Leading Environmental Activist’s Confession: I Was Completely Wrong To Oppose GMO's

Grieves

Senior Member
Good God, what a pile of tripe.

The 'health risks' associated with GMO's are entirely debatable, but what's not is the fact that they're an effort by companies like Monsanto to make a commodity of the food-chain. Sound like a wild, crazy conspiracy?
*”What you are seeing is not just a consolidation of seed companies, it’s really a consolidation of the entire food chain” – Robert Fraley, co-president of Monsanto’s agricultural sector 1996, in the Farm Journal.
Not so much now, eh?

The most ludicrous point in the article would have to be

Moreover, the reason why big companies dominate the industry is that anti-GMO activists and policymakers have made it too difficult for small startups to enter the field

To suggest massive corporations like Monsanto would gladly share their rapidly expanding corner of the global food market with 'small start-up GMOs', whatever the hell those would be, if only the bully activists and regulators would leave them alone, is about as cynically stupid an implication as could ever be made. These are the same companies that sue American farmers when their previously natural crops are unintentionally pollinated by GMO crops.
 

MikeC

Closed Account
Of course they are making food a commodity - because that is what it has always been. And of course they seek to maximize profit - again - that is what people have always done.

You seem to be suggesting private enterprise trying to make a profit is a secret conspiracy!
 

Jay Reynolds

Senior Member.
Don't underestimate the capabilities of many countries overseas for development of GMO technology. They are already very strong in pharmaceutical-related genetic engineering. If first-world countries fall behind because the field becomes too difficult here, the third world will take over.

All so-called "natural" crops have always been subject to genetic pollution from even other "natural" crops. The lawsuits you speak of have always been found to be intentional planting of patented seeds, not "natural" crops being genetically polluted by GMO crops.
 

Grieves

Senior Member
I wager his radical change had something to do with a fairly large sum of money.

There's an argument that GMO's have abnormal properties which screw about with people's internal chemistry, even tampering with their DNA to an extent, but that's on the extreme side of the debate, and I certainly have my doubts. The less debatable issue is that companies like Monsanto are making a concerted effort to turn agriculture on a global scale into corporate capital.

There's no big mystery surrounding GMO's really, and the science isn't always quite as complex as it sounds, albeit sometimes it's rather more. In the eighties if I remember correctly a patent was filed for an engineered bacteria that consumes oil. The patent office turned them down on the basis lifeforms are explicitly not available for patent. At that time only isolated biological components could be patented, things like adrenaline, for example. Those seeking the patent (probably Monsanto, but I'm not entirely sure.) appealed to the legislature, and using diagrams and descriptions more akin to chemicals than bacteria, and espousing the environmental need for such a product, convinced congress to pass a law allowing for genetically modified organisms to be patented.
Ever since GMO's have expanded well beyond the realm of bacteria, producing such odd but perhaps beneficial organisms as Mosquitos that are malaria resistant. I'd even heard there'd been contemplations of Mosquitos which could carry a malaria vaccine.

One of the less complex but far more profitable uses of GMO's is to produce specific 'brands' of corn/wheat/rice, ect, which can be easily identified when tested. The companies which produce these 'name brand' seeds, primarily Monsanto, then advertise the great benefits of these seeds, how the resulting plants might be bigger/have greater yield/drain the soil less/prove more hardy/contain pest repellants 'naturally', just as one might any other product. Also just as with any other product, sometimes the claims seem to be embellishments, and so things don't work out quite as hoped. Monsanto very often contracts out this seed, so just like that pesky cell-phone contract that doesn't work out but can't be got rid of for a year or two, farmers find themselves bound to these seeds for years at a time. In the Indian cotton-belt for example, Monsanto contracted out large amounts of the cottonseed on the promise of a better plant. It didn't pan out, yields decreased, and suicide rates among the farming community apparently spiked considerably as farmers were locked in their contracts which couldn't produce living wages, and sank them into crushing debt.The contacts also forbid farmers from saving the seeds their plants produce, obligating the farmers to buy new seed each new crop-season where non-perennials are concerned, or even I've heard in the case of some perennials, requiring farmers to raze their plants after harvest. I can't confirm that last point, though.

There's also been allegations Monsanto has prosecuted farmers when their crops have been inseminated by the pollen from Monsanto plants for patent violation, though Monsanto states this accusation was only a single case, and it was proven false in the Supreme Court of Canada. This particular case was apparently featured in the documentary Food Inc.
Theres a portion of the Monsanto statement in regards to that case which I found rather interesting however:
If a suspected instance of a farmer violating our technology agreements or patent rights is reported to us, we do not automatically assume a farmer has intentionally acted in an unethical or criminal manner. The burden of proof is not on the farmer. Instead, the burden of proof is on Monsanto to investigate the legitimacy of these claims and to resolve the issue as quickly and fairly as possible, which usually does not lead to litigation.
So they directly state they take it upon themselves to investigate issues of patent violation, meaning that if they suspect you're using their seed illegally, they'll show up at your farm to run tests/ask questions. Whether they do so in all humility and politeness or there are levels of intimidation involved, it seems to me a rather overly authoritative stance for a seed-vendor to take.

Monsanto's exceedingly successful efforts aren't secret by any stretch, they're publicly documented. Whether the spread of their products, which is undeniably occurring and sometimes the stated intention, into the rest of the environment is having a negative influence on natural ecosystems, or if genetically modified food has a negative influence on health is up for debate, though the big money, figuratively and literally, is on Monsanto in that issue. Still, they aren't at all the world-saving products Monsanto advertises them as, and the more clearly legitimate concerns are with what corporate control of the global agriculture system would mean for people and their livelihood, and there's little to no question that's Monsanto's dream.
Indeed food could be described as a commodity, but agriculture is the staple food-source of most human beings on the planet. Corporate interests already have control over a vast percentage of food distribution planet wide, and it hasn't had an overly positive influence on starvation figures. Corporate monopoly of agriculture from the soil up isn't likely to lead to the utopian world of surplus Monsanto's PR department would have us believe, given maximum profit is the mandated goal.

It's not a secret conspiracy, but it is entirely unprecedented, and the socio-economic implications, including the influence it could have on starvation in impoverished nations, are ominous, the environmental/health debates aside.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
This does seem more like a science/pseudoscience discussion than a conspiracy theory. But there are certainly conspiracy elements.
 

Grieves

Senior Member
There are some pretty wild theories associated with Monsanto. That they're intentionally engaging in global genocide efforts and putting sterilizing agents in their GMO's to reduce the world population are some of them. I'm more of the opinion their primary concern is making as much money/gaining as much of a sustainable monopoly as possible. That a lot of people might starve probably doesn't enter much into their thought-process beyond being a PR concern.
 

HappyMonday

Moderator
This does seem more like a science/pseudoscience discussion than a conspiracy theory. But there are certainly conspiracy elements.

I hovered over the 'pseudoscience' forum for it,but opted for here. Monsanto are linked to chemtrails fairly regularly by CT's in #chemtrails on Twitter.
 

