Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Biotech IT Technology

GM Crop Producer Monsanto Using Data Analytics To Expand Its Footprint 128

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-get-cloud-with-their-cloud-pollinating-your-cloud dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Monsanto is more infamous for growing its genetically modified crops than its use of software, but a series of corporate acquisitions and a new emphasis on tech solutions has transformed it into a firm that acts more like an innovative IT vendor than an agribusiness giant. Jim McCarter (the Entrepreneur in Residence for Monsanto) recently detailed for an audience in St. Louis how the company's IT efforts are expanding. Monsanto's core projects generate huge amounts of bits, especially its genomic efforts, which are the focus of so much public attention. Other big data gobblers are the phenotypes of millions of DNA structures that describe the various biological properties of each plant, and the photographic imagery of crop fields. (All told, there are several tens of petabytes that need storage and analysis, a number that's doubling roughly every 16 months.) With all that tech muscle, the company has launched IT-based initiatives such as its FieldScripts software, which uses proprietary algorithms (fed with data from the FieldScripts Testing Network and Monsanto research) to recommend where to best plant corn hybrids. 'Just like Amazon has its recommendation engine for what book to buy, we will have our recommendations of what and how a grower should plant a particular crop,' said McCarter. 'All fields aren't uniform and shouldn't be planted uniformly either.' Despite its increasingly sophisticated use of data analytics in the name of greater crop yields, however, Monsanto faces pushback from various groups with an aversion to genetically modified food; a current ballot initiative in Washington State, for example, could result in genetically modified foods needing a label in order to go on sale here. The company has also inspired a 'March Against Monsanto,' which has been much in the news lately."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

GM Crop Producer Monsanto Using Data Analytics To Expand Its Footprint

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @02:37PM (#43916731)

    Why stick to a single crop and not rotate like days of old?

    • by Sarten-X (1102295) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @02:52PM (#43916863) Homepage

      Because different crops are different. They require different care, different equipment, and have different market demands. That means different prices, different profits, and different outcomes. Instead of just growing and harvesting a crop, you're now managing a multi-year multi-stage process across several rotating plots, and a single bad year can disrupt the next several years of work as you try to rebuild that delicate year-to-year balance of nutrients.

      I know the nostalgic image of the gentle old-time farmer is romantic, but the simple fact is that modern farms are a production industry. Just like any other production industry, there's a significant expense associated with every redesign and retooling for a new project. Generalization has some benefits (labeling food "organic", for instance), but specialization has its benefits as well (lower expenses).

      Source: I grew up in farmland. When the wind blows just right, you can smell the manure from the pig farms. When it blows the opposite direction, you can smell the manure being spread on the crop fields.

      • Source: I grew up in farmland. When the wind blows just right, you can smell the manure from the pig farms.

        aka: The Smell of Other People's Money

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @03:41PM (#43917277)

        "I know the nostalgic image of the gentle old-time farmer is romantic"
        It's also smarter than you think you are. When the genetic crops fail they will ALL fail and the bio-diversified crops will reign.
        What seems a "no brainer" requires one, to ask yourself questions. Like what does the continual use of roundup do to OUR genetic makeup?
        Crops have been developed for centuries for particular areas and are called heirloom varieties and passed down legally to each other for eons.
        Now Monsanto wants everyone to buy only theirs. But your propaganda is clearly obvious. Superior? Super? Suspect.
        Don't change my world Monsanto. Go steal the farms in India like you are doing...to the farmers here with lawsuits.
        Absolutely shameful on US

        • by lemur3 (997863)

          When the genetic crops fail they will ALL fail

          [citation needed]

          (plus, do ya got any good tips on the 2013 MLB World Series ?)

        • by caseih (160668)

          Perhaps you should go work with farmers for a bit (real family farms... yes they still exist) and get a grasp of their current methodology, both the how and the why. Then you can take your position with knowledge rather than fear.

