Will Monsanto Become The NSA Of Agriculture?

from the big-ag,-big-data dept

Monsanto is best-known for its controversial use of genetically-modified organisms, and less well-known for being involved in the story of the defoliant Agent Orange (the company's long and involved story is well told in the book and film "The World According to Monsanto", by Marie-Monique Robin.) Its shadow also looms large over the current TPP talks: the USTR's Chief Agricultural Negotiator is Islam A. Siddiqui, a former lobbyist for Monsanto. But it would seem that the company is starting to explore new fields, so to speak; as Salon reports in a fascinating and important post, Monsanto is going digital:

Monsanto spent close to $1 billion to buy the Climate Corporation, a data analytics firm. Last year the chemical and seed company also bought Precision Planting, another high-tech firm, and also launched a venture capital arm geared to fund tech start-ups.
Here's the key shift that is behind that move:
Many farmers have been collecting digitized yield data on their operations since the 1990s, when high-tech farm tools first emerged. But that information would sit on a tractor or monitor until the farmer manually transferred it to his computer, or handed a USB stick to an agronomist to analyze. Now, however, smart devices can wirelessly transfer data straight to a corporation’s servers, sometimes without a farmer's knowledge.
Data that in isolation is of limited use suddenly becomes highly valuable when aggregated. Here, for example, are some of the ways that companies like Monsanto might use their new stores of knowledge:
details on the economic worth of a farm operation could empower Monsanto or DuPont to calculate the exact value the farm derives from its products. Monsanto already varies its prices by region, so that Illinois farmers with a bumper crop might be charged more for seeds than Texas farmers facing a drought. Bigger heaps of data would enable these companies to price discriminate more finely, not just among different geographic regions but between neighbors.
Another possibility is the following:
Real-time data is highly valuable to investors and financial traders, who bet billions of dollars in wheat, soybean and corn futures. In a market where the slightest informational edge makes the difference between huge profits and even bigger losses, corporations that gather big data will have a ready customer base if they choose to sell their knowledge. Or they could just use it to speculate themselves.
Finally, there's this:
Another issue is how the value of this information will be determined, and the profits divided. The prescription services Monsanto and DuPont are offering will draw on the vast amounts of data they amass from thousands of individual farms. Farmers consider much of this information -- such as on soil fertility and crop yields -- confidential, and most view details about particular farming techniques as akin to personal "trade secrets." Even if the corporations agree not to disclose farm-specific information, some farmers worry that the information may end up being used against them in ways that dull their particular competitive edge.
The parallels with Facebook, Google and other online services that make money from collecting and analysing personal data, are clear. By pooling huge quantities of previously secret data, companies gain a privileged position with unique insights into what farmers are doing. As well as enabling them to track exactly what the latter are up to on a 24-by-7, field-by-field basis, it also allows these aggregators of agricultural data to see the bigger picture in terms of the relationships between different farms. In other words, the race seems to be on to become the NSA of agriculture, with Monsanto already emerging as the likely winner.

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  1.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jan 17th, 2014 @ 7:49pm

    Maybe I'm missing something but...

    What reason would the farmers have to hand over that data in the first place, if they consider it private and/or confidential? The possibility that it might get them a discount on seeds in the future(weighed of course against a possible increase in seed prices)?

    Given their actions in the past, I could certainly see Monsanto trying to include an extra clause in the 'license' for the seeds that says any data gathered also has to be sent to them, but I imagine that might not get the warmest reception, either with the farmers or any lawyers/judges the matter ended up in front of, as forcing farmers to provide research data like that probably wouldn't go over too well in court.

     

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    artp (profile), Jan 17th, 2014 @ 8:14pm

    Yes, this will cost farmers money

    Every time a new innovation comes along, it is trumpeted as crating more income for farmers. And that is true - for about two or three years. Then the suppliers (seeds, equipment, chemicals) and buyers (meat packing, grain exporters, food processors) catch on to exactly how much more/less they can charge/pay farmers without driving them out of business.

    With more data, Monsanto doesn't have to wait that extra two or three years. They can hit the ground running, and squeeze every possible penny out of farmers. They can also squeeze extra money out the rest of the time, too. Regional pricing, as Glyn points out, is an anticompetitive strategy.

    This would not be possible without the commoditization of agriculture that was kicked off by Earl Butz in the Nixon administration. It's not paranoia if they really are out to get you.