MikeC

Closed Account
There are some pretty wild theories associated with Monsanto. That they're intentionally engaging in global genocide efforts and putting sterilizing agents in their GMO's to reduce the world population are some of them. I'm more of the opinion their primary concern is making as much money/gaining as much of a sustainable monopoly as possible. That a lot of people might starve probably doesn't enter much into their thought-process beyond being a PR concern.

AFAIK while it appears that using Monsanto crops doesn't necessarily increase yields I am unaware of any information suggesting that it decreases them.

So why do you think anyone is going to starve because of Monsanto?
 

PCWilliams

Senior Member.
There are some pretty wild theories associated with Monsanto. That they're intentionally engaging in global genocide efforts and putting sterilizing agents in their GMO's to reduce the world population are some of them. I'm more of the opinion their primary concern is making as much money/gaining as much of a sustainable monopoly as possible. That a lot of people might starve probably doesn't enter much into their thought-process beyond being a PR concern.

Mark Lynas makes the opposite points in his speech (http://vimeo.com/56745320). He says WITHOUT GMOs more people will starve to death; GMOs will feed more people and save lives.

This got me thinking - don't conspiracists believe the NWO is out to reduce the world's population? If Mark Lynas is correct, being anti-GMO is being pro-NWO!!!

I love flipping conspiracy theories on their head.
 

Grieves

Senior Member
AFAIK while it appears that using Monsanto crops doesn't necessarily increase yields I am unaware of any information suggesting that it decreases them.

So why do you think anyone is going to starve because of Monsanto?

Because they're a corporate entity who's primary concern is maximum profit. There's nothing special or unique about this position, it's in fact the mandated stance of most all corporations, but where Monsanto is concerned this profit-drive involves a stated goal and a so far very successful effort to consolidate global agriculture under their directorship. Profit motivation doesn't allow for the willful taking of losses. If you can't understand why a corporate monopoly of the agricultural process and all staple food-stuffs is a dangerous prospect, you have a weak grasp of how food markets work in the world today.

There's a really spectacular documentary film called Darwin's Nightmare I encourage anyone reading this to watch. It doesn't relate to GMO's specifically, but details who the globalized food market really helps and who it really hurts, centered around the African nation of Tanzania and the crushing starvation they endure. Legally obliged not to fish their own lakes as all are Corporate-owned, the majority of people have to live off the scraps of the fishing factories, literally surviving on fish-heads, bones, and guts. Those lucky enough to get jobs in the fishing factories are payed wages we'd consider atrocious, but which is just livable in Tanzania. The thing is these factories are producing hundreds and hundreds of tons of fish that could -easily- feed the starving nation, but instead all the fish is shipped to North America/Europe, where far higher profits can be achieved. North America has absolutely no 'need' for the fish products produced in Tanzania, we just enjoy having access to foreign fish, and are willing to pay more for it than starving people ever could.
There's nothing criminal about these practices, it's just how corporations make high profits. It also happens to lead to starvation.

Consider what that same structure would look like applied to every corn, wheat, and rice farm on the planet. Monsanto has no plans of taking losses in order to end starvation. A monopoly of agriculture would however allow them to heavily influence pricing, and many of their contracts already oblige farmers to sell on the global market rather than locally to further influence global food prices. Now what do you think is likely to have a more positive effect on Monsanto's profit margin, raising food prices or lowering them? The answer to that question explains why a monopoly of agriculture is quite likely to, and already has in places lead to increased starvation.

An example:

GM soy was approved for cultivation in Argentina in 1996. When Argentina approved the cultivation of GMO in 1996 14 million acres were used for soy production and by 2008 that area grew to 42 million acres.[205] The growth was driven by Argentine investors' interest in buying or leasing land on which to grow soy for the export market.[205] The consolidation has led to a decrease in production of many staples such as milk, rice, maize, potatoes and lentils, and about 150,000 small farmers have left the countryside because they could no longer make a living (as they could not afford GM soya) or were driven off their land.

So while wealthier nations enjoyed an abundance of trendy soy-products, and Monsanto/Investors made a killing, Argentinian farmers who couldn't afford to enter the GM market were starved/forced off of their land, and left Argentina with a dangerous shortage of essential foodstuffs.
 

Grieves

Senior Member
Don't get me wrong here though. I'm not suggesting GMO's are a problem in and of themselves, and there's a lot of potential for the technology to do some good if used and tested properly, so long as the concerns of health/environmental risks are just concerns. What I take issue with is the effort to patent food-staples on a global scale, and dominate agriculture as just another branch of a single corporate structure. That's a major, major problem so far as I'm concerned, and de-regulating GMO's are by no means going to weaken those efforts.
 

Jay Reynolds

Senior Member.
Grieves, I have a lot of problem with almost everything you are saying. So much bunk. If I have time, it can be debunked, but you need to be aware that to me you seem incredibly misled.
 

Jay Reynolds

Senior Member.
I suppose I should start with your last claim:

[QUOTEGrieves]GM soy was approved for cultivation in Argentina in 1996. When Argentina approved the cultivation of GMO in 1996 14 million acres were used for soy production and by 2008 that area grew to 42 million acres.[205] The growth was driven by Argentine investors' interest in buying or leasing land on which to grow soy for the export market.[205] shortage of essential foodstuffs and about 150,000 small farmers have left the countryside because they could no longer make a living (as they could not afford GM soya) or were driven off their land.

So while wealthier nations enjoyed an abundance of trendy soy-products, and Monsanto/Investors made a killing, Argentinian farmers who couldn't afford to enter the GM market were starved/forced off of their land, and left Argentina with a dangerous shortage of essential foodstuffs. [/QUOTE]

Argentina milk production has not declined:
http://www.indexmundi.com/agriculture/?country=ar&commodity=milk&graph=production

Argentina's rice production, some decline after 1998, butit went back up higher than before:
http://www.indexmundi.com/agriculture/?country=ar&commodity=milled-rice&graph=production

Argentina Maize/corn, steady increase higher than before GMO soy:
http://www.indexmundi.com/agriculture/?country=ar&commodity=corn&graph=production

Argentina lentil production was in decline before GMO soya was introduced:
http://www.indexmundi.com/agriculture/?country=ar&commodity=corn&graph=production

Argentina potato production higher than before GMO soya was introduced:
http://www.geohive.com/charts/ag_potato.aspx

So, where is this "dangerous shortage of essential foodstuffs"?
It is certainly not in the crops you mentioned......
 

Jay Reynolds

Senior Member.
Show the evidence for these claims, Grieves:
1."many of their contracts already oblige farmers to sell on the global market rather than locally "
2, "farmers find themselves bound to these seeds for years at a time"
3."Monsanto contracted out large amounts of the cottonseed on the promise of a better plant. It didn't pan out, yields decreased, and suicide rates among the farming community apparently spiked considerably as farmers were locked in their contracts which couldn't produce living wages, and sank them into crushing debt."

Tanzania appears to have insignificant fish exports to the US:
http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/e...f_fis_and_she-trade-us-imports-fish-shellfish

You seem overly dependant on "documentaries" for your statements. I'd advise you to look further into things for yourself since many of these are not documentaries in the 'show all sides of an argument' form but rather are advocacy propaganda films.
 