          Your arguments are fairly scattered, so it's hard to pin them down and reply logically to them. Monsanto isn't forcing farmers to buy their seed. Rather they offer a distinct advantage over the heirloom varieties and that appeals to farmers, and they actually have a small benefi

        • by caseih (160668)

          Wanted to comment on the "when the genetic crops fail" comment. GMO crops don't "fail" any differently than heirloom crops do. An ecological disaster that wipes out GMO crops is going to wipe out "bio-diversified" crops too. Your argument is thus a fallacy.

          Perhaps you are referring to monoculture. However monoculture as a problem has nothing to do with GMO crop. Non-GMO crops can be just as mono-cultured as GMO. There is interesting research going on now into the idea of growing multiple crops togethe

      • by Jawnn (445279)

        Because different crops are different. They require different care, different equipment, and have different market demands... blah, blah, blah

        That giant whooshing sound is GP's subtle humor flying right over your head. Ironically, you and he are saying the same thing - "profit". I think his version was ever so much more artful.

    • by westlake (615356)

      Why stick to a single crop and not rotate like days of old?

      Taking land out of production has never been an easy choice to make. Each crop in the rotation has its own labor and material cost. Different skills. Different tools. It adds up.

    • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @03:10PM (#43917015)

      Why stick to a single crop and not rotate like days of old?

      What makes you think that modern farmers don't rotate crops? I grew up on a farm. My parents and all my neighbors rotated crops regularly, and still do.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @04:12PM (#43917489)

        Most corn acreage isn't rotated sustainably. 30% of U.S. cropland is planted in Corn, and there are counties in the U.S. where corn has been planted on 64% of the acres for 4 or 5 out of 5 years (source = satellite data analysis by USDA). 5% to 10% is the maximum acreage in the U.S. that should be planted in corn at any one time. Corn planted year after year degrades the soil, and results in much greater use of fertilizers, pesticides, irrigation water and other inputs. As corn is one of the least-efficient at utilizing fertilizer, about 2/3rds of the fertilizer runs off into waterways, creating all kinds of problems that farmers say are just not their problem.

        Crop rotation systems are scalable and work well, however the U.S. subsidizes commodity corn in various ways (crop subsidies, insurance subsidies, demand mandates such as the Ethanol mandate which as 40% of our corn production going to ethanol, etc). But there are basically no subsidies for livestock, which are essential for sustainable agriculture. See the Union of Concerned Scientists recent report at http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/solutions/advance-sustainable-agriculture/healthy-farm-vision.html .

        Scientists get it. Consumers get it. The only people who don't seem to get it are those who are captive to the system and benefit from the externalized costs such as pollution and the loss of topsoil...which won't effect this year's Profit and Loss statement, but will affect all our children. Buy local, support farmers who are using sustainable agriculture, support a level playing field for federal subsidies (either eliminate them or at least make them support sustainable agriculture) and call B.S. on those that say monocropping is the only way to feed the world. The only people it feeds are their short-term shareholders.

        • by t4ng* (1092951) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @04:39PM (#43917797)

          For the last 4 years I have lived right next to two crop fields that are worked, but not owned, by a local family that has been farming here for many generations. They have never rotated crops in the time I've been here. One field is always corn, and the other is always squash. Every year they plow in fertilizer, flood irrigate, and spray who-knows-what on everything. What's more, they rarely harvest any of it. At the end of harvest, they always tell us we are welcome to pick whatever we want. Did that once and never did it again; everything was completely flavorless. Then they plow it all under and do it again the next year!

          I can think of only two possible reasons for this behavior. One is that they would lose subsidies and the land owner would lose tax discounts if they don't grow anything on the land. The other is the big increase in deportations since Obama got in office and tougher state level regulations have made getting farm labor to pick stuff more difficult.

          With millions of pounds of food uneaten and wasted every day around the world, I don't think crop yield is a problem. Economics and logistics are the problems in getting food from the field to the people that need it, when they need it. The business model of companies like Monsanto, getting rid of small local farmers in favor of big industrial farms and prosecuting seed savers, makes those problems worse, not better.

          • by bogjobber (880402)
            Manual labor wouldn't have an effect on corn and squash. Both of those are mechanized crops. Illegals are used to pick labor intensive crops like berries.

