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06.03.2018 |

Natural Soybean and Grain Alliance developing non-GMO opportunities for Arkansas farmers

A new organization aims to help Arkansas farmer realize opportunities in non-GMO food and agriculture markets. The Natural Soybean and Grain Alliance (NSGA) was established in 2015 after co-founders Kelly Cartwright and Lanny Ashlock helped develop the edamame food soybean industry in Arkansas.

“We’re trying to develop markets for non-GMO soybeans,” says Cartwright, NSGA’s executive director.

NSGA worked with the University of Arkansas’s soybean breeding program and begin licensing non-GMO, value-added soybean seed varieties to sell to the state’s farmers. The soybean varieties include high-protein food- and feed-grade varieties and a high yielding commodity grade variety called DrewSoy 5.0. The soybean is insect and disease resistant and has performed well in university trials in Arkansas, Mississippi, and Missouri.

NSGA’s goal with the three non-GMO soybean varieties is to “add value to the bottom lines of producers,” says Cartwright.

Arkansas is one of the leading state producers of non-GMO soybeans in the U.S. Five to 10 percent of Arkansas’s soybeans are non-GMO, there is significant production of natto and edamame soybeans, and the University of Arkansas is well-known for its non-GMO soybean breeding program.

06.03.2018 |

Monsanto concealed effects of toxic chemical for decades, Ohio AG alleges

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine sued agricultural giant Monsanto on Monday, alleging the company concealed dangers posed by a toxic chemical compound it manufactured for nearly a half century.

In the suit, filed in the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court in Cincinnati, prosecutors argued that the company should pay for the clean-up of what it says are dozens of rivers, lakes and other water bodies contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs.

06.03.2018 |

Research showing organic techniques restore soil carbon could expand the seal’s appeal

New research showing organic farming more effectively restores soil carbon and reduces the cause of climate change compared to conventional techniques could sway more shoppers to buy organic – especially as conscious consumerism continues to rise.

05.03.2018 |

Expert witnesses to face off in Roundup cancer hearing

Both sides of Roundup cancer lawsuits present experts at hearing on March 5

A Daubert Hearing for the federal Monsanto Roundup litigation is scheduled to begin on Monday, March 5, 2018 at US District Court, Northern District of California in San Francisco. More than 365 Roundup cancer lawsuits against Monsanto have been combined in a federal multidistrict litigation (MDL - In re Roundup Products Liability Litigation - Case Number: 3:16-md-02741-VC) before US District Judge Vince Chhabria. The hearing will begin at 10:00 AM on Monday in Courtroom 8, 19th Floor and will continue at various start times throughout the rest of the week.

05.03.2018 |

EU's GMO Regulator Ignored Human Health Warnings Over a Monsanto Insecticidal Corn

by Claire Robinson

A Monsanto genetically modified (GMO) maize, called MON89034, caused kidney disease and bladder stones in rats in industry tests performed in 2007. Several EU member states, including Germany, Belgium, Austria, and France, independently raised concerns about these results during the EU’s standard three-month regulatory consultation process. But the central GMO regulator of the EU, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), issued a favourable opinion on MON89034 regardless With the usual lack of agreement from EU member states on whether to authorize the maize, the EU Commission subsequently approved MON89034 for human consumption in 2011

MON89034 has since been crossed with other GM maize varieties to form “stacked” GM crops containing multiple GM traits. As each newly stacked GMO trait involving MON89034 has come up for approval, member states have continued to draw attention to the original adverse health impacts in the rats fed MON89034.

05.03.2018 |

International Women's Day Action in Brazil: Women from MST (Landless Worker's Movement) Occupy Suzano Against GE Trees

At dawn on Monday (05), more than 1,000 landless rural workers took the helm of the Suzano paper and pulp mill, located in Mucuri, in the extreme south of Bahia.

Women report problems related to the water crisis in the municipality, caused by large-scale production of eucalyptus; aerial spraying in the areas of Suzano; monocultures; and use of transgenic seeds in productive management.

03.03.2018 |

Bayer-Monsanto merger plan protests

Campaigners say the proposed Bayer-Monsanto EU deal will create a large conglomerate with too much market share

Sources say the German drugs and crop chemicals maker Bayer is on course to win conditional EU anti-trust approval for its its $62.5 billion bid for world No.1 seed company, Monsanto.

The takeover would create a company with a share of more than a quarter of the world's seed and pesticides market.

(.....)

Protests

The Bayer-Monsanto tie-up has sparked criticism from environmentalists and some farming groups.

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager has received more than 50,000 petition emails and more than 5,000 letters opposed to the deal.

"Approving this merger would create the world's biggest agribusiness company, potentially crushing competitiors and establishing an unprecedented monopoly on lucrative farming data," said Adrian Bebb at environmental lobbying group Friends of the Earth Europe.

"Public opinion is against the merger, and farmers and consumers would have every right to be outraged by the Commission giving it the green light."

01.03.2018 |

What the Monsanto Papers tell us about corporate science

The Monsanto Papers are a treasure trove of internal documents slowly released since March 2017 as part of a US lawsuit by cancer victims against Monsanto over its ubiquitous herbicide, glyphosate. They tell a lot about how Monsanto actively subverts science, both in the company’s practices and the way it abuses science’s moral authority to push for its interests.

The Monsanto Papers make for fascinating reading, all the more since Monsanto constantly uses and abuses the moral prestige of science in its propaganda. See above and below for an example of a recent PR campaign by the company.

That Monsanto performs research is clear. The corporation spends about 10 per cent of its turnover in research & development to keep developing new agricultural technologies, and “believe[s] innovation has the potential to bring humanity’s needs in balance with the resources of our planet”.

But the Monsanto Papers show the company’s real, and rather troubling, approach to science and evidence.

01.03.2018 |

Dicamba Drift Could Put 60 Million Acres of Monarch Habitat at Risk

Dicamba—a drift-prone herbicide linked to millions of acres of off-target crop damage across in 17 states—destroys mostly everything in its path except the crops that are genetically engineered to resist it. It's so damaging that several states, including Arkansas, Tennessee and Missouri have introduced temporary bans on the weedkiller.

There's now another reason to worry about the controversial chemical. It's particularly harmful to milkweed, the only host plant for the iconic and already at-risk monarch buttery.

27.02.2018 |

EU citizens reject Bayer-Monsanto merger, says new polling

New polling shows citizens are against the planned merger of agribusiness giants Bayer and Monsanto, with a majority (54%) thinking it is "very" or "fairly important" that the European Commission blocks it – more than three times the number who think it would be unimportant.

The YouGov survey results from Germany, France, Spain, Denmark and the UK also shows that the merger gives 47% of EU citizens "serious" or "very serious" concerns, while just 11% think the merger offers any potential.

Citizens also expressed concerns that the merger would negatively affect the farmers' choices of what crops they would be able to farm, the environment, and the amount of chemical substances used in farming to control pests and weeds.

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