Global grain marketers such as Cargill and rivals Archer Daniels Midland Co and Bunge Ltd have seized upon trade tensions between the United States and several of its top export markets, including China, to turn around struggling trading units following one of the toughest years ever for the industry.
These days Monsanto is shorthand for, as NPR’s Dan Charles has put it, “lots of things that some people love to hate”: Genetically modified crops, which Monsanto invented. Seed patents, which Monsanto has fought to defend. Herbicides such as Monsanto’s Roundup, which protesters have sharply criticized for its possible health risks. Big agriculture in general, of which Monsanto was the reviled figurehead. And soon Monsanto will be no more.
China reopened its borders to United States beef in 2017, but that historic decision sparked both challenges and opportunities for American beef producers, according to Ian Lahiffe, Lead of Operations, Allfex Livestock Intelligence.
Bayer AG won U.S. antitrust approval for its $66 billion takeover of Monsanto Co., clearing the last major regulatory hurdle to forming the world’s biggest seed and agricultural-chemicals provider after a nearly two-year review.
ByJohnathan Hettinger/Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting |
After drift from the herbicide dicamba harmed millions of acres of soybeans in 2017, environmental groups are worried that it could damage sensitive ecological areas, particularly habitats for monarch butterflies. “There’s too much that no one is watching,” said Kim Erndt-Pitcher, a habitat and agriculture programs specialist at Prairie Rivers Network, a nonprofit advocacy group for clean water in Illinois. Erndt-Pitcher said that as dicamba drifted and harmed an estimated 600,000 acres of soybeans in Illinois in 2017, it’s likely that much of the habitat for endangered species and monarch butterflies was also damaged. “With soybeans, people are out looking for it because it can affect their bottom line,” said Nathan Donley, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “With milkweed, the lack of complaints doesn’t mean it’s not there.