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Tag Archive: herbicide


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Waking Times

By December 14, 2015

Court Finds Monsanto Responsible for Poisoning French Farmer

monsanto failAlex Pietrowski, Staff.
Waking Times

 

The court of appeals in Lyon, France, has found agribusiness giant Monsanto guilty of poisoning a man named Paul François. François is a farmer who claimed that he suffered a multitude of ailments, including headaches, memory loss, neurological problems and stammering, after he unintentionally inhaled Monsanto’s herbicide, Lasso.

François used Lasso for over 15 years, and in 2004 accidentally inhaled the product. After the incident, the farmer began getting severe headaches and experienced moments of mental absence and an inability to speak.

The chemical’s effects on François were so severe that he fainted, was hospitalized and fell into a coma. François was diagnosed with monochlorobenzene poisoning by his doctors, who found that the chemical permanently damaged his brain. Monochlorobenzene makes up 50% of the herbicide Lasso.

It is worth noting that the herbicide was prohibited in France and the rest of the European Union in 2007, and at the time of the incident, it was already banned in Canada (since 1985), Great Britain and Belgium (since 1992).

During the court hearing, Monsanto’s attorneys repeatedly claimed that the herbicide Lasso was not dangerous. François claimed that the company was aware of the toxic nature of the herbicide but failed to adequately warn about the potential health risks.

 

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Two US agricultural workers have simultaneously sued Monsanto, claiming that the company’s weed-killer herbicide caused their cancers. They have also accused the bio-tech giant of pressuring regulators to downplay the risks from its Roundup herbicide.

In his lawsuit against Monsanto, 58-year-old former farm worker Enrique Rubio said he believes that the bone cancer he was diagnosed with back in 1995 was a result of his work with Monsanto’s weed-killer.

Working in California, Texas and Oregon over several years, Rubio’s duties included spraying fields of cucumbers, onions and other vegetable crops with pesticides and Roundup, one of Monsanto’s widely used herbicides.

Another plaintiff, 64-year-old Judi Fitzgerald, joined Rubio in his legal battle against Monsanto. Diagnosed with leukemia in 2012, Fitzgerald had to use Roundup in the 1990s when she worked at a horticultural products company.

 

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Cattle leukemia virus found in milk linked to breast cancer – study http://on.rt.com/6rqz 

 

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As we have covered extensively in recent months, Monsanto’s herbicide Glyphosate, the primary ingredient in their top-selling product “RoundUp” has been proven to cause cancer. Now, according to new reports, the chemical doesn’t even work and is creating a new resistance in weeds that make them more resilient and more difficult to get rid of.

Nebraska farmer Mike Pietzyk recently discussed how the weeds are becoming resistant to RoundUp in a recent interview with Chemicals And Engineers News.

“The days of going out and spraying RoundUp twice a year—those are long gone,” he said, adding that he was forced to use a cocktail of different chemicals, some of which are even more dangerous than RoundUp. Pietzyk and other farmers are now seeking new solutions to avoid the harsh pesticides used in conventional farming.

“People in urban areas and towns need to understand—we live here, we drink the water under the ground out here,” he says. “We want to be good stewards of what we’ve been entrusted with,” he said.

According to U.S. weed scientist Dallas Peterson, one type of weed, in particular, called Palmer amaranth, has become especially resistant to pesticides and is overgrowing farms across the country.

Complaints of herbicide-resistant weeds have become so common that the House Agriculture Committee has scheduled a meeting on December 4th to specifically address the situation.

Roundup, formulated to be used on GMO or “Roundup Ready” crops engineered to be resistant to it, is the most widely used herbicide in the world. It was originally introduced in the 1970s to control weeds and then took off when the planting of GMO crops skyrocketed in the past 15 years.

According to a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), glyphosate use in the U.S. increased from about 20 million pounds in 1992 to 110 million pounds in 2002 to more than 280 million pounds in 2012.