Jay Reynolds

Senior Member.
I wager his radical change had something to do with a fairly large sum of money..

The OPed article read:

Slate article said:
Now the question is, will his former anti-GMO fellows heed his urge to review the science—or will they call him a turncoat shill for Monsanto?

Grieves, what makes you say what you said?
 

Jay Reynolds

Senior Member.
http://e360.yale.edu/feature/britains_mark_lynas_riles_his_green_movement_allies/2449/

Mark Lynas said:
They believe in what they’re doing, but these people are nuts. And they’re doing real harm by spreading fear

Yale e360 said:
e360: In your book, you argue that GMOs [genetically modified organisms] are a win-win for the environment and also an important tool in the fight against climate change. But in 2008, in an article for the Guardian, you wrote that, “the technology moves entirely in the wrong direction, intensifying human technologies and manipulation of nature, when we should be aiming at a more holistic ecological approach.” What caused you to change your mind?

Mark Lynas said:
Lynas: Well, I actually refer to that article in my new book as being a real turning point. To be brutally honest, the article was something I’d dashed off in 20 minutes without doing any research. And it was reading some of the online comments from readers, just pointing out that I didn’t know what the hell I was talking about, which really brought me up short. And I decided at that point, basically, to shut up for awhile and do some reading, which I then did for two years. I didn’t write about this issue again for a while, right up until the book. But I think what gave me the courage to just be honest with others about this was reading Stewart Brand’s recent book [Whole Earth Discipline: An Eco-Pragmatist Manifesto] because he really just lays it down straight and I thought, “Well, if he can put it in these terms, so can I.”
 

Grieves

Senior Member
In regards to your first point, Jay:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/2062771.stm

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2003/02/arge-f22.html

http://www.argentinaindependent.com/tag/starvation/

There's some articles from 2001-2008 describing how many Argentine people are starving to death, including large numbers of children. Slight increases in growth does not equal sufficient food-staples for healthy human survival, especially when your economy is largely an export market. The fact is that if those 150k farmers were still working, and those 42 million acres of land were producing food for Argentina, there would unquestionably be significantly less starvation. Kind of odd that your research of what's 'dangerous' stopped at the economic. It's the people that concern me, not the GDP. Though food production isn't as bad as it was (roughly 50% decline of rice production in a single year for a country with a hungry and growing Population is crushing) the people are still starving, and the levels of suffering between now and then for Argentina's poor have been high.

Show the evidence for these claims, Grieves:
1."many of their contracts already oblige farmers to sell on the global market rather than locally "
2, "farmers find themselves bound to these seeds for years at a time"
3."Monsanto contracted out large amounts of the cottonseed on the promise of a better plant. It didn't pan out, yields decreased, and suicide rates among the farming community apparently spiked considerably as farmers were locked in their contracts which couldn't produce living wages, and sank them into crushing debt."

Tanzania appears to have insignificant fish exports to the US:
http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/ec...fish-shellfish

You seem overly dependant on "documentaries" for your statements. I'd advise you to look further into things for yourself since many of these are not documentaries in the 'show all sides of an argument' form but rather are advocacy propaganda films.

1. The prices Monsanto charges for it's contracts are high, and when a local farmer in a third world country opts to work with Monsanto, it's very often with the monetary requirement that they sell on the global market. This isn't a binding clause so far as I know, which is why I said 'many' and not 'all', it's just the way it has to be if a farmer in the third world wants to make a fair profit off his Monsanto-brand crops. Paying Monsanto for a contract and then selling food cheap to your neighbors would be the charitable thing to do perhaps, but it would only sink those farmers into debt. Thus Monsanto can indeed raise the standard of living for farmers themselves, though that inadvertently leaves their communities with less food in many cases.

2. Monsanto. Their contracts are annual, and they encourage you to 'sign up' for more than one year. Most farmers who do had better sign up for more than one year as well, as otherwise they'll have fields full of plants they can't use next year due to Patent violation.

3. true story. Thou there's some debate about the apparent 250k suicides in the cotton belt since then. Some folks feel it's in keeping with national figures, even if high for the region.

You seem overly dependant on "documentaries" for your statements. I'd advise you to look further into things for yourself since many of these are not documentaries in the 'show all sides of an argument' form but rather are advocacy propaganda films.
The united states is by no means the primary buyer of Tanzanian fish products. That's Europe. I just wanted to make it clear North America, including my home town Canada, isn't entirely clean of the sick system being perpetuated in Tanzania and other African nations all over the continent. Anyway, watch the flick and then ask yourself how biased I'm/it's really being. Don't go crapping on it's validity without seeing it. If you're also talking abut my reference to Food Inc, I haven't actually seen that one. Was just sharing the deets.

Now the question is, will his former anti-GMO fellows heed his urge to review the science—or will they call him a turncoat shill for Monsanto?

I said what I said because not once did the speaker mention Monsanto that I could hear. He decried the environmental/health debates, which are the least substantial, and didn't even -touch- on what would obviously be Monsanto's role of primacy in the GMO future he espouses. I seriously doubt the guy hadn't noticed Monsanto was the leading GMO producer in the world, so neglecting to mention their impact on the great humanitarian endeavor he speaks of, while at the same time suggesting countries like France and Germany are stuck in the stone age not allowing Monsanto products in their country, strikes me as a pretty clear indication. Though the environmental/health concerns are there, the speaker talks as if it's the only thing foreign nations worry about where GMO's are concerned, where the far more real issue for them is allowing Monsanto/similar corporations to gain a hold on their farming communities, and thus their National food supply.
 

Jay Reynolds

Senior Member.
In regards to your first point, Jay:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/2062771.stm

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2003/02/arge-f22.html

http://www.argentinaindependent.com/tag/starvation/

There's some articles from 2001-2008 describing how many Argentine people are starving to death, including large numbers of children. Slight increases in growth does not equal sufficient food-staples for healthy human survival, especially when your economy is largely an export market. The fact is that if those 150k farmers were still working, and those 42 million acres of land were producing food for Argentina, there would unquestionably be significantly less starvation. Kind of odd that your research of what's 'dangerous' stopped at the economic. It's the people that concern me, not the GDP. Though food production isn't as bad as it was (roughly 50% decline of rice production in a single year for a country with a hungry and growing Population is crushing) the people are still starving, and the levels of suffering between now and then for Argentina's poor have been high.

None of your links show any relationship with soy production and people starving.
Your claim was:
So while wealthier nations enjoyed an abundance of trendy soy-products, and Monsanto/Investors made a killing, Argentinian farmers who couldn't afford to enter the GM market were starved/forced off of their land, and left Argentina with a dangerous shortage of essential foodstuffs.

The articles do speak of the Argentine government devaluing their currency and a rise in food prices of 75%.
This article you even cited speaks specifically of an ABUNDANCE of food, NOT a SHORTAGE.

So, the problem was a government mis-managed financial problem, not a food shortage, which the production figures I showed clearly demonstrated.

