Farmers more pessimistic about Europe’s agriculture future

A farmer uses glyphosate on barley with no till farming techniques to reduce their environmental impact.

A farmer uses glyphosate on barley with no till farming techniques to reduce his environmental impact.

The future of farming in Europe looks bleak, according to a survey of over 8,000 farmers released on 16 June 2016 by the European Farmers and European Agri-Cooperatives lobby group Copa-Cogeca. These farmers, based in 11 European Union Member States and surveyed between January and April 2016, shared their thoughts on their dissatisfaction with farming income and their disappointment of an economic turnaround. Of all the EU Member States, only farmers in Denmark and Sweden were optimistic about the current and future situation.

Currently one sign that events may get worse for European farmers is the issue around herbicides containing glyphosate...

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Photo editors: That’s not Roundup they’re spraying! EN/FR

Open letter to European photo editors

Dear editor,

It has come to our attention over the past weeks and months that most European photo editors routinely choose photos of farmers spraying something that cannot possibly be Roundup or other glyphosate-based herbicides over the tops of their crops to illustrate the current public debate about the use of glyphosate in agriculture. We’re talking about photos like this:

Farmer spraying crop. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

This cannot possibly be glyphosate for the simple reason that glyphosate is an herbicide. That means it kills plants. It is designed to kill weeds, but if a farmer sprays it on his or her crop it would also kill the crop...

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Why do farmers need glyphosate? An answer in 10 weeds

By Brandon Mitchener and Jaden Elsasser

The current political debate around the use of glyphosate in agriculture in Europe is permeated with the simple notions that weed control is optional and that if glyphosate were banned, farmers would just let the weeds grow, because who do they really harm anyway?

Any farmer knows the proper reseponse to that question: Weeds are the enemy! They compete with crops for light and water. Some of them are highly invasive and spread much faster than what the farmer is trying to grow. They can clog up machinery. Some of them are even highly toxic to people and farm animals; if too much of them end up in the harvest, the crop is unusable and might even have to be condemned...

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A comedian’s take on a data scientist from Monsanto

“I would buy out Dow Chemical and Monsanto and shut them down,” said a visiting professor during a breakfast session at Washington University in St. Louis, US, last month. This was one of the professor’s personal solutions when asked how he could make everyone healthy. On 15 June, practicing scientist, author and stand-up comedian Adam Ruben published an opinion story in Science magazine (published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science) on his observations from this event and his encounter with a data scientist at Monsanto.

Image of Louis Pasteur. Thanks to his work we know that certain bacteria are responsible for sickness. But he was denounced by the medical establishment and ridiculed by the public.

Thanks to Louis Pasteur’s work we know that certain bacteria are responsible for sickness. But he was denounced by the medical establishment and ridiculed by the public.

Nathan VanderKraats, a computer scientist by training, was one of the nex...

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My First March Against Monsanto

By Jaden Elsasser

Growing up as a small town farmer’s daughter in Illinois, I only understood the basics of the farming business (and quite frankly I was never urged to learn about it, as hard as my dad pushed). I could answer the simple questions such as, “How many acres does your father farm?” and “Where is your farm located?” But when any further questions were sent my way, I simply nodded my head with a smile and pretended I knew exactly what they were talking about.

WhatsApp-Image-20160521 (3)I hadn’t fully understood the debate around Monsanto until my first year at the University of Missouri. I paid little attention to what friends, acquaintances and others had said about the big, bad multinational company because Monsanto products had always played a vital role for a large farming family...

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Anti-glyphosate activism masquerading as journalism at Euractiv

by Brandon Mitchener

ChemophobiaWe have unfortunately gotten used to seeing bad and sloppy journalism on topics related to Monsanto, but this week’s Euractiv France story about French opposition to the renewal of glyphosate may have to take the prize for media bias. (Arthur Nelsen’s biased coverage in the Guardian is close behind).

Euractiv’s story starts out factually, noting that the European Commission had once again delayed a vote on the renewal of glyphoate, the active substance in Monsanto’s Roundup and in many other weedkillers used by farmers, gardeners and others for whom weeds are a scourge. From there, all normal journalistic standards of objectivity go straight to the bottom.

Just a few warning signs:

  1. Eleven of the fourteen paragraphs in the story quote environmental activists, Greens o...
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Monsanto launches #RootedInScience campaign

Darwin_misrepresentationEvery day in Europe seems to bring a new attack by non-governmental organisations, Greens and others on everything from plant breeding techniques to pesticides (think: glyphosate) to genetically modified seeds and ingredients. Yesterday, European governments failed to reach an agreement on the renewal of glyphosate, the main ingredient in the world’s most widely used herbicide, as the result of an epic onslaught of NGO spin and fearmongering ominously echoed by some misinformed European politicians. Tomorrow marks the annual March against Monsanto, in which angry mobs–especially in France–plan to demonstrate against Monsanto for presumed grievances, most based on conspiracy theories.

Given this context, it’s probably timely that Monsanto is launching a social media campaign celebrating the...

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MONSANTO STATEMENT ON FURTHER DELAYS IN EU RENEWAL OF GLYPHOSATE

Regulatory decisions must be made consistently, predictably and be based on the best available science

In response to further delay of a vote by European Union (EU) Member States on the renewal of glyphosate, Philip Miller, Ph.D., Monsanto’s vice president of global regulatory and governmental affairs, today issued the following statement:

The European Union’s risk assessment on glyphosate has been one of the most thorough evaluations of an agricultural product ever conducted.  The risk assessment conducted by the rapporteur member state, Germany, and reviewed by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) included more than 90,000 pages of data and 353 studies not previously reviewed by the EU.  The assessment considered the best available science and found no evidence of unreasonable risk...

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Glyphosate in Roundup unlikely to cause cancer in people from food, says UN

Screenshot of Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues Summary Report on glyphosate. Image courtesy of WHO.

Screenshot of Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues Summary Report on glyphosate. Image courtesy of WHO.

Yesterday a joint meeting of the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) published a statement concluding that “glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans from exposure from the diet.” Glyphosate is a key ingredient in Monsanto’s popular herbicide Roundup. This news supports the wider body of scientific evidence that glyphosate does not cause cancer in humans.

The Joint Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR), held in Geneva Switzerland from 9 to 13 May 2016, also assessed the pesticides diazinon and malathion...

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Monsanto’s Ongoing Concerns About IARC’s Glyphosate Claims

By Scott Partridge, Monsanto Vice President Global Strategy

At Monsanto, I work with many teams that research and develop products to help farmers, and ultimately, consumers, every day. These teams rely on the science to guide their decision-making, and they adhere to the rigorous regulatory processes established by governments around the world to bring our products to market. Recently, glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup agricultural herbicides, has been under attack by a French-based group called the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Its activities have raised a lot of questions, which we intend to explore further.

A 40-Year History of Safe Use

Glyphosate has been called the most important herbicide developed in the post- World War II era...

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