally honest about the vested interests behind the hyping of GM crops?
No evidence that GM crops will solve the food and fuel crisis Most of the EU's... more
Interesting... Is Monsanto feeling the heat from farmers, people in the medical field, consumer groups, and state attorney generals who know this product is dangerous? Or are they simply looking to do this to invest more in their continuing effort to control the entire seed market of the world and the pesticides that are toxifying it? Personally, I think they are feeling some heat regarding the labelling of products, and people are becoming more informed as to what they buy. People are becoming aware and don't want antibiotics and pus in their milk, nor an added injection of IGF-1 everytime they pour a glass of it. Perhaps the next step will be to have it banned altogether as it should be.Interesting... Is Monsanto feeling the heat from farmers, people in the medical field,... more
A Northern California farmer and dairyman is on a mission to make food safer for all of us. He is Albert Straus and he runs his family creamery, the first organic creamery west of the Mississippi.
The Straus Family Dairy Farm was established up in Tomales Bay in 1941 with just 23 cows! Now there are more than 300. While the family always followed sustainable land practices, Albert began his quest to become certified organic in 1993. It takes a dairy heard one year to become fully certified to produce organic milk and in 1994, the farm became the first certified organic dairy west of the Mississippi River. Also that same year, Straus opened Straus Family Creamery to produce organic milk, yogurt, butter and ice cream under the family name.
Another thing happened on the way to becoming certified organic. Straus came across animal feed that was contaminated with genetically modified organisms, or GMO's.
"GMO contamination of organic feeds could threaten consumers' safety, as well as my dairy's organic certification," said Straus. "Close to 70% of our food supply has it."
Last year, Straus began testing his purchased certified-organic feeds. He found that one out of every three batches of certified organic corn had some contamination from GMOs, ranging from trace levels up to 6 percent contamination.
Straus decided to act, starting a non-GMO program , that requires all feed and ingredient suppliers to submit the results of a strip test analysis prior to shipment of the feed or ingredient.
"I started this program in order to safeguard my livelihood as an organic farmer," said Straus. "Our requirements are causing other companies to sit up and take notice."
Are companies sending out bands of thugs to deliberately contaminate organic crops? The pervasiveness of it seems to be too coincidental to just be the wind blowing. Good to see farmers standing up to this.A Northern California farmer and dairyman is on a mission to make food safer for all... more
Washington, Jul 30 -
Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) introduced three bills designed to protect consumers, defend farmers' rights, and increase food safety yesterday. The bills collectively create a comprehensive framework to regulate genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
We have a responsibility to put the public health and the environment before profits. These bills spell out common sense precautions.
The three bills are titled, respectively, H.R. 6636, The Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act, H.R. 6635, The Genetically Engineered Safety Act, and H.R. 6637, The Genetically Engineered Farmer Protection Act.
H.R. 6636, The Genetically Engineered Food Right To Know Act, would require mandatory labeling of all foods that contain or are produced with genetically modified material. A legal framework to ensure labeling accuracy without significant economic hardship would also be established.
H.R. 6635, The Genetically Engineered Safety Act, would require that genetically engineered foods follow a food safety review process to prevent contamination of food supplies by pharmaceutical and industrial crops. This Act would also require that the FDA screen all genetically engineered foods to ensure they are safe for human consumption.
H.R. 6637, The Genetically Engineered Farmer Protection Act, places liability from the impacts of genetically engineered organisms on the biotechnology companies that created the GMOs, and protects farmers from law suits by biotechnology companies
We are eating genetically engineered foods every day. Farmers are sowing genetically engineered seeds every day. Yet, we have never studied the long term effects of genetically modified organisms on our health, our children or our environment. Congress must take steps to maximize the benefit and minimize the risks of biotechnology.
Congressman Kucinich has used his position as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Domestic Policy to examine food safety issues and the rights of farmers. A Subcommittee hearing held by Rep. Kucinich in March examined the impact on farmers caused by contamination of conventional crops by genetically engineered plants significantly influenced these bills.
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THANK YOU Dennis Kucinich! Now what we need to do is call his office and tell him we support these bills, and send this on to our own Congress members and tell them to support them too. Perhaps we will have some progress on this if people join together and hold Congress to doing its job. At least Dennis Kucinich is doing his.Washington, Jul 30 - Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) introduced three bills... more