In a statement released earlier this year, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) announced that glyphosate, the main ingredient in RoundUp, is “probably carcinogenic.”


John Vibes writes for True Activist and is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war.

 

The Center for Food Safety is warning the public that the EPA is set to approve the direct spraying of the herbicide 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) on Dow Chemical’s genetically engineered corn and soybeans. That chemical is one-half of the compound called “Agent Orange” used in Vietnam to destroy foliage; it caused cancer among Vietnam veterans. EPA will render a decision after a 30 day comment period. Dow developed the GE crops, known as “Enlist”, to withstand high doses of 2,4-D (which it also sells) after its disastrous Roundup Ready crops created glyphosate-resistant superweeds.

Crop DustingYou can sign a petition opposing this action at CFS web site called “Dow Watch”. CFS opposes this move by the EPA because they state, “wide scale use of herbicides in tandem with GE crops has led to an epidemic of herbicide resistant weeds, and the next step in the chemical arms race is Dow Chemical’s 2,4-D, a chemical linked to major health problems including cancer, Parkinson’s disease, endocrine disruption, and reproductive problems.”

 

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​EPA advances approval of powerful weed killer for Dow’s ‘Agent Orange’ GMO crops

Published time: May 02, 2014 00:56
Edited time: May 03, 2014 14:35

Reuters / Doug Wilson / USDA
Photo / Handout

Reuters / Doug Wilson / USDA Photo / Handout

The US Environmental Protection Agency has revealed a proposal for mass use of Dow Chemical’s herbicide 2,4-D on the company’s genetically-engineered corn and soybeans. The GE crops were developed to withstand several herbicides, including 2,4-D.

Dow would be allowed to sell the herbicide if the EPA approves it following a 30-day public comment period.

The 2,4-D chemical, combined with glyphosate, makes up the herbicide Enlist Duo. 2,4-D also makes up half of the toxic mix in the now infamous ‘Agent Orange,’ used by the United States during the Vietnam War, which is thought to have resulted in the deaths of an estimated 400,000 people and birth defects in 500,000 others.

Dow’s genetically-engineered corn and soybeans – known as Enlist – have received preliminary approval from the US Department of Agriculture. Should Enlist crops win ultimate authorization, the USDA said that would increase the annual use of 2,4-D (2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid) in the United States from 26 million pounds per year to possibly 176 million pounds.

The crops are designed to withstand high doses of glyphosate – brought to market by biotech giant Monsanto as their Roundup weed killer – and 2,4-D. Dow’s corn and soybeans thus earned the derogatory name ‘Agent Orange’ crops by opponents of both the highly-toxic chemical mix and the controversial use of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) in large-scale agriculture.

 

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Roundup herbicide’s health risks recognized by Danish scientists

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 by: L.J. Devon, Staff Writer

glyphosate

(NaturalNews) Monsanto’s Roundup is coming under fire in Denmark as scientists awake to its effect on enzymes activities and the gastrointestinal health of mammals. Danish scientists are calling out for further investigation of the weed killer and other glyphosate-containing pesticides. Citing glyphosate’s potential for abuse on the health of livestock, the scientists report that the chemical is most dangerous during a mammal’s sensitive life stages.

Likewise, the weed killer has been proven to inhibit specific enzyme pathways in the guts of mammals — enzymes that play an important role in allowing the body to detoxify naturally.

Danish scientists recognize that glyphosate affects livestock at sensitive life stages

Current health assessments of livestock in Denmark show that genetically modified soy feed, which is doused with glyphosate, has negative effects on mammalian health. Scientists from Denmark’s Aarhus University investigated various farmer reports at the request of the Danish farm minister.

One of the scientists, Martin Tang Sorensen, hit the ground running, reviewing study after study identifying the risks that glyphosate poses to livestock health. Evidence pointed out that glyphosate impacts livestock the most during sensitive phases of the animal’s life.

