Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Round-Up Reality: Mother Nature Always Wins Out

Monsanto has made a killing patenting and forcibly selling their Round-Up resistant seeds to farmers across the country and around the world. In an effort to get more crops out of an acre, the Monsanto GMOs promised to relieve farmers from tilling their crops and saying goodbye to weeds forever. The only problem was that engineers and executives at Monsanto and other GMO companies forgot that as much as they wanted to play god, it was never going to work out that way in the end. All it did was make mother nature mad.

From The NY Times:

Now, Roundup-resistant weeds like horseweed and giant ragweed are forcing farmers to go back to more expensive techniques that they had long ago abandoned.

Mr. Anderson, the farmer, is wrestling with a particularly tenacious species of glyphosate-resistant pest called Palmer amaranth, or pigweed, whose resistant form began seriously infesting farms in western Tennessee only last year.

Pigweed can grow three inches a day and reach seven feet or more, choking out crops; it is so sturdy that it can damage harvesting equipment. In an attempt to kill the pest before it becomes that big, Mr. Anderson and his neighbors are plowing their fields and mixing herbicides into the soil.

These developments have irritated our nations farmers to say the least. What that means to companies like Monsanto is that prices are going to come down, way down. Sadly though in the decade or two that it took the genetic engineering company to dominate the market, agriculture has rapidly devolved into producing just a few crops, primarily corn and soybeans. Even worse, the profits Monsanto made were mostly hoisted on the backs of farmers from Iowa to Bangalore.