I have a lot on my plate this week, but I had to take a few moments to respond to a new report
from the Union of Concerned Scientists. The report is called “Eight Ways Monsanto Fails at Sustainable Agriculture.” It’s a bunch of crap.
To start with, it makes sense that the group is not called the Union of Concerned Economists. If it were, half of their eight bullet points would have succinct answers. I’m speaking of promoting pesticide resistance, increased herbicide use, expanding monoculture and marginalizing alternatives.
I would argue all four of these points are a result of increased corn and soybean prices. To put the blame on Monsanto is ridiculous. It’s akin to saying people are dying in car accidents; and Honda is to blame.
It’s true that many weeds are developing resistance to glyphosate. They’re also developing resistance to a number of other modes of action. Our capitalistic (not socialist) country gives corporations such as Monsanto the freedom to market and sell its products as it sees fit. It also allows farmers to make their own decisions as to what seed to plant. When corn prices are well above $6 a bushel, what do you think farmers will plant?
Had the UCS had an economist on board, perhaps they could have pointed out that ethanol production, fund investment in commodities and China’s growing demand for protein are all to blame for increased corn prices. Since farmers are savvy businessmen, wouldn’t it make sense they would want to maximize the amount of corn they can grow each year? It just so happens that Monsanto’s technology allows many farmers to realize this goal.
If the first seven Monsanto failures weren’t enough to send me into a rage, the last really pushed me over the edge – “Falling short on feeding the world.” What?!!! UCS’ first seven points rip on Monsanto for incorporating technologies that boost overall food production, then they have the gall to create a Catch 22 within their own list?
Even if you think UCS has valid points about sustainability, it’s complete garbage they single out Monsanto. There are a number of other ag chemical and seed companies working on exactly the same thing, i.e. boosting corn production. Blaming just one is ignorant. Not to mention, didn’t the EPA sign off on all of these technologies?