Opinion: Will Bayer rue Monsanto purchase?

Ironically I was on some R-and-R in St. Louis, headquarters to Monsanto, when a California jury dropped the mother of all H-bombs on Bayer’s newest acquisition:  Monsanto’s flagship weed killer Roundup contributed to high school groundsman Dewayne Johnson’s non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Put bluntly the jury ruled Roundup causes cancer and it awarded terminally-ill Johnson $39 million in compensatory and $250 million in punitive damages.  Yup $289 million total. Bayer, which purchased Monsanto just two months ago, has taken a massive financial hit, losing more than 10 percent of share value. So how did Monsanto and Bayer lose?

Opinion: Obscure John Deere lawsuit has big implications

If you are like most Americans, you probably don’t think too much about where your food comes from beyond the local grocery store. So a little education:  cereal doesn’t come from boxes, eggs and milk don’t come from cartons, meat doesn’t come from a Styrofoam tray and veggies don’t come from cans and plastic bags. It’s the U.S. farmer that keeps our stomachs filled. So as a nation we should be certainly downright concerned to know that people are not rushing into the occupation and those currently playing in the dirt are long in the tooth.  Very long. Next February USDA’s new Census of Agriculture will be released and I’d be shocked if the average age of farmers didn’t go up since the 2012 census.

Opinion: Lab cultured meat debate just getting warmed up

You probably have never heard of the start-up company Memphis Meats.  

Based on its name you likely figure it is based in Memphis,Tennessee and its stock and trade is meat.  

You would certainly be wrong on location – it calls San Leandro, California home.  And as to the meat … well that is yet to be determined.  

Memphis Meats is in a technology race with Israeli company Aleph Farms and others to grow what it calls “clean” meat for human consumption in a laboratory from animal cells sooner rather than later.

Opinion: Are the U.S. chicken and pork industries rigged?

Have you ever wondered why all the gasoline stations in your neighborhood more often than not are selling fuel at the exact same price? A few summers ago I was traveling through Michigan when I needed gas.  I pulled into a Mom-and-Pop and filled up for $1.91 a gallon which I thought was a good price given a few stations I passed with gas over two bucks. As I went inside to pay I overheard this conversation on the phone from what turned out was the station owner:

“… well Shell was one-ninety-one yesterday … same at BP …

Opinion: Lawsuits moving forward on whether Monsanto’s Roundup cause cancer

Bayer’s announcement that it is terminating the Monsanto brand as part of its takeover of the St. Louis agri-business company unfortunately won’t come close to ending controversies surrounding Monsanto. Can you say clean up on aisle four? One needs to look no further than the massive cancer trial that got underway in early July  to understand the huge stakes Bayer is facing. The trial – in a nutshell – is whether or not California native DeWayne “Lee”Johnson developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma from exposure to Monsanto’s flagship product weedkiller Roundup.  Johnson sprayed the chemical for years as part of his jobs serving as a goundskeeper for a school district in Benicia, California.

Opinion: Hawaii justified in flexing state muscles on chlorpyrifos

A little history lesson. Since it was first registered by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1965 to control pests in both commercial and non-commercial agricultural settings, chlorpyrifos has had a checkered past. Chlorpyrifos has long been a go-to pesticide for the U.S. corn producers.  But by 2000, it was becoming widely recognized that misuse of the pesticide had unintended consequences – killing fish and wildlife and potentially endangering human health. Instead of immediately banning use of chlorpyrifos, the EPA tried a voluntary approach, requiring chlorpyrifos users to promise pretty please to not use the pesticide around the house (except as roach and ant bait that had to be sold in child-proof packaging) and discontinue use on tomatoes, apples after blooming and lowering how much could be sprayed on grapes.

Opinion: Cargill and Bunge’s very, very bad day

OK … let’s begin by stating some rather obvious facts:

Soybean trading and processing is HUGE business in Brazil. And there is plenty of financial incentive to expand Brazilian soybean acres – either legally or illegally.  The Food and Agriculture Organization for the United Nations’ OECD/FAO Agricultural Outlook projects an increase in Brazilian soybean production of 38 percent over the next ten years.  
Cargill and Bunge have made boat loads of money processing and exporting Brazilian soybeans.  
Brazilian farmers are more than willing to circumvent laws protecting Brazil’s forests and savanna.

Opinion: Will farmers regret Bayer and Monsanto going to the chapel?

Despite Bayer’s $66 billion move  – yeah with a B –  to acquire Monsanto, there remains serious doubt among some advocates that the U.S. Department of Justice did not do enough to protect  farmers and other stakeholders from escalating seed and chemical costs and the unappetizing possibility of fewer choices at the retail marketplace.