            And it's not so much that they would lose subsidies. Subsidies are paid at the market, so it wouldn't make sense to waste the crop. And for the most part you wouldn't have to let a field go fallow anyway, what you would do is set up a crop rotation. But a crop rotation adds complexity and cost. Instead of just growing corn and only having to pay
            • by t4ng* (1092951)

              Manual labor wouldn't have an effect on corn and squash. Both of those are mechanized crops. Illegals are used to pick labor intensive crops like berries.

              Not in this case. This family farms on several separate fields that vary in size from 1 to 5 acres, which they lease from the landowners. They use machinery to plow, fertilize, and spray. But I've never seen them use machinery to harvest. Usually it's just a few laborers pulling up in a pickup truck with a bunch of cardboard boxes and going at it.

              They never harvest one corn field near a public road. Instead, they let it dry out, and in Oct/Nov turn it into a corn maze that they charge admission to.

              So u

              • by bogjobber (880402)
                I guess at the small scale it would probably be cheaper to hire labor for $40/day than to rent a machine? That's weird, though, especially with corn. They definitely aren't making any money unless they have some weird heirloom organic thing going on.
        • by caseih (160668) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @11:29PM (#43921129)

          Excellent points. Sometimes I forget how things are down there in the corn belt. Even here in Canada, my neighbors to the east (next province over) are now starting to come to terms with the consequences of not rotating Canola like they should.

          Just to help people understand why crop rotation is often cheated on, consider that corn is a very lucrative crop. Soybeans, the second choice, is about 2/3 of the profit of corn. And wheat is possibly 1/2 of corn. A heavily-leveraged farm is going to be sorely tempted to to maximize short-term profits. Yes it will come crashing down eventually.

          On my farm, multiplying seed canola brings me more than double the income per acre of any of my other crops. We joke about rotating snow canola snow canola, but we know we can't do that and so we have to be careful and plan things out as best we can. We constantly look for alternate crops to try, that we can grow with our current equipment. Some work out, some don't. This year we're trying dry beans and faba beans.

      • by formfeed (703859)

        I tried rotating crops, but every time I till them the plants just die.

        Now I thought of switching to growing chicks. But no luck either.
        Dunno whether I planted them too close together or too deep.

    • by caseih (160668) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @10:58PM (#43921009)

      In fact I do. I farm roughly 3000 acres. We religiously stick to a 4 year rotation. Spring wheat, Canola, Winter Wheat, Legume. Any tighter of a rotation leads to massive disease problems (which, by the way, have nothing to do with GMO crops). My rotations are limited by several factors: soil type, total heat units, availability of water, labor, and most importantly, machinery investment. There are some crops I simply cannot grow because they would lead to massive soil erosion either in spring before the crop overs the ground and in the winter when only residue is left. Other crops I can't grow because they are too labor intensive for my operation. I currently don't have any row-crop equipment, so that precludes beats, potatoes,corn, etc. But my current equipment allows just a small number of people to effectively manage the crops I do grow.

      In days of old, in my area, rotation really wasn't possible at all because it was too dry to grow anything but wheat and rye. Now with high-efficiency irrigation, everything from corn, potatoes beans, peas, wheat, canola, onions, dill, mint, and many other crops are grown. On a large scale, there is now more diversity in crops in my area than there ever was. However, these crops are grown in large fields (no smaller than 130 acres), so that leads to local monoculture, and also a difficulty in controlling weeds.

      I do happily grow roundup-ready canola, and sometimes soybeans. I have relatively few qualms (except those I list below) with growing roundup-resistant broad-leafed crops. However roundup-ready wheats or grasses would be a very bad thing. The reason is that broadleaf weeds are easy to control with standard, relatively benign chemicals even if they are resistant to round-up, whereas grassy weeds not so much, especially wild oats. Likewise, I strongly oppose the current research into 24D-resistant soybeans because such plants, when volunteer weeds, would be much more difficult to control.