I repeat, there was no food shortage in Argentina, and there is none today, as the statistics show. *Some* people just don't have money to buy food, but that can't be blamed on the introduction of GM soybeans as you did.

Perhaps you didn't know this, but farmers don't have to buy GMO soybeans to plant. If they like, they can choose non-GMO soybeans which they can re-plant the seeds. I have done this myself, and guess what farmers did thousands of years before GMO soybeans became available? Hell, they cold grow any damn crop they like, always could, always can. There were no farmers who became starved simply because they couldn't "afford to enter the GM market.

That is preposterous on it's face, Grieves, anybody can see it.

Now, maybe the GM soybeans offer a better return, but that would mean that farmers would be planting GM soybeans wouldn't it?

And that's whyfarmers plant them, because they offer a better crop, not because they offer a worse return.

Duh?
 

Jay Reynolds

Senior Member.
Grieves said:
1. The prices Monsanto charges for it's contracts are high, and when a local farmer in a third world country opts to work with Monsanto, it's very often with the monetary requirement that they sell on the global market. This isn't a binding clause so far as I know, which is why I said 'many' and not 'all', it's just the way it has to be if a farmer in the third world wants to make a fair profit off his Monsanto-brand crops. Paying Monsanto for a contract and then selling food cheap to your neighbors would be the charitable thing to do perhaps, but it would only sink those farmers into debt. Thus Monsanto can indeed raise the standard of living for farmers themselves, though that inadvertently leaves their communities with less food in many cases.

2. Monsanto. Their contracts are annual, and they encourage you to 'sign up' for more than one year. Most farmers who do had better sign up for more than one year as well, as otherwise they'll have fields full of plants they can't use next year due to Patent violation.

What evidence do you have to support these claims?
Where, for instance, can you show such a contract which has these stipulations?

I don't believe these claims are true.
Who put these ideas into your head?
Surely they came from somewhere, but where?
You aren't just making this up, it came from someone, right?
If you cannot cite any evidence, why do you make them?

Last question, are you involved in food issues beyond just posting at messageboards, and do you have any experience actually farming? (yes I do have experience)
 

Grieves

Senior Member
The Argentina situation above described...? In which investors bought out massive swaths of farm land for sale of soy on the global market using Monsanto soil/soy products, enriching the farmers on that land who could afford to buy in to an extent, but buying/bullying out small-time local farmers who couldn't afford to engage in the process?
Its all pretty well documented. Google search Argentina Monsanto.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2004/apr/16/gm.food
Monsanto says the crop is the victim of its own success. Colin Merritt, Monsanto's biotechnology manager in Britain, said that any problems with GM soya were to do with the crop as a monoculture, not because it was GM. "If you grow any crop to the exclusion of any other you are bound to get problems. What would be sensible would be to grow soya in rotation with corn or some other crop so the ground and the environment have time to recover," he said.
So Monsanto's Position here is essentially the same as mine. The GMO's aren't the problem in and of themselves, its how they're used. Apparently Monsanto didn't consider the 'sensible thing' when they sold all these annual soy contracts, and there's no reason they should have, given that particular blind eye gives a considerable boost to their profits for years to come.
That's why I feel its a bad idea to allow GMO's to be used as a mechanism with which Corporations can gain monopolies on Agriculture.

As to the second point,
http://www.monsanto.ca/products/Pages/TUA.aspx

The canola TUA (Technology Use Agreement) is an annual contract that accurately reports a grower’s purchase of Genuity™ Roundup Ready®​ Canola seed, the variety and total number of bags of Roundup Ready® canola seed purchased by or on behalf of the grower for that crop year. The canola TUA obligates the grower to pay the applicable per Kg technology fee for the Genuity™ Roundup Ready®​ Canola seed purchased by or on behalf of the grower for such crop year.

And no, sorry, I'm not a farmer. My thanks to you if you are one, and if you happen to be on Monsanto contract, and it happens to be working out for you, don't think I'm trying to make a negative statement about you.
 

Grieves

Senior Member
The articles do speak of the Argentine government devaluing their currency and a rise in food prices of 75%.
This articleyou even cited speaks specifically of an ABUNDANCE of food, NOT a SHORTAGE.
There is no question that Argentina has the farmland and food production capacity to feed an estimated 300,000,000 people. That its being used instead for things like global soy exports while children are starving to death there, in a nation of only 40 million because prices are too high, is abhorrent, isn't it? Monsanto certainly isn't solely responsible by any stretch, but they're clearly complicit and happily profiting as local farms are failing to produce food for their own people. Whatever that makes them, isn't that a decent reason to be concerned about their lip-trembling over their tiny little estimated 27% corner of the global seed market? I'm not saying they're out to starve people. I'm not saying everyone who works there are evil, or satanist freemasons. I'm saying they're a corporation that works like any other, and that corporate control of Agriculture is not a good thing. If Monsanto wanted to save the world, they'd simply sell their GMO seed at a flat, reasonable rate and leave it at that, waiving their patent rights and allowing farmers to keep their seeds. That could have a serious and considerable positive impact on global starvation, but would make them considerably less money.
 

Jay Reynolds

Senior Member.
The Argentina situation above described...? In which investors bought out massive swaths of farm land for sale of soy on the global market using Monsanto soil/soy products, enriching the farmers on that land who could afford to buy in to an extent, but buying/bullying out small-time local farmers who couldn't afford to engage in the process?
Its all pretty well documented. Google search Argentina Monsanto.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2004/apr/16/gm.food

So, you really have no evidence for starvation being caused by soy growing and a reduction in other crop production, do you?
The statistics really shot that one down, anyways.

And now you come with the previously unsourced claim yet again citing the same article which falsely claimed that diminished production of milk, corn and the other crops caused starvation? Talk about heading back to the poisoned well.....

Perhaps you should seek out real information from real farmers who went down to Agentina and report a quite different story. Rather than a monoculture, they speak of frequent rotation of soybeans wih corn and wheat.
Soy Report said:
They manage their rotations, plantings of soybean maturity groups, and corn hybrids around annual rainfall patterns. The three most common rotations we experienced were corn, full season soybean, and wheat double crop soybean. Most growers we spoke with would like to be on a 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 rotation. They feel this provides them with a stable rotation that maximizes productivity and hedges against risk. However given the estimated return per acre for corn it is little wonder why we saw the number of soybean acres planted as we did.
http://thesoyreport.blogspot.com/2009/02/snap-shot-of-argentina-agriculture.html

What they are speaking about is a rotation of one crop of corn for every 3 crops of soybeans. The productivity gains come because soybeans fix nitrogen from the air into the soil, and corn, which requires nitrogen yet cannot produce it, utilizes the fertility resource provided by the soy. The hedge against risk comes from the farmer planting BOTH crops at all times, but in different fields. If the corn does not make money, the soybeans might, and vice versa. So, you see, the farmers aren't at all interested in a monoculture, there is a strong incentive to rotate and diversify to make money and avoid risk!