    Until farmers recreate an actual; farm economy and start adding value to their products AND give consumers what they want, this will continue. Sound like Masnick's Connect with Fans strategy? Right now, the strategy of agriculture is to conform to Big Ag's demands and fight what consumers want. Kinda backwards if you ask me.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 10:12pm

    I like monsanto... Sometimes massive investment is needed to overcome large problems, like starving children... If monsanto increases yields and feeds more people, good.

     

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  4.  
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    weneedhelp - not signed in, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 10:53pm

    This is bad

    Ok PPL indulge me if you will please. (Forgive me if my html is a little rusty)
    Iran's FARS:Snowden Documents Finally Detail That The US Government Is Run By Aliens

    Anne O'Nemus made a comment to which I replied, and she responded talking about Sorcha Faal which I had never heard of, nor did I ever hear about whatdoesitmean.com. So having nothing to do on this Friday night I ended up reading:
    Obama Plan To Depopulate Montana Raises Crisis Fears In Moscow

    One particular thing that peaked my interest:
    States — or in this case, the tribes — must monitor up to 50 miles beyond any boundary demarcating land monitored under the Clean Air Act. Because the Wind River Indian Reservation surrounds Riverton, the Obama regime found that the city falls under the jurisdiction of the tribes.
    Wyoming State Senator Leland Christensen in response to this unprecedented Obama “land grab” stated “This is an alarming action when you have a federal agency step in and start to undo congressional acts that has really been our history for 108 years, with the stroke of a pen without talking to the biggest groups impacted, and that would be the city of Riverton and the state of Wyoming.”


    Here is where I get to something close to the topic:
    ***Warning infowars link***
    Having the most to gain from this unprecedented land seizure, this report warns, is the Obama regime protected biotechnology giant Monsanto whose genetically modified crops are currently grown on these millions of acres set to be taken, but under a US Supreme Court ruling titled Montana v. United States would nevermore face lawsuits due to their dangerous and defective foods.

    So I started looking for a respectable source to confirm this and found another tidbit:
    Monsanto Protection Act

    And we have this confirmation on 1-8-2014 that Barry Sorento did in fact override congress, second Story.
    EPA overrides Congress, hands over town to Indian tribes


    Lastly... we have this little gem:
    We are not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we are providing Americans the kind of help that they need. I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone," Obama told his Cabinet Sounds like Barry thinks he is The Decider too.

    Conclusion:
    Apply what you have read above with Mike's write-up's and what we already know... its scary.
    What are we seeing happen here over the past 13+ years? [puts on copper hat] Sure as hell seems "they" whoever "they" may be... are trying to control food production through land grabs and aggressive patent enforcement via giant corporations like Monsanto.[Takes off hat]
    One thing for sure is our government is out of control, and since Bush 1 every Pres after takes more and more power. Where are we going to be in the next 13 years? Its sad what we are letting happen. Our Government has been purchased by the highest bidder. Have a great weekend everyone.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 11:37pm

    Re: Maybe I'm missing something but...

    English:
    Monsanto spent close to $1 billion to buy the Climate Corporation, a data analytics firm. Last year the chemical and seed company also bought Precision Planting, another high-tech firm, and also launched a venture capital arm geared to fund tech start-ups.

    Many farmers have been collecting digitized yield data on their operations since the 1990s, when high-tech farm tools first emerged. But that information would sit on a tractor or monitor until the farmer manually transferred it to his computer, or handed a USB stick to an agronomist to analyze. Now, however, smart devices can wirelessly transfer data straight to a corporation’s servers, sometimes without a farmer's knowledge.


    Simple English:
    Farmers nowadays use fancy tractors and stuff that connects to the internet. Monsanto is cornering the fancy internet tractor market. Farmers will have to use Monsanto tractors to plant Monsanto seeds, and Monsanto will know to the penny exactly how much they can wring out of them.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 11:43pm

    Re: I like monsanto...

    Monsanto is a business. It does what it does in order to make as much money as possible, not to feed the starving children of the world.
    There is nothing wrong with this, all businesses exist in order to make money. It's how they do it that we have a problem with.
    The technology of genetic engineering may enable us to feed the starving people of the world but it won't be an international mega-corporation that does it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 12:33am

    I'm picturing farm tractors with built in satellite uplink modems, which automatically uploads information on a farmer's harvest yields in real-time, and without their knowledge.

    Similar to that CNC machine mill that has built in geolocation lockout DRM mechanizes built into it. Who would have though Richard Stallman would turn out to be 100% accurate in his predictions of the future.

