“As agricultural productivity increases, efficiency grows and, as in all mature industries, margins contract. (Cargill, for example, reported profits of just $1.6 billion on sales of $120 billion last year). With gains from technology diminishing, consolidation is one of the few area left for the ag industry to wring future growth. Just as family concerns have been snapped up to form mega farms, the crop science business is ripe for mergers.
Along with Bayer’s proposed acquisition of Monsanto, Dow and DuPont are in discussions to merge and spin out a new agricultural company and China National Chemical Corp. is attempting to buy Switzerland’s Syngenta. If the deals all proceed, it would leave 75% of the global crop market in the hands of three companies, according to Bloomberg….”
“John Sanders worked in the orange and grapefruit groves in Redlands, California, for more than 30 years. First as a ranch hand, then as a farm worker, he was responsible for keeping the weeds around the citrus trees in check. Roundup, the Monsanto weed killer, was his weapon of choice, and he sprayed it on the plants from a hand-held atomizer year-round.
Frank Tanner, who owned a landscaping business, is also a Californian and former Roundup user. Tanner relied on the herbicide starting in 1974, and between 2000 and 2006 sprayed between 50 and 70 gallons of it a year, sometimes from a backpack, other times from a 200-gallon drum that he rolled on a cart next to him.
The two men have other things in common, too: After being regularly exposed to Roundup, both developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a blood cancer that starts in the lymph cells. And, as of April, both are plaintiffs in a suit filed against Monsanto that marks a turning point in the pitched battle over the most widely used agricultural chemical in history. Continue reading
It’s hard not to think of raw milk and the trials of Michael Schmidt when you read this story, which appeared today in the print edition of the Toronto Star:
“For all it’s cost him in money and liberty, Canada’s voluble “prince of pot,” Marc Emery, is still not about to hide his principles — or the light off the joints he sparks — under a bushel.
In fact these days, as the federal government prepares to liberalize marijuana laws, are hugely gratifying for the country’s best-known pot crusader and have him evangelizing at the same hectic pace.
For most of Emery’s quarter-century of activism, during which he saw the inside of 34 prisons, jails and institutions, it “looked like progress was moving awful slow for the price one has to pay,” he told the Star in a recent interview.
But thanks to civil disobedience, the rallying tools of social media, and greater awareness of the medical uses of cannabis, change is now coming “faster than government or authorities can keep up with,” he said.
Last month, Health Minister Jane Philpott told the UN the federal government’s promised legislation to legalize marijuana will be tabled next spring.
From Toronto Non-GMO Coalition:
URGENT request from our #farmers! They have asked consumers to speak up to help Stop #GMO #alfalfa.
There are several ways to Take Action!
– Join the Thunderclap today: https://www.thunderclap.it/…/41291-stop-gm-alfalfa-contamin…
Since 2006, efforts to suppress raw milk initiatives in both Canada and the U.S. have seemingly moved in lock-step. The 2006 raid at Michael Schmidt’s Glencolton Farms was echoed by a similar style of crackdown on herd share farmers south of the border.
Even in States like California, where raw milk was and is already legal, it has been the target of far more than its share of regulatory attention in recent years.
Here in Canada we had the case of a meat packing company which killed several people a few years ago, and yet much more enforcement resources seem to have been directed towards raw milk, which has killed no one and is of lower risk than many other common foods.
One wonders who it is that doesn’t like raw milk, and why. Here in Ontario, one might imagine that the so-called “Dairy Farmers of Ontario” have had something to do with all the naysaying.
Perhaps they feel that raw milk is incompatible with, or a threat to, the supply management system that underpins the value of their milk quota, and the security of their livelihood. Continue reading