Monsanto: the bully at the dinner table?

Lately we’ve been thinking a bit about Monsanto, the agribusiness giant that sells the weedkiller Roundup and genetically-modified Roundup-resistant seeds to American farmers. As more and more Americans rethink the way their food is produced, Monsanto continues to promote its products to farmers and sue farmers who it thinks are stealing its products. Monsanto’s website claims that they don’t sue innocent farmers, but there seems to be evidence to the contrary.

Monsanto’s origins are no prettier. It got its start selling chemicals with bad household names like DDT, rBGH, Aspartame, and yes, Agent Orange. Agent Orange and Roundup — anyone see a similarity?

On the other hand, though, Monsanto is an important part of the food production picture. Monsanto produces a vast majority of common American crops — 90% of soy, 85% of corn, and 95% of sugar beets — all of which are genetically modified. “Even organic farmers… have little choice but to buy [seed] from them,” says Veteran News Now.

Global population continues to balloon, too. Implied in Monsanto’s website and market dominance is the concept that without Monsanto we will starve. No one wants to boycott a company only to doom innocent people to a death by starvation.

However, Monsanto’s products may not be the only solution to our growing food production problem. Bountiful harvests have been a goal since the beginning of human civilization, but much of our current technological and scientific energies are dedicated toward cheaper cellphones. Meanwhile, Monsanto’s claims of a trouble-free crop have already been debunked. The New York Times has already written about how a new breed of Roundup-resistant superweeds are forcing farmers to other herbicides and old-school methods of weed control. In the background, players like Dow Chemical, Bayer, and Syngenta are furiously researching strains that are resistant to other herbicides so they can jump in on the herbicide-resistant seed game.

Our prediction? Monsanto’s new image consultants will apply some of its $2.5 billion in profits (2013) toward a name change. Hopefully the new name will be something catchy and memorable.