Two hypotheses were studied and were of great concern to the researchers. The first investigated glyphosate’s damaging effect on the microorganisms in an animal’s gastrointestinal system. The second studied an animal’s mineral status as a secondary effect of glyphosate exposure.

Glyphosate disrupts good bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, leaving livestock more prone to infections

For cattle and poultry, glyphosate disrupts the natural “good” bacteria balance in the gut. This is evidenced by the recent uptick of Clostridium botulinum infections in cattle. In the past ten years in Germany, botulism infections have increased dramatically, showing how a diminished gastrointestinal tract favors the growth of infectious disease. For example, salmonella and clostridium were found to be highly resistant to glyphosate. At the same time, beneficial bacteria such as Enterococcus, Bacillus and Lactobacillus were found to be most susceptible, destroyed in the presence of glyphosate. Without enough good bacteria, the gut of the livestock becomes a nest for disease to replicate.

 

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Farm Wars

GM Soy Linked to Illnesses in Farm Pigs

Dr Eva Sirinathsinghji

Institute of Science in Society

Danish Farmer Reverses Illnesses in pigs by reverting to a GM-free diet for his animals, which is yet further evidence for the toxicity of glyphosate tolerant GM crops Dr Eva Sirinathsinghji

A Danish farmer has gained huge public recognition for publishing his simple method for ridding his pigs of illness- removing genetically modified (GM) ingredients from their diet.

Published in the farming magazine Effektivt Landbrug on 13 April 2012 [1], the farmer Ib Borup Perderson describes how his pigs suffered from symptoms including chronic diarrhoea, birth defects, reproductive problems, reduced appetite, bloating, stomach ulcers, weaker and smaller piglets, and reduced litter sizes. This was not just a problem for the animals themselves but also the profitability of the farm, with fewer healthy animals, mounting costs of medicines and added labour costs.

After researching the health hazards of GM foods and associated herbicides, Pederson decided to stop feeding his 450 sows with GM soybean, replacing them with fishmeal and non-GM soybean instead. He began to notice health benefits after two days of a GM-free diet. The farmer’s account has since been published in an English dossier compiled by scientist Brian John of GM-free Cymru (Wales), with collaboration from Pederson, published online by GM Watch [2].

This finding adds to the continual flow of new evidence appearing in peer-reviewed scientific studies, farmers’ reports and witness accounts of the devastating health impacts of glyphosate-based herbicides and the associated GM crops modified to tolerate it. Birth defects from glyphosate exposure were detected in the 1980s in lab animals performed by Monsanto (see [3] EU Regulators and Monsanto Exposed for Hiding Glyphosate Toxicity, SiS 51, [4] Lab Study Establishes Glyphosate Link to Birth Defects, SiS 48, 5 Glyphosate Kills Rat Testes Cells, SiS 54).  Residents of heavy agrochemical-use zones in Argentina have seen startling increases in birth defects, adult and human cancer rates as well as other illnesses (see [6] Argentina’s Roundup Human Tragedy, SiS 48, [7] Pesticide Illnesses and GM Soybeans, SiS 53). Argentinian tobacco farmers have recently filed a lawsuit against Monsanto for birth defects suffered by their children following claims by the corporation that the chemical was safe to use [8]. Animal feeding studies have shown GM soya feed to cause sterility, stunting and death in rats (see [9] GM Soya Fed Rats: Stunted, Dead, or Sterile, SiS 33). This is also not the first time that livestock illness including reproductive problems has been linked to glyphosate-tolerant crop derived feed. Professor Emeritus Don Huber of Perdue University, a senior scientist of USDA (US Department of Agriculture) has been studying crop health for over 20 years, and warned how reduced mineral content of glyphosate-tolerant crops lead to nutritional deficiencies in livestock that in turn cause reproductive problems (see [10] USDA Scientist Reveals All, SiS 53). Reduced mineral content in crops results from glyphosate’s metal chelating properties, rendering essential minerals unavailable. Nutrient deficiency effects are independent of direct glyphosate toxicity that causes endocrine disruption, birth defects and cancers among other illnesses.  The identification of a novel pathogen in glyphosate-treated crops, reproductive organs of livestock as well as aborted foetal tissue may also be a contributing factor (see [11]Emergency! Pathogen New to Science Found in Roundup Ready GM Crops?,SiS50).

