A nationally known organic seed producer faces contamination of their farm from a proposed cement plant and asphalt production facility. The City Council in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, will decide on Monday, August 21, 2017 whether they will sell 365 acres of city owned land for a cement plant and regional offices. The property is located next to Meadowlark Hearth Farm, which grows organic/biodynamic seeds. The farm sells its select variety of seeds to gardeners and farmers throughout the United States. During a recent Health Impact News interview, Beth Corymb explained that EPA regulations will not remove all the threats to their farm. She described the message that she delivered to Scottsbluff officials and to the local representative from Croell, Inc. Beth Corymb stated: "I tried to show them that we are not against industry coming into the area – we just don’t want it in an area where we are trying to do agriculture. We don’t want to see an industrial project created here for several reasons." Earlier this year, the City of Scottsbluff privately negotiated a contract with Croell, Inc. to sell its 365-acre parcel. When the intended sale became public and opposition from the greater community was voiced at the city council meeting, Councilman Scott Shaver took note. He objected when a proposal from other council members was made to bypass the standard process for the sale of the property. The third and last review of the ordinance, and the last opportunity for public comment, will be on Monday August 21, 2017.
A $66 billion buyout by the German pharmaceutical giant Bayer could make it harder for consumers to avoid products from the biotech behemoth. The number of companies controlling our food supply is about to shrink even further now that Bayer has bought Monsanto for $66 billion in cash, creating the world’s largest seed and pesticide company. The new megacorporation will control 25% of the world’s seeds and pesticides. Along with two other proposed biotech mergers, three companies will soon control the lion’s share of the world’s agricultural services, from seed production, to the herbicide and pesticide sprays that go on them, to the biotechnology used to produce them all. Monsanto/Bayer, Dow/DuPont, and Syngenta/ChemChina will sell 59% of the world’s seeds and 64% of the world pesticides.
Seeds represent the foundation of life. We depend on them for food, for medicine and for our very survival. In many ways, you can trace the underpinnings of any given culture through the heritage of their crops and seeds. It wasn’t long ago when seeds were mostly the concern of farmers who, as the Worldwatch Institute put it, “were the seed producers and the guardians of societies’ crop heritage." But this is no longer the case. Once considered to be the property of all, like water or even air, seeds have become largely privatized, such that only a handful of companies now control the global food supply. Ninety-three percent of seeds were lost from 1903 to 1993. Just four agrichemical companies own 43 percent of the world’s commercial seed supply. The Millennium Seed Bank Partnership estimates that 60,000 to 100,000 plant species are in danger of extinction.
The introduction of genetically engineered (GE) crops has corresponded with increasing monopolization of seed by biotechnology companies and higher seed costs. This has led to tragedies in some countries, while pushing out conventional, non-GE seeds and reducing farmer seed choices. Four companies now control 40 percent of the seed market, and the problem is particularly bad in the U.S. with the government subsidized corn and soybean seed markets.
This report provides yet another distressing example of how Monsanto and its ilk have a stranglehold over the global food supply and how it does everything it can — including influence U.S. diplomacy — to silence people who only want to make informed choices about the food they feed their families. An overwhelming number of farmers in the developing world reject biotech crops as a path to sustainable agricultural development or food sovereignty. The biotech agriculture model using costly seeds and agrichemicals forces farmers onto a debt treadmill that is neither economically nor environmentally viable. Biotech Ambassadors: How the U.S. State Department Promotes the Seed Industry’s Global Agenda examines more than 900 State Department diplomatic cables from 2005 to 2009 and details how the U.S. State Department lobbies foreign governments to adopt pro-agricultural biotechnology policies and laws, operates a rigorous public relations campaign to improve the image of biotechnology and challenges commonsense biotechnology safeguards and rules — including opposing genetically engineered (GE) food labeling laws.
On Monday May 6th a draconian new law was put before the European Commission, which creates new powers to classify and regulate all plant life anywhere in Europe. The "Plant Reproductive Material Law" will regulate all plants. It contains immediate restrictions on reproduction of vegetables and woodland trees, while creating powers to restrict all other plants of any other species at a later date. Under the new law, it will immediately be illegal to grow, reproduce or trade any vegetable seed or tree that has not been tested, approved and accepted by a new "EU Plant Variety Agency". Moreover, an annual fee must also be paid to the Agency if that particular variety is to be used by anyone.
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Graphic by Phil Howard, Assistant Professor, Michigan State University
Full graphic click here (can zoom in).
By Ken Roseboro
The Organic and Non-GMO Report
One of the claims made by proponents of genetically modified crops is that GM technology increases farmers’ seed choices. They also claim that farmers in countries that restrict GMO production have fewer […]