    If the machine isn't running free and open source software, than the machines are no longer servants to their owners. Indeed, the owner are now the servants of the manufactures who produce the machines.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 1:27am

    Also monsanto is banned from most of the EU for their shady bullshits. They are like the MPAA of the farmers. You dont have to look too far to see that whatever they are up to this time it will not benefit the farmers at all.

    And there was that thing with them buying blackwater...

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 5:15am

    monsanto have already been limiting what crops can be grown by dictating what seeds farmers are allowed to purchase and sow. i sure hope this isn't going to progress because it will obviously mean the loss of a multitude of different crops. giving farmers special deals when buying seed is one thing, forcing them to only buy what one massive, self-serving corporation dictates is a no-no

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 5:19am

    Re: Maybe I'm missing something but...

    wouldn't it be a breach of contract/borderline illegal to gather big farming data without the farmer's express consent? similar to the ways in which NSA have breached the rights of citizens whom expect a minimum standard of privacy

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 5:39am

    Re: Re: Maybe I'm missing something but...

    Nope , there are no laws forbidding "private companies" from collecting and selling data ..just look at microsoft ,google and apple... although I think they as citizens of the US should have to abide by the Constitution, but they never will .

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 5:45am

    Monsanto will own 90% of the worlds food supply in 10 yrs ..via pollination of genetic crops(monsanto owned) to organic .

     

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  13.  
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    art guerrilla (profile), Jan 18th, 2014 @ 5:55am

    Re: Re: Maybe I'm missing something but...

    anon @ 11:47

    another episode of 'you can't be too cynical'...

    monsanto = eeee-vil

    besides taking advantage of a broken patent system in cornering the market on OUR COLLECTIVE heritage of agricultural/etc genomes, their stated goals are inherently eeee-vil: a vast wasteland of Big Agri monoculture 'farms' dependent upon an unnatural system of endless cycles of artificial over-fertilization, continual dousing in pesticides and herbicides, and GMO/'patented' crops designed for 'durability' and 'consistency' (NOT flavor/nutrition), controlled by them to accrue all the profits, but 'owned' by others to take all the downside risks and live in perpetual serfdom to monsanto/banksters...

    works great if your only goal is profit for the 1%...
    hmmm...

     

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  14.  
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    art guerrilla (profile), Jan 18th, 2014 @ 6:09am

    Re:

    i was just reading an informal critique of so-called 'miracle' Big Agra GMO/patented seed stocks, and it appears it is 90% PR, and 10% kinda/sorta did some sort of 'good'...

    so called 'golden rice' ? practically a myth, mostly PR...

    remember, most all these 'improvements' have NOTHING to do with real benefits for the farmer and consumer: they LOCK THEM INTO a monopoly system where they are DEPENDENT upon the monsantos/et al of the world, for the chemicals these crops, this method REQUIRES...

    remember, many/most of these GMO/hybrid 'improvements' are to WITHSTAND the deleterious effects of pesticides and herbicides; do you want to guess who sells those chems which WILL toxify the soil over time (not to mention mere humans and livestock) ? ? ?

    further, the common arrangement is the farmers are NOT allowed to save THEIR OWN SEED STOCK without paying extortion to Big Agra...
    that has been the basic economic basis of agriculture since the freaking beginning of agriculture:

    MONSANTO ET AL ARE DRM'ing AGRICULTURE ! ! !

     

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    art guerrilla (profile), Jan 18th, 2014 @ 6:14am

    Re: This is bad

    at the peak of the crisis, your interest was piqued...

    and a copper hat ! ? ! ?
    i *am* impressed...

    dog damn, i just might have to upgrade my steel colander and wrap copper wire around it...

     

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  16.  
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    Sampson (profile), Jan 18th, 2014 @ 6:51am

    Re: Maybe I'm missing something but...

    I think it would work in a similar way to a 'Smart fridge'
    In order that you can communicate with said fridge you need to have it connected with the internet. Somewhere in the machines small print will be a clause that allows the manufacturer to harvest (no pun intended) your data and sell it to whomever they wish. The only way to stop the data would be to disconnect the machine from the net (or maybe communications is done by GPS?) However the machine may not work if it can not communicate.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 7:25am

    Re: Re: Maybe I'm missing something but...

    I would be interested in a Magic Fridge,
    Smart Fridge - not so much.

    Seriously, connecting all sorts of household or farming appliances to the internet is probably not such a good idea given the vulnerability and potential risk involved.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 7:41am

    Re: Re: Maybe I'm missing something but...