Improvements in health with GMO-free diet

The dossier [2] presents following effects since removing GM produce from the pigs’ diets, as described by Pederson:

1. Within 2 days, diarrhoea virtually disappeared in the farrowing house, whereas before, 50-100 ml Borgal / day [an antibacterial drug] had to be used.

2. Since switching, there had been no death from bloat in sows or death by ulcers, as opposed to minimum 1 per month previously (36 sows died due to stomach related sickness over the last two years before switching).

3. No sows have died through loss of appetite, whereas 2 sows died from this cause last year.

4. Even without washing between farrowings, diarrhoea does not reappear; previously failing to wash between sows would result in more diarrhoea.

5. Previously the farmer had struggled with diarrhoea in first layer sows, no more problems there.

6. Two years ago when the diarrhoea was as its worst, there were months with nearly 30% dead in the farrowing house. At that time it was impossible to find sows that could nurse piglets.

7. Before it was unusual to have a sow with 13 piglets weaned. The average was about 10.5 per sow plus spare mothers. Now the farmer is getting over 12 piglets on average weaned and 14 piglets weaned per sow is common. There are fewer nursing sows, simply because the sows are milking better and eating more.

 

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Deformities, Sickness and Livestock Death

The Real Cost of GM Animal Feed?

by ANDREW WASLEY

At first glance the frozen bundles could be mistaken for conventional joints of meat. But as Ib Pedersen, a Danish pig farmer, lifts them carefully out of the freezer it becomes apparent they are in fact whole piglets – some horribly deformed, with growths or other abnormalities, others stunted.

This is the result, Pedersen claims, of feeding the animals a diet containing genetically modified (GM) ingredients. Or more specifically, he believes, feed made from GM soya and sprayed with the controversial herbicide glyphosate.

Pedersen, who produces 13,000 pigs a year and supplies Europe’s largest pork company Danish Crown, says he became so alarmed at the apparent levels of deformity, sickness, deaths, and poor productivity he was witnessing in his animals that he decided to experiment by changing their diet from GM to non-GM feed.

piglet

Danish pig farmer Ib Pedersen is convinced that GM animal feed, and the glyphosate herbicide in particular, is responsible for deformities and other defects in pigs

The results, he says, were remarkable: ”When using GM feed I saw symptoms of bloat, stomach ulcers, high rates of diarrhoea, pigs born with the deformities … but when I switched [to non GM feed] these problems went away, some within a matter of days.”

The farmer says that not only has the switch in diet improved the visible health of the pigs, it has made the farm more profitable, with less medicine use and higher productivity. “Less abortions, more piglets born in each litter, and breeding animals living longer.” He also maintains that man hours have been reduced, with less cleaning needed and fewer complications with the animals.

Inside the farmhouse, piles of paperwork are laid out across a vast table; print outs, reports, statistics, scientific research, correspondence. Pedersen shows me photos he says are of animals adversely affected by the GM feed – there’s more piglets with spinal deformities, their back legs dragging on the ground; others have visible problems with their faces, limbs or tails. There’s even a siamese twin – two animals joined at the head.

Pedersen believes these abnormalities, and the other problems, were caused – at least in part – by the presence of the herbicide glyphosate in his GM pig feed. Glyphosate is routinely sprayed on many soya and cereal crops to kill weeds and maximise yields.

Although it is used on conventional crops, its usage on GM soya and maize is particularly prevalent as the crops are engineered to be resistant to the chemical, killing the weeds but leaving the crop plants unaffected.

The introduction of GM crops resistant to glyphosate allowed crops to be sprayed with the herbicide to control weeds – often many times over a growing season – without killing the crop. But this also led to much higher levels of glyphosate in the plants and seeds.