  • They've been running contests in this area on TopCoder since January: http://community.topcoder.com/longcontest/stats/?module=ViewOverview&rd=15024 [topcoder.com]
  • by nimbius (983462) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @02:50PM (#43916841) Homepage
    so the company is using data analytics to determine where it should plant crops most efficiently? thats pretty cool. Chances are great theyve been using analytics heavily in their biosciences divisions for quite some time, considering output from computational modeling software is rarely terse.

    this might seem naive, but wasnt this the grand plan for the future? a supercrop that never needs to worry about weeds or bugs? that grows tens of times larger than its regular counterpart? I have a legitimately difficult time bashing monsanto but ive followed lots of slashdot discussion on the matter and it seems to be a pretty common thread.

    are they really targeting farmers for intentional litigation somehow? there are plenty of other corn seeds besides roundup ready for example that farmers could decide to plant, and the only evidence ive seen to date was some guy who went to the supreme court to challenge the fact that he knowingly saved proprietary seeds. solution: vote with dollars, dont buy proprietary monsanto seeds.

    is GM food dangerous? i really cant find any scientific data on the subject...maybe thats because research hasnt been/is still being conducted, but so far i havent seen a public crisis that indicates GM is a bad thing, other than a tentative link to colony collapse disorder.

    does monsanto have a history of using analytics for some nefarious purpose? Other than creating superplants i cant think of any.
    • by jeffmeden (135043)

      so the company is using data analytics to determine where it should plant crops most efficiently? thats pretty cool. Chances are great theyve been using analytics heavily in their biosciences divisions for quite some time, considering output from computational modeling software is rarely terse.

      this might seem naive, but wasnt this the grand plan for the future? a supercrop that never needs to worry about weeds or bugs? that grows tens of times larger than its regular counterpart? I have a legitimately difficult time bashing monsanto but ive followed lots of slashdot discussion on the matter and it seems to be a pretty common thread.

      The beef you're *supposed* to have with Monsanto, is that while everyone is rallying around the incredibly remote possibility of cross-pollinated crops becoming infertile or unkillable or somewhere in-between (the somewhere in-between has been the outcome so far, cross pollinated plants act just like any other species, they are always of the same species and arbitrarily inherit a combination of traits from both progenitors) the amazingly more likely scenario of a devastating form of TB or bird flu or Ebola

      • by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @03:04PM (#43916955) Homepage Journal

        Quite frankly the beef(s) *I* have is that is with suing farmers whose crops show the "patented" gene through cross pollination (because that's how nature works) and forcing GM farmers to strict contracts that don't allow them to keep seed for next years crop.

        There are a lot of STINKY business practices going on here. It isn't just about the fact that they've bribed officials to write laws outlawing GM labeling or bribed officials to pass a law that makes sure they have no liability for *anything*.

        • by bws111 (1216812)

          Show a single case where a farmer was sued because his crops 'showed' the patented crop, where the farmer was not causing that to happen (by intentionally killing off all the non-GM crop).

        • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @03:22PM (#43917117)

          Quite frankly the beef(s) *I* have is that is with suing farmers whose crops show the "patented" gene through cross pollination

          Perhaps before you have a "beef" with someone, you should spend a few minutes looking at the facts. This mythology about Monsanto suing farmers for cross pollination comes up regularly on Slashdot, and no one is ever able to cite a single case of Monsanto actually suing anyone for that sort of unintentional infringement.

        • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @03:39PM (#43917257)

          they've bribed officials to write laws outlawing GM labeling or bribed officials to pass a law that makes sure they have no liability for *anything*.

          Could you please explain what you are talking about? What laws are these? There was recently a ballot initiative in California to require GMO labeling, and it was voted down by the voters not the politicians. Food labeling should be based on science, not superstition, and even for those that want to avoid GMO, it is unnecessary since it is already perfectly legal to label food as "Organic" or "Non-GMO", and since these foods sell for a premium, anyone selling them would be foolish not to label them as such.

          • by RKThoadan (89437)

            In all fairness, labeling it Genetically Modified would be scientifically accurate. The assumption that Genetic Modification is a horribly evil thing is certainly superstition, but I consider that a separate issue.

            I'd actually like to know a whole lot more than that myself. What is the point of the Genetic Modifications? If it helps the crops to grow in more diverse soils or produce more food that's good. If it's to make it more tolerant to various (Monsato brand) poisonous insecticides then I'm a little bi

            • It is actually a herbicide and is not poisonous to us (or at least that is wath the govt. studies tell us) but is poisonous to all plant life and it all ends up in the sea, which is very very worrying.
            • In all fairness, labeling it Genetically Modified would be scientifically accurate.