Soy Report said:
The most common estimate for new soybean seed planted annually was ~20%. The remaining acreage of RR soybeans planted is bin-run. The reason most cited for relying on bin-run seed is the “retentions” that growers pay on soybean. To our understanding this is a flat fee of 35% on all soybeans sold. To our understanding, these “retentions” support social programs in Argentina. Additionally, growers also pay sales taxes.

Well, guess what? Rather than buying new seed every year, Argentine farmers actually SAVE seed and regrow it. They are currently only buying 20% new Roundup Ready seed. But how can they do that? You were told that they COULD NOT save seed, weren't you? Well, just like I use Spyware Doctor on my family's three computers, I pay an annual fee for the service, and the farmers agree to pay royalty for the patented seed which they produce for themselves. They aren't being greedy and stealing the intellectual propery like Mr. Schmeisser in Canada did or someone who pirates software. They do this because they realize value in the product which enables them to grow a crop profitably.

And guess what else happens when they grow a successful crop? They give 35% of their receipts away as "retentions", a way to support social programs for Argentina, plus they pay a sales tax.. According to your article, the value of soy sold is around $5 billion/year, and 35% of that, or $1.75 billion goes for social programs just from soy growers. Sounds to me like if anyone is starving due to soy it must be due to government mismanagement of this fund, not the soy growers!


Grieves said:
So Monsanto's Position here is essentially the same as mine. The GMO's aren't the problem in and of themselves, its how they're used. Apparently Monsanto didn't consider the 'sensible thing' when they sold all these annual soy contracts, and there's no reason they should have, given that particular blind eye gives a considerable boost to their profits for years to come.
That's why I feel its a bad idea to allow GMO's to be used as a mechanism with which Corporations can gain monopolies on Agriculture.

Well, you have just been proven wrong, your source told you bogus information which was easily debunked on several points. It turns out that the farmers are doing exactly as they should, they make a profit, pay taxes and their profits help support social programs. There is no one forcing farmers to buy fresh seed every year, they just have to pay royalty due for the re-use of the seed they grow themselves. They pay because they find value in the technology. The owners of the patent, just like authors who write books or inventors like Steve Jobs get remunerated for their effort, riskand investment as well.

Grieves said:
As to the second point,
The canola TUA obligates the grower to pay the applicable per Kg technology fee for the Genuity™ Roundup Ready® Canola seed purchased by or on behalf of the grower for such crop year.
http://www.monsanto.ca/products/Pages/TUA.aspx
Now hold on here a minute, you claimed that there was a "requirement" that GMO products be sold on a "global market", and that there was a contract which extended for more than one year, or that fresh seed has to be purchased from Monsanto every year. I asked to see such a contract, and you wouldn't show one.

Well, here is one, anyone can see that there are no such stipulations:
http://thefarmerslife.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/scan_doc0004.pdf

Grieves said:
And no, sorry, I'm not a farmer. My thanks to you if you are one, and if you happen to be on Monsanto contract, and it happens to be working out for you, don't think I'm trying to make a negative statement about you.

I'm not currently farming because my engineering skills are in high demand. I note you didn't answer as to whether or not you are involved in food issues beyond posting at messageboards. I hope that if you are, you will carefully consider how Mark Lynas found himself woefully unprepared to actually discuss this issue, and the eventual outcome when he learned about the science and facts of the matter:

Mark Lynas said:
Lynas: Well, I actually refer to that article in my new book as being a real turning point. To be brutally honest, the article was something I’d dashed off in 20 minutes without doing any research. And it was reading some of the online comments from readers, just pointing out that I didn’t know what the hell I was talking about, which really brought me up short. And I decided at that point, basically, to shut up for awhile and do some reading, which I then did for two years. I didn’t write about this issue again for a while, right up until the book. But I think what gave me the courage to just be honest with others about this was reading Stewart Brand’s recent book [Whole Earth Discipline: An Eco-Pragmatist Manifesto] because he really just lays it down straight and I thought, “Well, if he can put it in these terms, so can I.”

My suggestion to you would be to make the acquaintance of a farmer who is using this technology, and ask him why he does that. Don't you think that there might be a good reason why he does? You might learn a whole lot more than just googling "Monsanto" and reading the massive opposition propaganda campaign rightfully rejected by Mr. Lynas.
 

Jay Reynolds

Senior Member.
There is no question that Argentina has the farmland and food production capacity to feed an estimated 300,000,000 people. That its being used instead for things like global soy exports while children are starving to death there, in a nation of only 40 million because prices are too high, is abhorrent, isn't it? Monsanto certainly isn't solely responsible by any stretch, but they're clearly complicit and happily profiting as local farms are failing to produce food for their own people. Whatever that makes them, isn't that a decent reason to be concerned about their lip-trembling over their tiny little estimated 27% corner of the global seed market? I'm not saying they're out to starve people. I'm not saying everyone who works there are evil, or satanist freemasons. I'm saying they're a corporation that works like any other, and that corporate control of Agriculture is not a good thing. If Monsanto wanted to save the world, they'd simply sell their GMO seed at a flat, reasonable rate and leave it at that, waiving their patent rights and allowing farmers to keep their seeds. That could have a serious and considerable positive impact on global starvation, but would make them considerably less money.

You don't repect property rights, do you? Does your contempt extend to software, music, copyright, or inventions?

Should all of these people's work be free to copy and sell at a profit after you just buy one for a flat fee?

I'm asking because above you are asking seed companies to do exactly that.

There was never a lack of food in Argentina. There was a financial crisis which artificially inflated all prices which was due to government mismanagement. The people got what they deserved by allowng a government to run amock. You never demonstrated any causality whatsoever on the part of any seed company or grower for the financial crisis or resultant hunger during the bad years surrounding it.

The most recent hunger data shows there is no great hunger problem in Argentina.


I won't discuss your starving children gambit any longer. It has no factual basis and appears to be some emotional appeal beyond what can be supported by any facts.

Obesity is now a problem in Argentina.
 

Grieves

Senior Member
I won't discuss your starving children gambit any longer. It has no factual basis and appears to be some emotional appeal beyond what can be supported by any facts.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-12973543
BBC's full of Bunk then, I suppose.
Since ancient times the Wichi have been a tribe of hunter-gatherers. For centuries the forests in the area provided them with food high in protein, like fish and fruit, which kept them in good health. But all that has changed now.
The government of Salta says that between 2000 and 2006, at least 600,000 hectares of forest - an area four times the size of Greater London - was flattened in the region by farming corporations that harvest soy beans, corn or other grains and cereals.
We have little ones dying here and next to us there are huge fields of food. All I ask is where is all that food going while we have this problem?”
Marcelino Pérez
Argentina is in recovery yes, according to Indec, Argentina's National Statistics agency, from which most foreign agencies are likely to get their data. http://en.mercopress.com/2011/04/21...ow-poverty-is-down-9.9-in-second-half-of-2010

Indec reports show poverty levels in Argentina have been in steady decline since 2003. However the quality of Indec statistics has been questioned since former President Nestor Kirchner replaced technical staff with political cronies.
Since then statistical information has coincidently proven to be in line with government intentions or wishes, which has triggered a serious controversy.