    In most cases most neighboring farmers can't grow non-monsanto crops because of cross pollination..this years crops maybe fine but saving seeds for next year make them hybrid crops from the monsanto farm next door ..and monsanto does go after these farmers .. anyhow back on topic .. monsanto will force these monsanto farmers to keep this data flowing. or go broke trying to fight its implementation.

     

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  19.  
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    Paul Renault (profile), Jan 18th, 2014 @ 10:20am

    Aren't they already the NSA of science?

    ..like since day one?

    They sure seem to benefit from government largesse and obeisance, like the NSA does.

     

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  20.  
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    alternatives(), Jan 18th, 2014 @ 10:36am

    Re:

    Sometimes massive investment is needed to overcome large problems, like starving children...

    ...but most of the time the large problems like starving children has nothing to do with the production and everything to do with the market system pricing people out of food.

    If monsanto increases yields and feeds more people, good.

    And yet the key word is If. But perhaps the original AC can step up and explain the US of A hunger issues

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 10:49am

    Re:

    Do you work for Monsanto or any of it's owned brands?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 11:00am

    Remember they are the guys who purchased Blackwater ,trusting them is not the best option.

     

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  23.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 18th, 2014 @ 12:14pm

    Re:

    Despite confused reports in the activist press, Monsanto did not actually purchase Blackwater (they go by Academi now). However, Monsanto and Academi do work closely together, and it appears that they have several investors in common.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 12:27pm

    Re: Re:

    This is a key point that is missed by many who shill for big corp, just because there is plenty does not mean those in need will be given any.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 12:29pm

    Re: Re:

    The seed police

     

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  26.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 18th, 2014 @ 12:44pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    In a sense, yes. Monsanto employs Academi to infiltrate and disrupt anti-Monsanto activist groups.

     

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    kenichi tanaka (profile), Jan 18th, 2014 @ 1:44pm

    What these farmers should do is hire a hacker to develop a virus so that if someone like Monsanto tries to access tha6t information that it would simply upload a virus back to their servers.

    I know this is exactly what I would do. I would hire a hacker to develop intrusion software that displays a warning: "WARNING: YOU ARE ACCESSING A PRIVATE NETWORK! IF YOU CONTINUE TO TRY AND ACCESS THIS NETWORK, A VIRUS WILL BE DOWNLOADED ONTO YOUR SYSTEM TO PREVENT ADDITIONAL UNAUTHORIZED BREACHES!"

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 5:13pm

    So, am i the only one that is worried about the fact that one company is trying (and is currently succeeding) to get a copyright monopoly on a the vast majority of the food we eat? A monopoly that will last the entire lifetime of the corporation + 90 years (if the copyright maximalists get their way).

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 5:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Interesting.Could you provide some links outlining these operations? Thank You.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 5:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Maybe I'm missing something but...

    The US government doesn't abide by the constitution. The corporations follow that route. Might be the other way around though...

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 18th, 2014 @ 5:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Sure. This is a reasonable place to start: http://www.thenation.com/article/154739/blackwaters-black-ops

    But you can search for "monsanto blackwater connection" and come up with tons more.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 18th, 2014 @ 5:31pm

    Re:

    That's the unreliable way to do it. A better way is to use a firewall.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 5:38pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Abundance drives price down on a given commodity, scarcity drives prices up. Every corporation wants higher prices for their goods. A few dead children is a small price to pay for increased shareholder value (tm). Especially since it's not the corporation that pays that price.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 6:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Thanks!

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 6:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Seems I've started looking down into a really deep rabbit hole...

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 10:57pm

    Re: Maybe I'm missing something but...

    wouldn't it be a breach of contract/borderline illegal to gather big farming data without the farmer's express consent? similar to the ways in which NSA have breached the rights of citizens whom expect a minimum standard of privacy

     

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    BZ, Jan 19th, 2014 @ 12:55am

    Re: Re:

    No, but some of my family does. It does shade my opinion, but I think I would consider it a net good either way.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2014 @ 1:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Want to know where my rabbit hole ends.... AUMF and treason.... They didn't know, but you have to be careful with these things. Maybe people shouldn't do horrible shit to one another.

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2014 @ 2:36am

    Re:

    I have a better way.... But since I like monsanto I won't state it here. I find it is best to use the same tactics against their opponents and leave it at that.

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2014 @ 8:29am

    Re: Maybe I'm missing something but...