              In all fairness, requiring them to be labeled as GMO would not be scientific all all.

              The assumption that Genetic Modification is a horribly evil thing is certainly superstition, but I consider that a separate issue.

              It is not a separate issue when people are trying to subvert the government regulatory process to promote their superstitions.

              I'd actually like to know a whole lot more than that myself.

              Just because you would like to know doesn't mean other people should be required to tell you. Far more people are concerned about whether their food is kosher or halal. Should we have government regulations requiring food to be labeled as "non-halal"? Of course not, because there is no nutrition

              • by hazah (807503)
                This makes no sense. While "halal" and "kosher" are one category of complaints, here you have genetic tinckering. More to the point, you're dealing with chemistry, and could quite realistically kill someone. Label your shit and don't twist the issue.
    • The beef most people want you to have with Monsanto is that they're out to monopolize crop planting and eliminate organic food, or something like that, or that GM crops are somehow unhealthy. It's not so much beef as BS.

      As far as I can tell, the beef Slashdot collectively has with Monsanto is that they think, like software patents, that they can patent just about anything and sue anyone purportedly using it, even if there's never been any commercial transaction, even if it's an organic farm.

      • by Jawnn (445279) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @04:27PM (#43917629)

        The beef most people want you to have with Monsanto is that they're out to monopolize crop planting and eliminate organic food, or something like that, or that GM crops are somehow unhealthy. It's not so much beef as BS.

        [citation needed]
        Profit, not to mention a regulatory environment that might generously be called ineffective, has driven a headlong rush down a path with a staggering array of potential problems; environmental, nutritional, etc. No, nobody has died from eating GM corn, yet, but the hubris required to ignore the potentially disastrous consequences is well beyond the "what the fuck were you thinking" mark, IMO.

        • What's profit have to do with it? Profit, other things being equal, is good (ask any economist). Would you prefer losses? That's the only alternative.

          What's wrong is violating private property rights: Infecting other people's crops, selling nonfunctional seeds, or other forms of fraud and force. Manufacturers do, in fact, have a reputation to uphold, especially bigger manufacturers.

          The whole point of GM crops is they're supposed to resist famine, disease, and malnutrition. Regular crops are just as suscepti

      • My personal beef with monsanto is that they sell a chemical that is terrible for vegetable life and that ends up in the sea killing algae, phytoplankton and what not. Besides they sell GM (not intrinsically bad, I agree) seeds that make economically viable to use more and more of this nasty thing. GM could be used to make faster growing plants, that would reduce the need for herbicides (not desirable weed wouldn't be able to compete with crops) and be actually not so freaking destructive. But, hey! guess w
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      this might seem naive, but wasnt this the grand plan for the future? a supercrop that never needs to worry about weeds or bugs? that grows tens of times larger than its regular counterpart? I have a legitimately difficult time bashing monsanto but ive followed lots of slashdot discussion on the matter and it seems to be a pretty common thread.

      Yes, a bit Naive. You are confusing alleged end goals with means.
      Just because I say "I am trying to save the world" doesn't make it true. And if I create a product even with good intentions, that does not mean its effective or safe. That said, I'm not sure if anyone will argue that Monsanto actually HAS "good intentions"... neutral/selfish at best.

      are they really targeting farmers for intentional litigation somehow? there are plenty of other corn seeds besides roundup ready for example that farmers could decide to plant, and the only evidence ive seen to date was some guy who went to the supreme court to challenge the fact that he knowingly saved proprietary seeds. solution: vote with dollars, dont buy proprietary monsanto seeds.

      They do sue farmers who save seeds even if they didn't BUY Monsanto seeds, but simply had their plants cross pollinated with Monsanto's product. Its an easy en

    • by quonsar (61695)

      proprietary seeds.

      heh.