They're also investigating Monsanto for tax evasion, in the midst of many multiple law-suits in the country against them, some making very serious allegations about their pesticides.
http://www.nasdaq.com/article/updat...tax-evasion-probe-20121010-01187#.UOpRxuRJOAg
http://rt.com/usa/news/monsanto-farmers-tobacco-use-809/



I've got nothing wrong with a man or a business doing its best to make a reasonable living in the world. What I've got a problem with is corporations doing their utmost to get peoples daily meals planet-wide caught up in the trading and betting game of global economics. Food prices are skyrocketing planet wide as a result. Making a reasonable living shouldn't include contributing to taking food away from local communities in order to feed a more profitable, less vital demand. Corporations can't make decisions like 'maybe we should take the route that makes us less money but helps the people more.'
 

Grieves

Senior Member
Well, here is one, anyone can see that there are no such stipulations:
http://thefarmerslife.files.wordpres...an_doc0004.pdf
I see you went with a 3 page contract, as apposed to a 30 page.
http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-500395_162-5978152.html
Now hold on here a minute, you claimed that there was a "requirement" that GMO products be sold on a "global market", and that there was a contract which extended for more than one year, or that fresh seed has to be purchased from Monsanto every year.
4. GROWER AGREES:
..-Not to save or clean any crop produced from Seed for planting, not to
supply Seed produced from Seed to anyone for planting, not to plant seed
for production other than for Monsanto or a Monsanto licensed seed
company under a seed production contract.
Right there, on the first page of the contract you linked. The requirement to sell on the global market was set by the investors who bought up all this land, that would have been worked out between them and the farmers they hired.

I'm not currently farming because my engineering skills are in high demand. I note you didn't answer as to whether or not you are involved in food issues beyond posting at messageboards. I hope that if you are, you will carefully consider how Mark Lynas found himself woefully unprepared to actually discuss this issue, and the eventual outcome when he learned about the science and facts of the matter:
Congratulations on your success. I worked as a cook for several years, if you find that helpful. Mark Lynas, as I said previously, focuses on the health/environmental issues of GMO's. I feel no reason to believe GMO's are a health risk, and though biodiversity could be a problem, the benefits have a fair chance of outweighing the cons. That's all Mark Lynas talks about. He doesn't once touch on the Socio-economic issues of putting corporations in control of agriculture.
 

Grieves

Senior Member
Perhaps you should seek out real information from real farmers who went down to Agentina and report a quite different story. Rather than a monoculture, they speak of frequent rotation of soybeans wih corn and wheat.

Originally Posted by Soy Report
They manage their rotations, plantings of soybean maturity groups, and corn hybrids around annual rainfall patterns. The three most common rotations we experienced were corn, full season soybean, and wheat double crop soybean. Most growers we spoke with would like to be on a 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 rotation. They feel this provides them with a stable rotation that maximizes productivity and hedges against risk. However given the estimated return per acre for corn it is little wonder why we saw the number of soybean acres planted as we did.
http://thesoyreport.blogspot.com/200...riculture.html



So your report of an idle blogger on a business trip/pleasure stroll of Argentina trumps the quoted and uncontested statement of a high-ranking Monsanto employee. That's pro debunking.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Jay Reynolds

Senior Member.
Grower TUA said:
4. GROWER AGREES:
..-Not to save or clean any crop produced from Seed for planting, not to
supply Seed produced from Seed to anyone for planting, not to plant seed
for production other than for Monsanto or a Monsanto licensed seed
company under a seed production contract.

Right there, on the first page of the contract you linked. The requirement to sell on the global market was set by the investors who bought up all this land, that would have been worked out between them and the farmers they hired.

The contract says nothing about any requirement to sell on a global market. The contract says that a farmer cannot save seed unless he produces that seed under contract for a licensed seed company. There are lcal seed compaies which do this worldwide, it is common practice which is why the article mentions that only 20% of Roundup Ready seed is bought fresh in Argentina, 80% planted is "bin-run", which is locally harvested seed saved for replanting. He then pays a royalty to re-use that seed for replanting. Just like I pay extra to put Spyware Doctor on my family's three computers rather than just one, I am licensed to do so. If I pirate the software to use on multiple computers rather than payingthe license fee, I am in violation of copyright law and am stealing the work of the Spyware Doctor company.

This is just normal business practice, it protects both parties and ensures a fair distribution of return on investment. If one farmer steals he technology, he gains an unfair advantage over another who pays fair market value for the advantage the technology provides. This really isn't hard to understand, and unless your moral code allows stealing and cheating someone out of their work to gain unfair advantage you should easily grasp the concept.
 

Grieves

Senior Member
I find your insistence on using spyware doctor as an analogy exceedingly strange. Spyware doctor is a piece of software, having no particularly direct influence on your or anyone else's livelihood, besides that of it's producers. It's a product of convenience serving a helpful but non-essential function.

What we're talking about here is food, the thing every living human being needs to continue doing so, being licensed out in what's indeed a similar way as software/cellphones, by a company who's stated hope is to gain monopoly of the food chain. Monsanto has enjoyed high profit and great success with it's GMO industry for some thirty years now, but starvation is still a prevailing problem all over the world, and global food prices are skyrocketing. This is due to a multitude of factors of course, one of them being the decision to invest heavily in ethanol (a bad idea so far as I'm concerned, using food for fuel), but Monsanto is a contributing factor, and the more dominance they gain over agriculture isn't likely to have a more positive effect on people's livielihood.

You expressed a disbelief Monsanto could/would contribute to starvation, I explained how and why they can/have.

You expressed a disbelief Monsanto had an anti seed-saving policy, I pointed out that it does.

You expressed doubt farmers could be obliged to sell their goods on global markets. The soy of Argentina is all sold on global markets at the will of the investors who bought the 40 mil. Acres of land or so. It's not Monsanto's contract, they just facilitate the investors by providing the soy.

You stated you did not believe child starvation took place during the soy-boom in Argentina, and that even if it did it couldn't possibly be directly attributable to the Soy boom itself. I explained, and provided a link to a news article explaining, how it very directly is. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-12973543

I hope now you can see I'm not so full of bunk on this issue as you might have believed initially. GMO's certainly do have the -potential- to be a huge help in tackling global hunger, but Monsanto has no interest in bringing about a utopian tomorrow. Being profit-driven they want to sell as much product as they possibly can to whoever is willing to buy it, for whatever purposes those buyers deem profitable, and at prices as high as they can get away with. That's why I feel foreign countries who refuse to allow them are simply looking out for their own socio-economic interests and those of their farmers, and that the 'hiding from science' argument posed by the speaker is something of a straw-man where they're concerned.
 

Jay Reynolds

Senior Member.
So your report of an idle blogger on a business trip/pleasure stroll of Argentina trumps the quoted and uncontested statement of a high-ranking Monsanto employee. That's pro debunking.

I am citing the observations of farmers who went to Argentina and reported the rotations being used. You can describe those farmers as "idle", but that's just your personal spin. Now what did the Monsanto guy acually say?

