Thursday, December 31, 2009

Kudos to Monsanto: Forbes Company of the Year

Monsanto, a pioneer in sustainable food production technology, is named Company of the Year by Forbes magazine.


"It is like computers in the 1960s," says Robert T. Fraley, Monsanto's chief technology officer. "We are just at the beginning of the explosion of technology we are going to see." Adds Grant: "Our pipeline is richer and deeper than it has ever been." A new corn variety that includes eight genes for pest resistance and herbicide tolerance could become the company's next big product. It is due out this spring. Also in testing are drought-tolerant corn, corn that needs less fertilizer and higher-yielding biotech soybeans and corn."

"Even some organic farmers are clamoring for genetically modified crops. Don J. Cameron grows both organic and conventional cotton on his farm in Helm, Calif. The organic fields cost $500 per acre to weed by hand, versus only $30 an acre for glyphosate-immune fields. Lately he can't even sell organic cotton because the stuff coming out of India, Syria and Uganda is so cheap. "I feel the organic industry has painted itself in a corner saying that all genetically modified organisms are bad. Eventually they're going to have to allow it," Cameron says."

"But the effect on the environment is just the opposite. GM seeds lower pesticide use or, in the case of Roundup resistance, may reduce soil erosion by making low-till farming more practical. "We have to feed people in a less destructive way," says uc, Davis plant biologist Pamela Ronald, author of the pro-biotech book Tomorrow's Table. "Genetically engineered crops can be useful for that."

"Farmers vote one spring at a time. You get invited back if you do a good job," Grant says.

Read the entire article in Forbes (link)

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