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Monsanto's New Herbicide-Resistant GM Crops Threaten American Vegetable Farmers

For Related Articles and More Information, Please Visit OCA's Genetic Engineering Page and our Millions Against Monsanto Page.

 Many American corn and soybean farmers embrace genetically modified seeds and herbicide chemicals. This biotechnology invention helps them produce higher crop yields without having to worry about weeds. Today's farmers can just apply, en masse, chemicals like glyphosate, which knock out the weeds, allowing the hybrid corn and soybeans to thrive. While this science seems to increase certain food production, it is actually limiting vegetable farmers.

"You have a lot of crops that are sensitive to these herbicides," USA Today reported Neil Rhodes, director of the herbicide stewardship program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, saying. "With vegetable farmers facing the prospect of a much larger area being sprayed with them in coming years, 'I'm not surprised they're concerned.'"

Drift and evaporation causing herbicides to spread to vegetable fields, causing deformities, damaging yields

While 93% of all soybeans and 85% of all feed corn grown in the USA is genetically modified to be glyphosate-resistant, herbs and vegetables are damaged in the process. Sometimes the damage to vegetables can be seen up to 100 miles away from an herbicide-laced field. This damage is caused by drift, which is when pesticides sprayed in one field evaporate or travel by wind into neighboring fields that may contain susceptible broad-leaved vegetable crops. Those farmers who are most affected live in the Midwest and include those who grow potatoes, tomatoes, squash, beans and peas.

"The herbicides are applied to fields as a liquid, from rigs pulled by tractors," said Franklin Egan, a research ecologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service. "The vast majority falls straight to the ground but a small fraction can move as water droplets carried by the wind. An even smaller fraction can evaporate and move as a gas."

A case in 2012 out of California showed how herbicide sprayed in the San Joaquin Valley could damage cotton fields 100 miles away. Drift has prompted vegetable farmers to take action against Monsanto and Dow.  


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