    • by Rytr23 (704409)
      This is as recent point of contention with GMOs http://www.naturalnews.com/037249_GMO_study_cancer_tumors_organ_damage.html [naturalnews.com]
    • by t4ng* (1092951)
      Here is an interview [occupymonsanto360.org] with a formerly pro-GMO scientist talking about why he is against GMO now. He claims the entire GMO field is operating on a 70 year old hypothesis of genetics that has since been proven wrong; and that being wrong about it can have some serious consequences.
    • GM food is not dangerous per se (at least not right now) but the thing is that the main current use for GM tech in agriculture is to make plants resistant to what is basically the most efficient chemical for plant extermination (apparently not much of a poison for us). Roundup ends up in the sea and kills vegetal plankton, which is added complexity to the ecological disaster the oceans already face. You most probably won't grow a third arm from eating roundup ready plants, but if irresponsible pollution bot
  • by jsepeta (412566) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @03:07PM (#43916987) Homepage

    Just because Monsanto invests in IT as a competitive advantage doesn't mean they're not acting like an Agricultural bully. It may be great for stockholders, but they're threatening the entire world's food supply by modifying plant DNA so that one year's crop cannot be used to plant next year's crop. That's not playing GOD, that's playing Shiva, the god of destruction.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bws111 (1216812)

      Wait a second. If they are modifying the DNA so the plants can't reproduce, then what are all these stories of Monsanto suing thousands of farmers because their crops were 'accidentaly' pollinated by GM crops about?

      Oh wait, I know. The only thing preventing this years crop from being used to plant next years crop is a contract, and not DNA. Your 'concern', just like the stories of supposed lawsuits, is pure FUD.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      > modifying plant DNA so that one year's crop cannot be used to plant next year's crop

      Uh no, they are not doing that. What you describe is a GURT technology, which has never been commercialized, and it's highly doubtful that it ever will be.

      http://www.monsanto.com/newsviews/Pages/terminator-seeds.aspx [monsanto.com]

    • They've stopped modifying DNA to achieve that (mostly because of ill public opinion on 'terminator' seeds), now they use lawyers to hunt down and sue anyone who keeps one of their seeds for the next season.
  • oh the horror! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by stenvar (2789879)

    They make better crops, increase productivity, reduce pesticide use, and now they even use IT to aid in their nefarious plans! Oh the horror if it!

    • by crtreece (59298)

      make better crops, increase productivity

      Possibly by some definitions of "better". Higher yield, longer storage life, possibly. Better tasting, more nutritious, that's arguable.

      reduce pesticide use

      That doesn't seem to be the case. Pesticide use ramping up as GMO crop technology backfires [reuters.com]

      • by stenvar (2789879)

        Possibly by some definitions of "better". Higher yield, longer storage life, possibly. Better tasting, more nutritious, that's arguable.

        You're free not to buy their stuff if you don't like it. But most people seem to like it otherwise they'd be out of business.

        That doesn't seem to be the case. Pesticide use ramping up as GMO crop technology backfires

        That particular news story is poorly written and politically biased. Even the title incorrectly supposes that this is unexpected. Of course, you need to keep de

        • You're free not to buy their stuff if you don't like it.

          That's kind of the rankle. Allegations are that the first thing they try to do when entering a new area is to buy up all the existing seed suppliers, so you're not free to not buy their stuff even in the supply side.

          • by stenvar (2789879)

            You're saying that if you're in, say, Iowa, you can't buy non-Monsanto seed? I find that very hard to believe.

        • by crtreece (59298)

          You're free not to buy their stuff if you don't like it.

          As there is no labeling of GMO foods in the US, how would you suggest I avoid them?

          I can and do buy fruits and vegatables from local farmers. I can and do buy locally produced meat as well.

          If it's at the grocery store, I have to hope that the store is labeling their meat and produce correctly. If it isn't fresh meat or produce, I have to assume some part is GM.

          you need to keep developing new GMOs regularly in order to keep benefiting from them.

          On the large scale, This doesn't seem to be a realistic way to have a stable, sustainable food supply. If we have to keep upping the pesticide

          • by stenvar (2789879)

            As there is no labeling of GMO foods in the US, how would you suggest I avoid them?