After glyphosate-resistant strains of soy were introduced in 1996, EU regulators raised the allowed maximum residue limit (MRL) for glyphosate in imported soy 200-fold, from 0.1 mg/kg to 20 mg/kg.

Glyphosate use has become increasingly controversial in recent years, with a growing body of research, say campaigners, suggesting that exposure, even at low levels, can be harmful to animals and humans.

Studies have also suggested, claim critics, that the herbicide may disrupt the human endocrine system, which regulates the body’s biological processes, meaning that any level of exposure could pose a significant risk to health.

Such claims are vigorously refuted by the agro-chemical industry, who state the herbicide is safe and who accuse campaigners of touting flawed research, or manipulating the findings to suit their own agenda.

Pedersen claims that independent testing revealed all of his deformed pigs had glyphosate in their organs. He shows me a chart he suggests shows a clear correlation between the volume of glyphosate found in pig feed and higher numbers of cranial and spinal deformities. “The more glyphosate, the more deformities,” he says, bluntly.

Outside, along a muddy track through a number of arable fields – in addition to pigs, Pedersen produces strawberries, peas and potatoes – we come to the main pig house. It’s vast and crowded, efficient and noisy, with the unmistakable stink of pig waste. A factory farm.

Pedersen shows me the farrowing crates, the large bodies of the nursing sows squeezed under metal bars, surrounded by up to a dozen weaning piglets. He points out his best animals – the most productive, the veterans – and stops to check on those he has concerns about, examining a swollen joint here or an inflamed nipple there. Antibiotics are administered to one.

In the main hall the pigs move more freely, as they do in a series of smaller rooms where younger animals are kept as they grow. The farmer manually throws down handfuls of sandy-looking feed to supplement that available in the conical feed troughs. The feed mix, he explains, contains soya, fishmeal and other ingredients – but nothing of GM origin.

Pederson admits his work isn’t scientific but says the results should alarm people. He’s worried that many farmers have no idea of the potential impact of GM feed, and that the same is true for consumers: when using GM feed, he says, “Everything was down in the quagmire … We had eleven pigs die in one day.”

Deformities and deaths “the new normal”

The farmer’s research, and outspoken stance, provoked a storm of controversy in Danish agricultural circles after the respected farming publication Effektivt Landbrug featured the story, interviewing Pedersen in detail and referring to the pig farmers’ suggestion that DDT and thalidomide – linked to deformities in up to 10,000 babies – could be regarded as trivial compared to the potential risks from GM and glyphosate.

Critics accused him of scaremongering and slammed the findings as unscientific and “without merit” – pointing out that if the claims were true, thousands of other farmers using GM feed would be recording similar problems.

Despite this, Pedersen’s work has prompted the Danish Pig Research Centre (VSP) to announce an in-depth study to test the effects of GM and non-GM soya on animal health. The findings of the research have yet to be published.

And Pedersen’s findings are beginning to spread well beyond Denmark; earlier this month the German television channel ARD broadcast a documentary featuring the farmer’s claims, and Pedersen himself recently travelled to the UK to address a packed symposium at the House of Commons, organised by the All-Party Parliamentary Group On Agroecology.

Anti-GM campaigners say the findings are particularly compelling as the observations were made in a real farm setting, not a laboratory. Claire Robinson of GM Watch told The Ecologist.

 

 

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Drawing by Gonneke and released into public domain on Wikimedia Commons

 

The Cornucopia Institute logo and header

April 9th, 2014

Sustainable Pulse

  • Urine testing shows glyphosate levels over 10 times higher than in Europe
  • Initial testing shows Monsanto and Global regulatory bodies are wrong regarding bio-accumulation of glyphosate, leading to serious public health concerns
  • Testing commissioners urge USDA and EPA to place temporary ban on all use of Glyphosate-based herbicides to protect public health, until further more comprehensive testing of glyphosate in breast milk is completed.