    But isnt that Monsanto's point?
    We just take the data, you already gave it to us ;)

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2014 @ 8:35am

    Re:

    Monopolies in the us are subject to government regulation in accordance with several laws. Given the rampant corruption I doubt any real regulation will be allowed.

     

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  42.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 19th, 2014 @ 8:43am

    Re: Re: Re:

    We disagree. In my opinion, Monsanto is one of the biggest threats to an abundant food supply in the future. They are aggressively turning themselves into a seed monopoly. When all food production depends on a single entity, we will be a world of hurt.

    Monsanto is, in every respect that I can see, the epitome of the large, abusive corporation willing to harm anyone and everyone who stands between them and total domination.

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2014 @ 9:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Do they create a superior product? Do they add value? Are there legal and abundant alternatives?

    Monsanto tries to do good(I think). Disagreement is fine though, I just won't join in on this one.

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2014 @ 10:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I doubt there is any dispute that Monsanto is creating a monoculture in several plant species used as a food source worldwide. Whether this is intentional or not makes no difference in its potential for catastrophe. If you are unaware of this, I suggest reading up on it.

    Whether their products are superior to that which preceded them is debatable. There are scientific studies not funded by Monsanto & friends which claim the advantages are small and will be short lived, followed by many inferior traits.

    Do Monsanto products add value? It depends. They certainly add value to shareholders portfolios, however it is not sustainable. If you are referring to consumer value, I think they do not.

    Are there legal and abundant alternatives? Used to be. Seems short term benefits outweigh long term planning

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2014 @ 10:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Thete are various seed banks that are ensuring alts exist, even if we don't use them. I think the threat is already mitigated with no further action req

     

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    E., Jan 19th, 2014 @ 11:17am

    Big Brother Monsanto

    Heck no. Don't like Monsanto in the slightest. I remember seeing a documentary awhile back where a man got in trouble for trying to plant plants and somehow some of Monsanto's engineered seeds got blown over onto his farm and he wasn't able to do what he wanted to do.

    I don't need some BIG corporation telling me what I can or cannot plant. Thanks, but no thanks.

    And this whole digitization, just screams 1984 imo. Don't need them watching over farmers like Big Brother.

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2014 @ 4:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Luckily that didn't happen

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2014 @ 5:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And you are foolish

     

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    btrussell (profile), Jan 20th, 2014 @ 2:03am

    In the age of too big to fail, we just keep letting companies get bigger and bigger. Sounds like a good strategy.

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2014 @ 2:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Want to go make a seed bank then? That wouldn't hurt anybody if you think we need more

     

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  51.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 20th, 2014 @ 7:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The problem is that once the seeds in the seed banks are actually used to grow crops, they are likely to be infected with Monsanto genes due to cross-pollination, at which point Monsanto will require their destruction and will punish the farmers so foolish as to not use Monsanto seeds.

    The value of seed banks is that they can potentially allow reintroduction of species if Monsanto (or any future versions of Monsanto) no longer exists. Until then, the seeds pretty much have to stay in the banks.

     

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  52.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 20th, 2014 @ 8:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Are there legal and abundant alternatives?


    Kinda-sorta. The alternatives are useless if your neighboring farms start using Monsanto seeds. Lots of farmers have been forced to use Monsanto seeds, or have been destroyed, because their crops were cross-pollinated with Monsanto crops by neighboring farms.

    Monsanto tries to do good


    Monsanto ruthlessly tries to maximize their profits. I don't think that "doing good" is actually a priority of theirs.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 20th, 2014 @ 8:20am

    Re: Re: Maybe I'm missing something but...

    Maybe communications is done by GPS


    No such thing. GPS is not two-way communications. It's just a series of timecodes broadcast from a series of satellites. Perhaps you meant via cell phone, like OnStar?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 20th, 2014 @ 8:26am

    Re: Re:

    but most of the time the large problems like starving children has nothing to do with the production and everything to do with the market system pricing people out of food.


    And distribution problems. It used to be true (I expect it still is, but don't know for sure) that the US alone destroys enough food to feed all of the starving people in the world. I'm not talking about things like food waste, I'm talking about things like dumping grain directly into the ocean.

    The problem of starvation is not a problem of production. If Monsanto's goal is to eliminate world hunger, they're using the wrong solution.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    identicon
    MM_Dandy, Jan 20th, 2014 @ 12:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Maybe I'm missing something but...