            I wasn't thinking you were nutty enough to reject all GMOs, but simply the ones you don't think "taste good". Anyway, while there is no mandatory GMO labeling, but you can certainly find GMO-free foods.

            If it isn't fresh meat or produce, I have to assume some part is GM.

            Yes, you do. And no amount of labeling would change that.

            On the large scale, This doesn't seem to be a realistic way to have a stable, sustainable food supply.

            • by crtreece (59298)

              As there is no labeling of GMO foods in the US, how would you suggest I avoid them?

              I wasn't thinking you were nutty enough to reject all GMOs, but simply the ones you don't think "taste good". Anyway, while there is no mandatory GMO labeling, but you can certainly find GMO-free foods.

              How am I supposed to differentiate between GM and non-GM foods? They aren't labeled, so I can't make a decision based on how they taste. I reject them because I am concerned about the lack of tests on the short and long term affects they have on my body, the environment, and the crops around them. If you want to eat it, go ahead, I'm not here to convince you what to do, I'm just asking that I have the information available to make an informed choice.

              If it isn't fresh meat or produce, I have to assume some part is GM.

              Yes, you do. And no amount of labeling would change that.

              huhwhat? Mandatory labeling of GM ingredients in pac

              • by stenvar (2789879)

                I'm just asking that I have the information available to make an informed choice.

                You do. It's just a question of defaults: right now, if it's not labeled, assume that it says "may contain GMO". If you don't want that, buy something that explicitly says "organic" or "no GMO".

                I'm not using sustainable in the environmentalist, you-shouldnt-hurt-the-mother-earth sense. I'm talking about the ability to grow crops without requiring a high-tech herbicide and pesticide regimen being needed just to bring a crop to h

    • Their crops aren't better, round up ready corn yields less grain per plant and the grains are of irregular shape and size which increases complexity of machinery dealing with it (not to mention the things are plain ugly and taste funny). Their tech have effect only in one brand of pesticide (their own), round up ready means that their herbicide (a herbicide so potent that kills almost every plant because it inhibits synthesis of vital aminoacids) can be used indiscriminately without affecting the crop, that
      • by stenvar (2789879)

        Their crops aren't better, round up ready corn yields less grain per plant and the grains are of irregular shape and size which increases complexity of machinery dealing with it (not to mention the things are plain ugly and taste funny)

        So why are farmers buying the stuff?

        Their tech have effect only in one brand of pesticide (their own), round up ready means that their herbicide (a herbicide so potent that kills almost every plant because it inhibits synthesis of vital aminoacids) can be used indiscriminatel

  • by Uncle_Meataxe (702474) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @03:59PM (#43917409)

    TFA mentions that Washington state has a ballot initiative to label genetically engineered foods. Perhaps more importantly, Connecticut just passed a labeling law (http://grist.org/news/connecticut-will-label-gmos-if-you-do-too/).

    The Connecticut bill includes a crucial requirement: the labeling requirement won’t actually go into effect until similar legislation is passed by at least four other states, one of which borders Connecticut.

    Also note that 37 labeling proposals have been introduced in 21 states so far this year.

  • "Monsanto is more infamous for growing its genetically modified crops than its use of software, but a series of corporate acquisitions and a new emphasis on tech solutions has transformed it into a firm that acts more like an innovative IT vendor than an agribusiness giant."

    The only 'innovation' Monsanto is borrowing from the IT sector is extorting revenue from farmers for growing crops from the farmers own seeds. Even if the seeds were contaminated by accident, such as by cross-pollination by a neighbou
  • No, Monsanto isn't real popular here in WA state and yes many of us would like GM food labeled as such. Something other than the leading "8" in the PLU (price look up) number on the sticker [ JetCityOrange.com/plu-code/ ] I for one was one of many in the Seattle Monsanto march and as you can see in this video [ http://youtu.be/USSIqQBca4c [youtu.be] ], we aren't talking about black-clad, window breaking, pseudo-anarchist kids raising hell. No, the crowd was full of families and regular folks who realize that there's n
  • ... leave already Monsanto ... nothing good comes from you. To hell with your IT, use it for something other than raping farmers and the public of their rights to choose.

We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a clever but highly unmotivated trick. -- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"

Working...