In the first ever testing on glyphosate herbicide in the breast milk of American women, Moms Across America and Sustainable Pulse have found ‘high’ levels in 3 out of the 10 samples tested. The shocking results point to glyphosate levels building up in women’s bodies over a period of time, which has until now been refuted by both global regulatory authorities and the biotech industry.

The levels found in the breast milk testing of 76 ug/l to 166 ug/l are 760 to 1600 times higher than the European Drinking Water Directive allows for individual pesticides. They are however less than the 700 ug/l maximum contaminant level (MCL) for glyphosate in the U.S., which was decided upon by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) based on the now seemingly false premise that glyphosate was not bio-accumulative.

 

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Published time: February 27, 2014 01:20

A farmer tills a rice paddy field on the outskirts of Colombo, Sri Lanka (Reuters / Andrew Caballero-Reynolds)

A farmer tills a rice paddy field on the outskirts of Colombo, Sri Lanka (Reuters / Andrew Caballero-Reynolds)

A heretofore inexplicable fatal, chronic kidney disease that has affected poor farming regions around the globe may be linked to the use of biochemical giant Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide in areas with hard water, a new study has found.

The new study was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

Researchers suggest that Roundup, or glyphosate, becomes highly toxic to the kidney once mixed with “hard” water or metals like arsenic and cadmium that often exist naturally in the soil or are added via fertilizer. Hard water contains metals like calcium, magnesium, strontium, and iron, among others. On its own, glyphosate is toxic, but not detrimental enough to eradicate kidney tissue.

The glyphosate molecule was patented as a herbicide by Monsanto in the early 1970s. The company soon brought glyphosate to market under the name “Roundup,” which is now the most commonly used herbicide in the world.

The hypothesis helps explain a global rash of the mysterious, fatal Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown etiology (CKDu) that has been found in rice paddy regions of northern Sri Lanka, for example, or in El Salvador, where CKDu is the second leading cause of death among males.

Furthermore, the study’s findings explain many observations associated with the disease, including the linkage between the consumption of hard water and CKDu, as 96 percent of patients have been found to have consumed “hard or very hard water for at least five years, from wells that receive their supply from shallow regolith aquifers.”

 

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Lethality of Roundup ‘Weedkiller’ Extends Beyond Plants To Humans, Study Suggests

Lethality of Roundup 'Weedkiller' Extends Beyond Plants To Humans, Study Suggests

A shocking new study finds that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide, “…may be the most biologically disruptive chemical in our environment,” capable of contributing to a wide range of fatal human diseases.

Glyphosate is the world’s most popular herbicide and is designed to kill all but genetically modified “Roundup Ready” plants, such as GM corn, soy, beet, cottonseed and canola.  Over 180 million pounds of the chemical are now applied to US soils each year,[ii] and while agrichemical manufacturers and government regulators have considered it ‘relatively safe,’ an expanding body of biomedical research indicates that it may cause over 30 distinct adverse health effects in exposed populations at far lower concentrations than used in agricultural applications.

The new report, authored by Stephanie Seneff, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Anthony Samsel, a retired science consultant from Arthur D. Little, Inc., brings to the forefront concerns voiced by an outspoken minority that Roundup and related glyphosate herbicide formulations are contributing to diseases as far-ranging as inflammatory bowel disease, anorexia, cystic fibrosis, cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and infertility.   In fact, the authors propose that glyphosate, contrary to being essentially nontoxic, “…may be the most biologically disruptive chemical in our environment.

The researchers identified the inhibition and/or disruption of cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes as a hitherto overlooked mechanism of toxicity associated with glyphosate exposure in mammals.

CYP enzymes are essential for detoxifying xenobiotic chemicals from the body. Glyphosate therefore enhances the damaging effects of other food borne chemical residues and environmental toxins.  The researchers also showed how interference with CYP enzymes acts synergistically with disruption of the biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids by gut bacteria (e.g. tryptophan), as well as impairment in serum sulfate transport, a critical biological system for cellular detoxification (e.g. transulfuration pathway which detoxifies metals).

