Big Agriculture – Any Different Than Big Pharma?

We are seeing more and more that big-ag companies are in it for the money more than the common interest of their customers and the people they serve. Just like we’ve seen with so many major pharmaceutical companies, these manufacturers are more focused on pushing a product and padding their pockets than they are about how it will affect those utilizing their products. Every year we hear more about GMO crops popping up in organic fields, new diseases and sicknesses that are being linked to these pesticide-filled foods and products, and we continue to see media spin from big corporations like Monsanto and Syngenta.

One of the largest problems we’re seeing is that there doesn’t seem to be a way to fight back against these companies. We hear about billion dollar mergers, and multi-million dollar marketing schemes that spin things to work in their favor, and it seems like their money is endless. While we live in a world where money equals power, it often seems there is no stopping companies like this from dictating the market and putting whatever they want into our food.

Take this incident for example:

The Council on Biotechnology (an organization that is funded by Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont, Bayer, Dow, & BASF to curb bad media about them) began the website in 2013. Its purpose was reported as dispelling myths and clearing up confusion around genetically modified products. Since its inception, we found out it is run by employees of these companies who are strictly pushing the GMO agenda and defending the tactics of these Big-Ag corporations.

When we see tactics like these, and others like native advertising, language spinning, the discrediting of “natural” and “organic” products and companies, as well as many others, it’s hard for us to swallow that these big-ag companies are thinking about anything besides their wallets.

But how do we fight for our rights and the ability to know what’s in our food when these companies can just write a billion dollar check and cover up their mistakes with a good PR move?

When they make a mistake, we call them on it.

As of now, we have the chance to make a big dent in the fight against big-ag companies and the GMO products they push down our throats. Syngenta slipped up and marketed their Viptera corn seed as ready for sale in all of our major export countries. They neglected to tell purchasers that China never approved their seed trait.

As a result, American farmers lost billions of dollars, our market was flooded with corn, and the bushel price of corn dropped from $7.00 in 2013 to $3.25 in 2014.

Are you eligible to participate in the fight against Syngenta?

  • Did you plant and try to sell Syngenta’s Viptera seed?
  • Did you grow another type of seed but feel the impact of the oversupply and price drop of corn?
  • Do you work in the ethanol field and suffer financial harm because of your inability to sell your product?
  • Do you run a grain elevator?
  • Do you own a grain transport company?

Possible Settlement from Syngenta?

An anonymous plaintiff in the Syngenta-Viptera lawsuits has claimed that Syngenta has reached a settlement agreement with the farmers who have suffered from their negligence. However, Syngenta has come forward claiming these statements are untrue, and that they will defend their position in courts because they still believe they made the appropriate steps in gaining approval for Viptera, and they claim they were upfront with all marketing of the product.

According to public legal records:

  • Viptera MIR 162 GMO Corn was approved for growth in the U.S. in 2010
  • Syngenta claims they made farmers sufficiently aware that approval was pending from China
  • Farmers are claiming they were not told approval wasn’t complete, and that if they were told, they were led to believe the lack of approval wouldn’t impact sale prices
  • China did not end up approving Viptera Corn Seed until the end of 2014

How Will A Potential Merger Affect the Lawsuits

Other rumors are circulating about a potential merger with Monsanto, the American based competitor to Syngenta. Although it seems Syngenta has already rejected one or more offers from Monsanto, Monsanto is still pushing to acquire Syngenta when they think they might be the most vulnerable due to the lawsuits against them.If the merger is successful, that would give Monsanto control of over 35% of the world’s GMO seed supply, and would result in them drawing over $30 billion in revenue each year. A merger could impact the litigation process, so we want to act quickly before a deal is reached between the two mega-corporations.

Did Syngenta Deliberately Misrepresent Viptera?

Was Syngenta Honest?

If you’ve been paying much attention to the news over the last year, you’ve likely heard of the misrepresentation from agri-corp Syngenta, regarding their Viptera corn seed and its approval status in China. As one of our largest corn purchasers, approval from the Chinese government for any genetically altered product we grow is essential for the American farming economy.