Colin Merritt, Monsanto's biotechnology manager in Britain, said that any problems with GM soya were to do with the crop as a monoculture, not because it was GM. "If you grow any crop to the exclusion of any other you are bound to get problems. What would be sensible would be to grow soya in rotation with corn or some other crop so the ground and the environment have time to recover," he said.

See, he simply explained that crop rotations are a sensible way to grow soy. He didn't say that soy is being grown as a monoculture at all. In fact, remember what I explained about soy fixing nitrogen? It turs out that a monoculture of soy could actually input too much nitrogen into the soil. Tis might be detrimental under some conditions, causing very lush growth during the early stages which can make the plant susceptible to lodging and some diseases related to that condition. This is not a specific problem of GM soy, it is a fact for almst all itrogen fixing legume plants. This is yet another reason why soy growers use rotations. The acts are clear, soy is not usually grown as a monoculture simply because it doesn't do well that way, and not because it is GM, that practice has nothing to to wit genetic technology.

You shouldn't read into something what isn't there. That would be dishonest. As a non-farmer you should study the issue more closely like Mark Lynas did, because it is becoming clearer and clearer that you just don't know enough about the issue to be conversant on it.
 

Grieves

Senior Member
You won't contest but refuse to concede that it's a fact Argentina's soy-farms lead to child starvation. Your only 'proof' against this were a few economic charts with very little context attached.

Now you're refusing to concede Argentina farms suffered from issues of Monoculture, citing as your source a single farmers brief blog about his pleasant trip to Argentina, and what he was told while he was there. That some farms occasionally trade out soy for corn to prevent the soil from becoming useless for soy doesn't change the fact millions of acres are being used for soy, and forest is being cleared for the purpose of producing more soy. That constitutes a monoculture.
http://www.genok.com/filarkiv/File/Cartilla_Ingles(1).pdf
http://www.larouchepub.com/eiw/public/2004/2004_40-49/2004-46/pdf/46-49_soyconomics.pdf
http://www.mo.be/en/article/15-years-gm-soybeans-argentina
http://fsrn.org/audio/download/5605/20091016MT.mp3
Here are some articles and investigations into the soy monoculture in Argentina and other parts of the world.

You seem to be making generally weak arguments and trumping them up with an air of authority on the subject. When I point out why an argument you make is flawed, you move on to another while dismissing the previous, insisting once more, with this new weak argument, that I don't have the faintest idea what I'm talking about and therefor should stop. You also frequently hark back to the argument of the potential value of GM's, which I have never disputed. my concern is with the companies producing them, their profit motivation, and the less than positive effect that can have/is having on global hunger. If you'd like to address that issue, rather than loudly engage in your own argument I'm not on the other side of while trying to decry me personally, I'd appreciate it.
 

Grieves

Senior Member
You also seem to be neglecting the fact that Colin Merrit's comment was in response to questions about the problem in Argentina, not just a commentary on soy-farming in general.
 

Jay Reynolds

Senior Member.
Sorry to break the news to you so far into this. I've been toying with you too long and have other things to do, so I need to lay the facts out straight now that I've worked you into a corner.

The facts of the matter are that Monsanto has never collected the technology fee for their crops in Argentina.

I repeat, the company has not been collecting royalties for Roundup Ready soybeans in Argentina.

All of your postings fall flat because you had no idea what you were talking about, and were misled.
2000:
February 22, 2000… Saint Louis, Missouri… The American Soybean Association (ASA) is calling for Monsanto Company to remedy inequities that are disadvantaging U.S. farmers in the global marketplace. ASA is concerned with the large disparity of Roundup Ready® soybean seed prices and business practices between the United States and Argentina, which was highlighted in a U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) report released today.

“U.S. soybean farmers are being charged more than twice the amount for Roundup Ready soybean seed than growers in Argentina paid last year,” said ASA President Marc Curtis, a producer from Leland, Miss. “According to the GAO report, a bag of Roundup Ready soybean seed sold for about $9 in Argentina and about $21.50 in the United States in 1999.”

One of the reasons that the price of Roundup Ready soybean seed is higher in the U.S. is because only U.S. growers are charged a technology fee of $6.50 per 50-pound bag on top of the price of the seedhttp://www.soygrowers.com/newsroom/releases/documents/gaopricing.htm

2012: That situaton may change-

The U.S., Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay dominate global soybean exports, while China is the world's top importer. Demand for soybeans has surged in recent years for use as animal feed to sate the world's growing hunger for meat. Monsanto has been able to enforce royalty rights for its genetically modified soybeans in all the top-producing nations except Argentina.

The company is shifting its focus to Intacta RR2 now as the U.S. patent on its first generation of soybean seeds runs out in 2014. Monsanto failed to obtain a local patent for the soybean seeds it introduced in Argentina 15 years ago and its efforts to collect royalties have been foiled by local regulations. Virtually all of the soybeans grown in Argentina are based on Monsanto's technology. However, Argentina is now working on a new seed law to protect intellectual-property rights for agricultural biotechnology. Monsanto has a patent for the new seeds in Argentina but, under local law, farmers don't have to pay royalties on seeds they grow and hold back for the next planting season.http://www.advfn.com/nyse/StockNews.asp?stocknews=MON&article=53943229

Oh, and as for monoculture being the rule, see the above cited article:
Farmers in its key South American markets are getting ready for bumper crops in the upcoming 2012-13 season, thanks to the heavy rainfall that the El Nino weather phenomenon is expected to bring. In addition, Monsanto is a major provider of genetically modified corn seed and sees major growth opportunities in that business in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay in the coming years, Mr. Vaquero said. A devastating drought in the U.S. has boosted grain prices and made corn a good option in South America. The margins for corn cultivation are better than those for soybeans right now and many farmers need to plant corn to rotate crops on their fields, Mr. Vaquero said. The U.S. drought has also hit seed production, and many of the corn seeds U.S. farmers will plant next year will be grown in Argentina and Chile, he added. In June, Monsanto said it plans to build a $100 million plant to produce corn seeds in the heart of Argentina's corn belt in Cordoba Province. Monsanto already operates a similar plant in Buenos Aires Province. Write to Shane Romig at shane.romig@dowjones.com. Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires

So, you see, there were never any restrictions on farmers saving seed in Argentina, even the GM seed.
There was never any fee which prevented farmers from getting RR seeds and planting them.
The mirage of a monocrop comes directly from Friends Of The Earth, Lyndon LaRouche, and many other conspiracy theorist propaganda outlets.
NONE of them ever told you that there were no enforceable technology fees in Argentina.
They ALL told you that Argentine farmers were forced to buy new seed every year.

They ALL lied to you.

Now how does it feel to be lied to, Grieves?

How does it feel to be like Mark Lynas?
 

Jay Reynolds

Senior Member.
You also seem to be neglecting the fact that Colin Merrit's comment was in response to questions about the problem in Argentina, not just a commentary on soy-farming in general.

The article didn't show the question he was asked. You don' know what question he was asked. Lacking such context his comment speaks for itself. The crop production statistcs show that increases in grain production other than soy took place.

That could not have happened if nothing else but soy was being planted. It is useless to claim that a monoculture of soy is the rule in Argentina when the statistics show otherwise.