 

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The patent case pits the future of biotechnology innovation against high farm prices. For now, it looks like innovation is winning.

WASHINGTON — Monsanto’s patent for genetically modified soybeans appears safe in the Supreme Court’s hands. And that’s good news for innovations in biotechnology, computer software and other self-replicating products.

The biggest mystery arising from the justices’ 70-minute consideration Tuesday of an Indiana farmer’s challenge to Monsanto, in fact, was why they had agreed to hear the case at all, since two lower courts already had ruled for Monsanto.

In a classic case of David vs. Goliath, 75-year-old Vernon Hugh Bowman is challenging the agribusiness giant’s patent on soybeans that are resistant to the weed killer Roundup. He bought his first batch of “Roundup Ready” seeds from Monsanto but then bought a cheaper mixture from a grain elevator that included some Monsanto seeds.

It’s the third generation of seeds that’s at issue in the case, because Bowman then began replanting his own herbicide-resistant seeds — and that violated Monsanto’s patent, the company claims.

From Tuesday’s oral arguments, it didn’t seem Bowman had a vote in the room. “You cannot make copies of a patented invention,” said Justice Stephen Breyer.

It’s for that reason Monsanto has required farmers using its seeds to sign an agreement promising not to save and replant harvested seeds. But even if there was no license, the justices seemed to doubt Bowman’s right to create new generations of identical seed under patent law.

Bowman’s attorney, Mark Walters, argued that Monsanto’s patent rights were exhausted after the farmer bought his second round of seeds from the grain elevator. If that was not the case, he said, every grain elevator would be violating the patent, because Monsanto seeds are ubiquitous.

Besides, Walters argued, Bowman’s use of grain elevator seeds “is never going to be a threat to Monsanto’s business.”

 

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Farmers Cope With Roundup-Resistant Weeds

Christopher Berkey for The New York Times
Jason Hamlin, a certified crop adviser and agronomist, looks for weeds resistant to glyphosate in Dyersburg, Tenn.
By WILLIAM NEUMAN and ANDREW POLLACK
Published: May 3, 2010

Invasion of the Superweeds

Michael Pollan and others on what Roundup-resistant weeds mean for American agriculture.

But not this year.

On a recent afternoon here, Mr. Anderson watched as tractors crisscrossed a rolling field — plowing and mixing herbicides into the soil to kill weeds where soybeans will soon be planted.

Just as the heavy use of antibiotics contributed to the rise of drug-resistant supergerms, American farmers’ near-ubiquitous use of the weedkiller Roundup has led to the rapid growth of tenacious new superweeds.

To fight them, Mr. Anderson and farmers throughout the East, Midwest and South are being forced to spray fields with more toxic herbicides, pull weeds by hand and return to more labor-intensive methods like regular plowing.

“We’re back to where we were 20 years ago,” said Mr. Anderson, who will plow about one-third of his 3,000 acres of soybean fields this spring, more than he has in years. “We’re trying to find out what works.”

Farm experts say that such efforts could lead to higher food prices, lower crop yields, rising farm costs and more pollution of land and water.

“It is the single largest threat to production agriculture that we have ever seen,” said Andrew Wargo III, the president of the Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts.

The first resistant species to pose a serious threat to agriculture was spotted in a Delaware soybean field in 2000. Since then, the problem has spread, with 10 resistant species in at least 22 states infesting millions of acres, predominantly soybeans, cotton and corn.

The superweeds could temper American agriculture’s enthusiasm for some genetically modified crops. Soybeans, corn and cotton that are engineered to survive spraying with Roundup have become standard in American fields. However, if Roundup doesn’t kill the weeds, farmers have little incentive to spend the extra money for the special seeds.