Syngenta allegedly marketed Viptera as approved in all major purchasing countries, but because of their negligent marketing tactics, China did not purchase our Viptera corn and the U.S. was left with a major over-supply of corn, which caused corn prices to drop from $7.00 per bushel to around $3.50 per bushel. This massive price drop resulted in the loss of billions of dollars for American farmers.

Syngenta Says

Syngenta takes an official position saying that they were clear in their marketing, that they stated approval was pending but that they were open about the process. Thousands of American farmers have a differing opinion from Syngenta, stating that they claimed Viptera approval was imminent, but that even if it did not go through, it would not have a significant impact on the economic status of American farmers, or the purchase price of corn.

Syngenta’s Chief Financial Officer, John Ramsay, said “We continue to believe that [we have] complied with all the laws, rules and regulations of the countries in which we’re selling the product.”

The truth is that farmers were lied to. And now Syngenta is reaping the benefits of our farmer’s over $2.9 billion loss. We want to hold Syngenta accountable for their actions, and ensure that something like this doesn’t happen again.

Update on Syngenta Lawsuits and Viptera Corn Seed

The scandal continues to grow as we learn more about the Swiss owned agri-corp, Syngenta, and their misrepresentation of the Viptera corn seed.

Syngenta “aggressively” marketed their Viptera product as having already been approved in all major trade countries, despite the fact that China was withholding their approval of the product. Syngenta made claims that the lack of approval from China would not have a noticeable impact on American farmers, or our corn bushel price, and they even made claims that approval was imminent from China (it took three more years before China actually approved Viptera).

The Economic Impact

The lack of trade approval from resulted in the loss of billions of dollars for American farmers, as well as a massive decrease in the price of corn, and a huge oversupply issue that our country is still reeling from.

There are now around 1800 lawsuits pending against Syngenta, and the numbers are growing. Many of the lawsuits are being consolidated with pre-trial proceedings since they are all the same complaints against Syngenta.

GMO – The Good & The Bad

Genetically Modified Organisms – What Are They?

The goal of this article is not to sway your opinions on GMOs, but to help you make an informed decision on whether or not they are the right choice for you and your family’s health.. GMO products currently infiltrate 70-80% of our food products, and the majority of states leave them unlabeled, in spite of most people desiring the right to know what’s in their food. It does take an average of 13 years for a GMO product to reach the market, but the long term impacts have yet to be analyzed.

Genetically Modified Organisms are not hybrids or crossbreeds, but rather, are organisms which have had their DNA artificially altered in a lab. Often, DNA from other plants, animals, and organisms will be used in a new “product” to increase weather resistance, pest resistance, and increase yield potential for crops.

The Controversy

Skeptics of GMOs are concerned not only about the lack of testing, but also about the increasing risks from GMOs infiltrating non-GMO crops. Because of their inherent resistance, they are popping up in other crops and have been found mixed into crops that were supposed to be GMO-free.

Those in favor GMOs claim studies show no major adverse effects on the human system from regular consumption of GMO products. A general safety for GMOs within our food products has been acknowledged by The Food & Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection Agency, but they continue to regulate and monitor each new product as it is created.

Skeptics Say

Those opposed to GMO products are largely concerned about the abundant use of chemical pesticides, potential nutritional deficiencies, and resulting allergies from the consumption of genetically altered food.

According to a study from the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at St. George’s University, the three main concerns revolve around:

  • The use of selectable markers to identify transformed cells
  • Transfer of extraneous DNA into the plant genome (i.e. genes other than those being studied)
  • The possibility of increased mutations in GM plants compared to non-GM counterparts due to tissue culture processes used in their production and the rearrangement of DNA around the insertion site of foreign genes
  • With regular consumption of GMO products, studies have shown:
  • Increased risk of stomach inflammation
  • Increased risk of Gluten sensitivities, as well as other allergies
  • Risk of holes occurring in the lining of the stomach and intestines

Label Them! While we do believe there are pros and cons to Genetically Modified Organisms, at the very least, we believe American citizens deserve the right to know what they are eating. As a result, we are proponents of labeling acts, and supportive of organizations working towards that goal.

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