Sorry for letting you in on the secret so late, dude. I felt you needed a bit of a shock, tho.

You need to get over your opposition to the rights of patent holders. Property rights underpin all other rights, and are one of the reasons why the US andmost western cultures do so well. If property rights are not assurred, here is uncertainty for investment and even conservation. Cheating property owners is theft, and is morally bankrupt.
 

Grieves

Senior Member
So the fact that local law prevents Monsanto from enforcing their seed-saving policy means it doesn't exist? Or that their intentions are somehow entirely benign? isn't the article you cited an adamant complaint against the fact Argentine law wont allow Monsanto to enforce this policy on the basis that the anti seed-saving policies are incredibly unfair to US farmers, considering?
Monsanto has told us that they can’t charge the technology fee and enforce the restriction on saved seed in Argentina because Argentina’s patent and plant variety protection laws differ from U.S. laws,” Curtis said. “The GAO report also indicates a large portion of Argentina’s soybean seed is sold on the black market and not through commercial firms. In the future, seed companies should consider their ability to protect intellectual property rights and enforce contracts in potential overseas markets before they decide to commercialize products in those markets. Otherwise, companies should amend their U.S. business practices so they don’t treat U.S. farmers less favorably than farmers in other countries.”
http://www.soygrowers.com/newsroom/releases/documents/gaopricing.htm
US farmers requesting Monsanto change their patent policies for the sake of fairness. Damn American farmers with their lack of respect for patent-laws! I bet it extends to movies/music/software as well...! Surely they verge on moral bankruptcy.... If not regular old bankruptcy. :rolleyes:

That the seed-saving contracts aren't allowed in Argentina doesn't change the fact that many other countries, including your own, are having considerable difficulties with them, as stated in the article you cite. It also doesn't change the situation in Argentina. It doesn't change the fact children starve (which you denied) while the farms replacing the lands/forests that formerly fed them are obliged to sell on the global market (which you denied.).

That the corporations which own this farmland are considering expanding their wheat-trade in Argentina as the market for it is stronger currently doesn't surprise me in the slightest. It also doesn't change the fact that it's food intended mainly for export, and that the problem of local starvation/malnutrition still has not been solved. Why you think scheduled changes as of this year erase the history of the situation is baffling to me. The massive soy-crop has only been growing for the last two decades, but all of that is just bunk now thanks to your quoted projection of this years plan for increase profits? That's your 'ace in the hole'?

They ALL told you that Argentine farmers were forced to buy new seed every year.
I'm sorry, what? Where and when did they ALL tell me these things? And who's this 'they'? Sounding sort of paranoid, man. I assumed Monsanto had the seeds in Argentina on-contract because it's their standard practice. it's true, I wasn't aware Argentina had laws against it, and I'm sure Monsanto would much prefer if they didn't... so thank you for being informative on that point. Still, it by no means makes my position irrelevant.. Especially considering this bit from your own quote:
However, Argentina is now working on a new seed law to protect intellectual-property rights for agricultural biotechnology.
which clearly states they intend to change the law preventing their anti seed-saving clauses from being enforceable.

It's still Monsanto's strict policy to enforce anti seed-saving clauses wherever possible. Simple fact.

Land is still being bought up in massive swaths in South America to produce bulk-crops to be traded in the global market like stocks and securities with little to no consideration afforded (by them or by you) to the thousands of people displaced and impoverished by this rapid expansion. Simple fact.

Monsanto is a corporation who's prime drive is maximum profit. Simple fact.

It is Monsanto's stated ambition to dominate world agriculture. Simple fact.

You seem determined to avoid the moral implications of a corporate-run agricultural system. Do you believe such a system would truly improve the world? As a former organic farmer, how would you feel about all seed-trade working on a contract-basis managed by Monsanto, with no other option? Don't misunderstand me, I know that's not the situation currently, but it is what Monsanto is admittedly trying to work towards. Are you for that sort of system on a Global scale?

That could not have happened if nothing else but soy was being planted. It is useless to claim that a monoculture of soy is the rule in Argentina when the statistics show otherwise.
never -once- did I claim Argentina produces only soy now. It is one of the largest food producing nations in the world. My complaint was that the rapid expansion of soy-farms, over tens of millions of acres, (more than enough to constitute a monoculture in that area) had a serious impact on the living conditions of thousands of natives, who's children then and still suffer from malnutrition / die frequently of related illness. I think it's atrocious that so many should be living so badly when the country clearly has the capacity to feed them, and feed them well. There's no reason for it whatsoever other than corporate profit margins, and the buying, betting, and selling game being played with farmable land and its produce.

Now how does it feel to be lied to, Grieves?
Damn patronizing to be perfectly honest. Would you cut it out?
 

Grieves

Senior Member
Prior to 1998, the price charged for Roundup Ready soybean seed in Argentina was high enough so that the grower’s total cost was about the same as it was in the U.S. Over the past two years, however, the price of Roundup Ready soybean seed dropped to the equivalent of about $9 per 50-lb. bag from about $25 in 1997.
Now that the price has dropped dramatically in Argentina, U.S. growers are caught in a situation that places them at a competitive disadvantage. Using seed prices contained in the GAO report and a seeding rate of 1.3 bags per acre (seeding rates in the U.S. and Argentina are similar), U.S. growers’ per acre Roundup Ready soybean seed costs in 1999 were $27.95 per acre versus $11.70 for Argentine growers. Assuming an average 40-bushel per acre soybean yield, the disparity in Roundup Ready seed costs puts U.S. growers at a 41-cent per bushel price competitive disadvantage.
From your reference, the American Soybean Association. So prices for farmers in Argentina happened to drop around what time..? 1998? What was happening in Argentina around 1998 again..? Oh yeah. A massive-scale purchase of soy-seed. Surely that's not a bargain for bulk purchasing to the expense of the American farmers, though. Just pesky laws.
 

Jay Reynolds

Senior Member.
Grieves, isn't it clear enough that Monsanto isn't the all-powerful demon in Argentina you were led to believe? They cannot even enforce their patents there.

If children starve in a country which produces food, it cannot be the fault of a seed selling company who is so weak in that country they cannot even enforce their own patent, where farmers are free to pirate their technology and escape paying royalties like everybody else does.

The issue of children starving in a country where a good percentage of children have an obesity problem is very strong evidence of a society which doesn't care about its own people, a dysfunctional society in which people are so ignorant or could care less and are willing to put up with such a situation. I know some abou Latin America, and while it's not as screwed up as Africa it has deep deep problems. Many of them relate back to the private property rights issues you so carelessly want to eliminate.

If Monsanto were so bad for farmers, farmers here in the US, Canada, and all over the world wouldn't be using their technology. Hell, it's eve so good that Argentines are stealing it, how can it be so bad?

Argentina's problems cannot be blamed on a company who is essentially getting nothing for their technology, a company for which the peope snub their noses at the vast investments the company has made to provide massive increases in world food supplies.

You can only blame the Argentinians for their own problems.

They left Monsanto out of the game, sorry for giving you a hard time, and goodbye.
 
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