I had the same thought as Tom Philpott in Mother Jones as I listened to NPR’s report on GMO corn yesterday: that ag news has gone mainstream. That’s a positive development for all. Sequestered out of public scrutiny, ag news had a huge impact without raising awareness among the people affected by it — that is, all who eat food. How that has changed. – Christine
Monsanto Is Losing the Press
Ah, high summer. Time to read stories about the declining effectiveness of GMO-seed giant Monsanto’s flagship products: crops engineered to resist insects and withstand herbicides.
Back in 2008, I felt a bit lonely participating in this annual rite—it was mainly just me and reporters in a the Big Ag trade press. Over the past couple of years, though, it’s gone mainstream. Here’s NPR’s star agriculture reporter Dan Charles, on corn farmers’ agri-chemically charged reaction to the rise of an insect that has come to thumb its nose at Monsanto’s once-vaunted Bt corn, engineered to contain the bug-killing gene of a bacteria called Bacillus thuringiensis:
It appears that farmers have gotten part of the message: Biotechnology alone will not solve their rootworm problems. But instead of shifting away from those corn hybrids, or from corn altogether, many are doubling down on insect-fighting technology, deploying more chemical pesticides than before. Companies like or that sell soil insecticides for use in corn fields are reporting huge increases in sales: 50 or even 100 percent over the past two years.
And this, from a veteran observer of the GMO-seed industry who—in my view—sometimes errs on the side of being too soft on it.