Roundup — originally made by Monsanto but now also sold by others under the generic name glyphosate — has been little short of a miracle chemical for farmers. It kills a broad spectrum of weeds, is easy and safe to work with, and breaks down quickly, reducing its environmental impact.

Sales took off in the late 1990s, after Monsanto created its brand of Roundup Ready crops that were genetically modified to tolerate the chemical, allowing farmers to spray their fields to kill the weeds while leaving the crop unharmed. Today, Roundup Ready crops account for about 90 percent of the soybeans and 70 percent of the corn and cotton grown in the United States.

But farmers sprayed so much Roundup that weeds quickly evolved to survive it. “What we’re talking about here is Darwinian evolution in fast-forward,” Mike Owen, a weed scientist at Iowa State University, said.

 

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Who Owns Seeds? Monsanto Says Not You

Published: Friday, 15 Feb 2013 | 1:40 PM ET

By: CNBC Reporter

Say you’re a Hollywood studio who spent a couple hundred million dollars on a blockbuster movie. Someone buys it on DVD, and then proceeds to copy the DVD and sell those copies at a profit.

That would be against the law.

Can you make the same argument about buying patented seeds to grow a crop, and then keeping some of that first crop to reap seeds and grow a second crop? A third?

 

Play Video

The United States Supreme Court will decide that in a case involving a 75-year-old farmer from Indiana named Vernon Bowman. Monsanto sued Bowman in 2007, claiming the farmer has for years used seeds reaped from a first crop of Monsanto Roundup Ready soybean seeds to grow another crop.

Monsanto said that violates its patent, as farmers sign an agreement when they buy the seeds to only use them once. The resulting crop can be sold for things like feed or oil, not to create another generation of seeds.

From Monsanto’s perspective, what Bowman has done is like the farming version of Napster. From the farmer’s perspective, to force him to buy new seeds every year is a monopoly, and Monsanto’s patent should “expire” after the first crop.

Monsanto won in lower court, but Bowman has appealed, and in a move that caught corporate America off guard, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case next Tuesday.

 

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Crossroads News : Changes In The World Around Us And Our Place In It

Corporate Assault on Our Lives And Our Health  :  Chemicals – Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)

Superweeds linked to rising herbicide use in GM crops

by Staff Writers
Pullman, WA (SPX)


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A study published this week by Washington State University research professor Charles Benbrook finds that the use of herbicides in the production of three genetically modified herbicide-tolerant crops – cotton, soybeans and corn – has actually increased.

This counterintuitive finding is based on an exhaustive analysis of publicly available data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agriculture Statistics Service. Benbrook’s analysis is the first peer-reviewed, published estimate of the impacts of genetically engineered (GE) herbicide-resistant (HT) crops on pesticide use.

In the study, which appeared in the the open-access, peer-reviewed journal “Environmental Sciences Europe,” Benbrook writes that the emergence and spread of glyphosate-resistant weeds is strongly correlated with the upward trajectory in herbicide use.

Marketed as Roundup and other trade names, glyphosate is a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide used to kill weeds. Approximately 95 percent of soybean and cotton acres, and over 85 percent of corn, are planted to varieties genetically modified to be herbicide resistant.

“Resistant weeds have become a major problem for many farmers reliant on GE crops, and are now driving up the volume of herbicide needed each year by about 25 percent,” Benbrook said.

The annual increase in the herbicides required to deal with tougher-to-control weeds on cropland planted to GE cultivars has grown from 1.5 million pounds in 1999 to about 90 million pounds in 2011.

Herbicide-tolerant crops worked extremely well in the first few years of use, Benbrook’s analysis shows, but over-reliance may have led to shifts in weed communities and the spread of resistant weeds that force farmers to increase herbicide application rates (especially glyphosate), spray more often, and add new herbicides that work through an alternate mode of action into their spray programs.

A detailed summary of the study’s major findings, along with important definitions of terms used in the study, are available online.

Benbrook’s study, “Impacts of genetically engineered crops on pesticide use in the U.S. – the first sixteen years,” is available online.

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