    I agree that patenting DNA sequences is a very bad thing. I just want to point out that, from a farmer's point of view, yield is the driving factor in variant selection. That is, volume (with weight and moisture content usually interpreted as signs of quality) over area. It is also the one they will use as measurement of crop success or failure, and not usually a closely guarded secret. If you asked a farmer, they'd probably even tell you the average yields from each field harvested: 100 bushels/acre for this 300 acres, 97 for that 80 acres, and so on.

    Now, having said all that, I still think any sort of private yield reporting program or system should be strictly opt-in. Will it? Well, let's just say that I do not have a great deal of confidence in Mansanto to do the right thing for the right reasons.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    identicon
    MM_Dandy, Jan 20th, 2014 @ 12:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Maybe I'm missing something but...

    Oh, and Monsanto (or any other nefarious seed company) can already set different price points in any given region because:
    1) Last year's weather is public knowledge.
    2) The USDA publishes yield estimates on per-county basis every year.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    identicon
    MM_Dandy, Jan 20th, 2014 @ 12:54pm

    Re: Yes, this will cost farmers money

    Farming is a business, just like any other. It is in their best interests to raise whichever crop/strain will net them the most profit. It is not their fault that they will generally get a higher profit for GMO field corn than non-GMO sweet corn given the same bit of ground.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2014 @ 1:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Maybe I'm missing something but...

    Some 17 year old hacker is out there somewhere and very eager to sit down in front of their computer and play a live action version of Maximum Overdrive. *Cue the AC/DC*

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2014 @ 2:03pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    85 people control 46% of the worlds money. That says it all.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2014 @ 2:12pm

    Re:

    They bought Blackwater?!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
    identicon
    notgmo, Jan 20th, 2014 @ 5:21pm

    Re:

    "So, am i the only one that is worried about..."

    No.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 20th, 2014 @ 6:03pm

    Re: Re: Yes, this will cost farmers money

    Farming is a business, but I would argue that it's not like any other. We need farming in order to survive. Whoever controls the seed controls us in a fairly direct way.

    That farmers may be so shortsighted that they're willing to sell their (and thus our) future in exchange for increased short-term profit is a real problem.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63.  
    icon
    btrussell (profile), Jan 21st, 2014 @ 3:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Yes, this will cost farmers money

    Farmers are given quotas.

    Too much? Throw the excess out. Do not make more money, do not lower prices.

    Too little? The farmer is penalized.


    This is why so much food is wasted. The farmers are making sure they are covering their assets.

    They do much more risk assessment and do much more to minimize risk than any investor or wall street broker, but are put on a fixed income to make things easier for other said cock suckers, all in the name of keeping the economy and inflation stable.

    My info comes from living on a farm with a quota.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 21st, 2014 @ 7:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The EU is attempting to outlaw non-regulated seeds. How long will these alternatives be allowed to last?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 21st, 2014 @ 7:32am

    Re:

    All corporations should be broken up the moment they reach a certain market value.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66.  
    identicon
    I'm_Having_None_Of_It, Jan 21st, 2014 @ 8:33am

    Re: Re:

    Is ANYONE surprised?

    The way they're trying to strangle food production so they own it all while the BBC cheerleads GM crops like they're the second coming (and forget about where the commercially available ones come from) and writes off all protest as Luddite annoys me.

    Professor Brian Cox, I'm looking at you, mate. And those science documentaries that also never question the GM menace. I'm not afraid of my cabbages turning into Triffids and eating me, I'm afraid of receiving a nastygram demanding money with menaces because some GM pollen blew into my allotment.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67.  
    identicon
    I'm_Having_None_Of_It, Jan 21st, 2014 @ 8:39am

    Re: Re:

    I understand that this is due to an anti-regulation faction in the Republican party, which believes in total deregulation of businesses ON PRINCIPLE, forget the consequences.

    I've had a lot of conversations with certain hardcore Libertarians over this and the upshot is they refuse to accept that private enterprise can do wrong. Apparently, when there is foul play, it's the government's fault. Given that they're currently running the government (there's a reason I'm afraid of what would happen if Hillary Clinton ended up as President), I'm afraid I disagree.

    We need regulation to protect the public from bad actors. You can't vote with your wallet when there's a monopoly on the item in question and "take it or leave it" is not always an option. It's not a real choice, either.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 21st, 2014 @ 9:45am

    Re: Re:

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69.  
    identicon
    Brad Young, Jan 22nd, 2014 @ 2:31am

    Re:

    It's the FARMERS who feed people. Monsanto feeds its shareholders.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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