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.
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.
Later this year – June 18 to be specific – the Superior Court for the County of San Francisco will hear evidence on whether Monsanto hired and paid supposedly neutral mouthpieces under the table to present false or biased information to the public on the safety of its Roundup chemical glyphosate. On the surface, written evidence unsealed by the court is damning. A minority report prepared for members of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology released in February is especially enlightening in laying out the case for accusers. The scheme is tangled and complicated, but here is the rough outline. Create or find a front-group with a creditable sounding name from which academics could write pieces attacking opponents of the chemical industry and its products.
The aging of America’s farmer is quickly reaching a crisis which threatens to disrupt and destabilize the U.S. food system. Ag companies both big and small are living in the reality that unless something is done to repopulate the U.S. farmer community, they’ll one day be in a locker room of hurt.
ByJohnathan Hettinger/Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting |
Over the past three years, these companies have on average paid their executives and directors more than $100 million, according to a Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting review of financial filings. The median was $94.5 million.