In January 2011, I was in New Orleans for a funeral. It was 5 a.m., and I was sitting in my mother’s kitchen, and using her telephone as a dial-up modem to access the internet (she did not have internet service). I was watching the Twitter feed from the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos, Switzerland, specifically to see what would be said for the launch of a new WEF initiative called “The New Vision for Agriculture.”
This was a big deal. The World Economic Forum had recognized the critical importance of global agriculture, and a … Full Article »
Almost 30 years, I was asked to help on a project that mystified me. A Monsanto executive, Will Carpenter, who was leading what was then the company’s agricultural division, was speaking in Washington on chemical disarmament, and needed help organizing the material.
I knew next to nothing about chemical weapons or chemical disarmament. Will was way down in the weeds of the subject – I didn’t know anyone could know so much about it. He had been wrestling with the question of how nations could verify that weapons were not being produced, and he was considering an idea – that … Full Article »
The photograph is simple enough: Pope Francis blessing a sample of golden rice. Standing with the pope is Ingo Potrykus, the co-creator of golden rice.
Behind the photograph, and golden rice itself, lies a controversy. Golden rice offers the promise of providing the Vitamin A that could help prevent blindness in hundreds of thousands of children in developing countries.
But it’s also genetically modified.
So Greenpeace hates it. Vandana Shiva hates it (she calls it a hoax). Michael Pollan initially called it “The Great Yellow Hype” in 2001 but recently had a more tepid response.
What pushed the controversy … Full Article »
By Glynn Young
American farmers are no strangers to what it takes to help make a country free – and what it takes to keep a country free.
In 1776, the American colonies were largely populated by farm families. The vast majority of people did their work on a farm. When the call came to fight for independence, it was largely farmers who set aside their plows, picked up their muskets, and headed to Lexington, Concord, Bunker Hill, Trenton, and ultimately to Yorktown.
Two hundred and twenty seven years later, that tradition continues. Farmers comprise less than two … Full Article »
I’ve been attending the Honey Bee Health Summit, co-hosted by the Honey Bee Advisory Council and Project Apis m. It started Tuesday afternoon here in St. Louis, and continues through lunchtime Thursday.
Until last year, my experience with honey bees was limited to various experiences as a kid (not all positive) and the consumption of honey. I knew that honey bees were pollinators, but I didn’t know much beyond that.
I started learning a lot more after Monsanto acquired Beeologics, and then getting to meet and know Jerry Hayes, who’s our business lead for the bee business.
Coincidentally, … Full Article »
The news comes like this kind of news usually does today – someone sends an email, or forwards a message, or perhaps even makes a phone call. In this case, I received an email last Friday saying that Robert Berra had died in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Not many people working at Monsanto today will remember Bob Berra – many of them were children in grade school when he retired from the company then called Monsanto. But what he accomplished while he was here is still very much with us today, long after spin-offs, acquisitions, being acquired, and being spun-off. The … Full Article »
On Jan. 15, the physics journal Entropy received a paper for possible publication. The paper was entitled “Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases,” and claimed that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup and many other herbicides, was responsible for a host of diseases, including autism, Alzheimer’s, obesity, anorexia nervosa, liver disease, reproductive and developmental disorders, and cancer.
The paper was authored by Anthony Samsel, an independent researcher in New Hampshire, and Stephanie Seneff, who works in at MIT in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. … Full Article »
World Water Day was noted on March 22, but the importance of water for global agriculture is 365 days a year. It takes a lot of water to grow food – and agriculture consumers about 75 percent of total freshwater use.
Considerable research is underway on developing crops that use less water – or use it more efficiently. Some varieties are juts now coming on the market – the first deliveries of Monsanto’s Genuity DroughtGard hybrid corn were made in late February in Texas. (You can read about these hybrids on Monsanto.com, and a recent article also provides more … Full Article »
What is the highest natural source of dietary fiber?
How many $100 bills can be made from a bale of cotton?
How much of the world’s corn does the United States produce?
In 1960, the average U.S. farmer fed 26 people. How many does the farmer feed today?
No, it’s not an agriculture trivia game.
Over at America’s Farmers, the “Did You Know” section has been updated with new facts, infographics and information on American agricultural production. It’s a collection of a lot of fun facts, and even a video or two.
Behind the fun facts, though, is … Full Article »
Today is National Agricultural Day – the day designated to celebrate American agriculture and the abundance of food it provides.
It’s a day, too, to consider who makes that abundance of food possible.
You can’t be in agriculture for long without realizing the people are who agriculture, and the values that underpin what they do every day.
The people are the farm families, the people who, despite all the hoopla about “corporate” and “industrial” agriculture, are still responsible for most of the food production in the United States. Ninety-eight percent of farms in America are owned by families.
The values … Full Article »