Tag Archives: agribusiness

Agri-chemical companies consolidate

It’s not just Monsanto and Bayer. From Quartz:

“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….”

More on qz.com

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Food activists are making a difference — the state and industry taking notice

The usual suspects. Book cover via Tagan’s Kitchen blog. Click image to go there.

Maybe YOU are a food activist. Perhaps you blog about food issues. Maybe you go to demonstrations, and come out to support your farmer at court appearances. Maybe you make a point of buying raw milk, even though you could do without, just to cast your vote in the marketplace of dollars. Do you ever wonder whether all that fuss and bother makes a difference? Well, according to Tony Gucciardi, who writes on the Natural Society blog, you and your kind are keeping food processors up at night, and giving them cause to worry about what the future holds for the way they have been doing business.  Continue reading

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Florida governor vetoes bill to help farm workers who are sick from pesticides

From Barry Estabrook on his “Politics of the Plate” blog:

“No wonder Tea Party activists love Florida Governor Rick Scott. To save a pittance on the state’s budget, the new governor, who has a personal net worth of more than $200 million, thanks in part to being president of a healthcare company that perpetrated the biggest medical fraud in United States’ history, vetoed a bill earlier this month that finally would have brought relief to 2,500 poverty-plagued African American farm laborers who, over the course of five decades, were poisoned on a daily basis by a witch’s brew of pesticides.

I met Linda Lee, one of the afflicted workers, last summer when she took me on a “pesticide tour” of the land near Lake Apopka, a few miles northeast of Orlando. Leaning on her cane in the scorching midday June sun, Lee, who is 57, matter-of-factly listed her medical conditions: diabetes, lupus, high blood pressure, emphysema, and arthritis. Her hip had to be replaced and her gall bladder removed. Her kidneys failed, so she had a transplant. She also had two corneal implants. Asked what caused her woes, she didn’t hesitate: As a farm laborer on the shores of Lake Apopka in the 1970s and 1980s, she was routinely exposed to agricultural chemicals as she worked in the fields. “Plenty of my old friends and neighbors got what I got, and a lot of them got stuff I don’t want to get,” she told me. Continue reading

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David Suzuki on feeding the world from small organic farms instead of from big industrial-style agribusiness operations

From David Suzuki on The Straight.com:

“We often assume the only way to feed the world’s rapidly growing human population is with large-scale industrial agriculture. Many would argue that genetically altering food crops is also necessary to produce large enough quantities on smaller areas to feed the world’s people.

But recent scientific research is challenging those assumptions. Our global approaches to agriculture are critical. To begin, close to one billion people are malnourished and many more are finding it difficult to feed their families as food prices increase. But is large-scale industrial farming the answer? Continue reading

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“Ag Gag” bills face tough row to hoe

From Tom Laskowy on Grist, via Activist Post:

The sort of thing THEY don't want you to see. Wiki Image Photo via Activist Post

“Big Ag is having trouble installing its Iron Curtain. I am referring, of course, to the various “ag-gag” laws proposed in Florida, Minnesota, and Iowa that would make it illegal to produce (and, in some cases, possess) undercover videos from within factory livestock farms. The latest state legislature to pursue this dubious goal is New York’s — but the fate of ag-gaggery in other states makes success in the Empire State seem unlikely. Continue reading

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“Ain’t no time to wonder why….”

Some insights on the state of farming today, via Salt Spring News:

"The very next year we wrote a parody of Country Joe's "I Feel-like-I'm-fixin'-to-die Rag" and called it "The Monsanto Rag" which became our first ever song." -- Synister Dane and the Kickapoo Disco Cosmonuts (via Salt Spring News)

“It ought to be obvious that in order to have sustainable agriculture, you have got to make sustainable the lives and livelihoods of the people who do the work. The land cannot thrive if the people who are its users and caretakers do not thrive. Ecological sustainability requires a complex local culture as the preserver of the necessary knowledge and skill; and this in turn requires a settled, stable, prosperous local population of farmers and other land users. It ought to be obvious that agriculture cannot be made sustainable by a dwindling population of economically depressed farmers and a growing population of migrant workers. Continue reading

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Why the U.S. “Food Safety” bills should worry even rich bankers on Wall Street

Here’s a fascinating proposition, from Patrick Henning:

Sure they may be rich enough to have a plane in every garage, but if S-510 is allowed to pass the Senate, even the super rich may eventually not be able to buy any food worth eating.

In the 1980s, a British psychiatrist lived in the US.  He was making a great deal more money than he could ever have made in the UK but for financial reasons, he went home.  He returned because his daughter had a medical condition and he said that he could never be rich enough in the US to be sure she got adequate care, whereas in the UK, even on a considerably smaller salary, he knew she would be covered by the health system there.

Wall Street brokers are not immune from their own fears of threatening things happening in the world.  Out of fear for their own lives, they do the opposite of that psychiatrist.  They hope to be immune from world issues by amassing unheard of wealth.  And they have the money, already, through stealing from everyone else in the country. Continue reading

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