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					           Monsanto is Causing a Decrease in the Diversity of Corn Crops

     Throughout the years the country and the world have been hearing about

the company Monsanto and how the researchers there are developing new strains

of corn.     These new strains are commonly known as a genetically modified

organism (GMO) and Monsanto has developed many new strains of genetically

modified corn to market to the countries’ corn producers.     Granted these

modifications or stacking of genes increase yields they also create a demand

for that one particular variety which causes monocultures, GMOs are creating

public uneasiness, also GMOs cause a reduction in profits for producers that

aren’t using genetically modified corn.

     States that produce corn to make a living are increasingly using more

and more of Monsanto’s corn seed.    For example Illinois has increased the

percentage of Insect-resistant corn from 13% of the total corn planted in

2000 to 19% of the total corn planted in 2007.     Furthermore Minnesota has

incorporated the Stacked gene varieties into their corn production, starting

with 2% in 2000 to planting 28% of their corn crop with the Stacked gene

variety in 2007 (USDA Data Sets).    The reason that these percentages are

rising is because these types of genetically modified corn produce higher

yields generating more revenue for the producer.     The increasing percentages

of genetically modified corn shows that more corn producers are using the

same product within the same area which could cause some potentially

dangerous effects.    Using the same variety of corn in an area increases the

potential for diseases to infest and demolish the entire crop of corn for

that year.    The devastation that would come form the loss of all corn crops

would cause a lot of the producers to suffer financially because their income

for the year would be destroyed. Monocultures of any type increase the

possibility of disease to overtake a crop in any area.

     Along with creating genetically modified corn and promoting one product

within an area, Monsanto is teaming up with the Dow Company and will produce
an eight-gene stacked corn variety called “SmartStack” (Chemical Week).      The

variety of corn will contain belowground insect-resistant and yield

increasing technologies (Chemical Week).    This pairing of the two companies

will undoubtedly increase revenues for both companies while putting a strain

on corn producers who can’t afford to purchase Monsanto’s corn seed.

American corn producers are split between those who use genetically modified

corn and those who can’t afford to transport their crops to elevators that

allow genetically altered corn.    Producers who ship corn gluten to Europe are

encountering restrictions like the corn gluten has to contain less than 0.9%

of approved GMOs and less than 0.5% of unapproved GMOs in order for that

producer to sell in the European market (Farm Journal).    The reason that

producers selling in the European market have these restrictions placed upon

them comes from the fact that the European Union (EU) hasn’t approved the use

of GMOs within their boundaries because they are concerned that the seed

companies aren’t testing the GMOs as in depth as the companies should be to

ensure public safety.

     The EU has tried to vote nine times on the allowance of GMOs into their

countries and eight out of nine times the vote has resulted without an

agreement for the issue and the ninth time the vote was a tie (Food

Navigator).    One of the reasons that the public and the EU are uneasy about

GMOs is because they aren’t provided with enough information to support their

curiosity.    And the reports that they do hear about GMOs aren’t promising.

News Target came out with and article on how Monsanto’s GM Corn MON863 could

cause liver toxicity and kidney failure, granted this corn variety was

approved for human consumption.    Another article supports the findings of the

News Target article saying “feeding the rats on diets containing significant

amounts of MON863 corn can potentially be detrimental to the health of these

animals” (The Independent Science Panel).    However the Food and Chemical

Toxicology Journal says, “reanalysis does not advance any new scientific data
to indicate MON863 corn caused adverse effects in the 90-day rat study.”        So

which article does the public believe about Monsanto and which article is

actually true are factors that affect how the public views not only Monsanto

but the other companies who are producing genetically modified organisms.

Another factor that causes public to be cautious of companies like Monsanto

comes from a money aspect.     Monsanto announced earlier this year that they

would be building a new processing plant so they can double the corn seed

production (Ackerman).     Money influences people to do a lot of things and

money also shows the public just how far a company is willing to go to get

ahead of their competitors. Furthermore when this new production plant is

built the producers who can’t switch to genetically modified corn seed will

have more problems with keeping their corn crops from becoming contaminated.

     Producers who are using the genetically modified corn can also afford to

transport their crop harvest to elevators who approve the GMOs.     Not only are

the producers who are using the GMOs generating higher yields they are

increasing the chance of pollen drift to producers’ fields that do not have

GMOs planted.     Some producers like Bill Leischner from Illinois have bordered

their genetically modified corn crops with traditional corn to help prevent

the contamination to his neighbors’ cornfields (Farm Journal).     If American

producers who are trading with the EU fail to meet the requirements for how

much genetically modified material can be in the corn gluten then the

producer won’t generate as much income as need to cover costs for that

season.     The corn gluten market is a 400 million dollar market for American

corn producers and the result of losing this market would cause corn prices

to decrease costing producers about 1 billion dollars (IFB Pres. Ron Warfield

in Farm Journal).     This loss of monetary income for the traditional producers

will have a negative effect on all of the markets within the agricultural

industry.
    Monsanto’s genetically modified corn seeds will continue to gain

popularity within American agriculture because we are a country driven by

higher yields and higher incomes.   However, if Monsanto doesn’t come up with

a rotation plan or a multi-species distribution plan, then American producers

will be encountering a devastating crop loss due to the fact that the pests

have evolved to takeover the trait that the corn seed was modified for.

American corn production will continue to evolve and new technologies will

always be influencing how a producer looks at their next crop, but companies

like Monsanto can help by creating diversity in corn seeds that won’t

decrease the corn prices and raise production costs.
                                    References:

        United States. Dept. of Agriculture. Adoption of Genetically Engineered

Crops in the U.S. 5 July 2007.

<http://www.ers.usda.gov/data/BiotechCrops/ExtentofAdoptionTable1/htm

        Bryner, Michelle. “Dow and Monsanto Team Up for Eight-Gene Stacked

Corn.” Chemical Week 169.31 (2007)

http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=26917329&site=eh

ost-live.

        “Biotech Divide Widens.” Farm Journal Oct. 2003.

<http://www.farmjournal.com/ME2/Audiencers/dirmod.asp?.

        “EU: GM Monsanto Corn Vote Delayed.” Food 27 Jan. 2005.

<http://www.foodnavigator.com/news/news-NG.asp?n=57644-eu-gm-corn.

        Gutierrez, David. “Monsanto’s GM Corn MON863 Shows Kidney, Liver

Toxicity in Animal Studies.” News Target. 10 April 2007.

<http://www.newstarget.com/z021784.

        “MON88017 Another MON863.” The Independent Science Panel.

<http://www.indsp.org/mon88017.php.

        Doull,J, Gaylor,D. “Report on an Expert Panel on the Reanalysis of a 90-

Day Study Conducted by Monsanto in Support of the Safety of a Genetically

Modified Corn Variety (MON 863).” Food and Chemical Toxicology 45.11 Nov.

2007.

        Ackerman Ruthie, “Monsanto’s Corn Crazy.” Forbes Magazine 9 Oct 2007

<http://www.forbes.com/2007/10/9/monsanto-ethanol-corn-markets-equity-

cx_ra_1009m.

				
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