What would you say if I told you that one company is making decisions about what you eat? As it turns out, a new report [pdf] released last week by the Farmer to Farmer Campaign on Genetic Engineering reveals that Monsanto controls the genetic traits — and thus the seeds — of most of the corn, soy and cotton grown in the US; and that they are using their control of the market to raise prices on their products and limit access to non-genetically modified (GM) seed.
This means that farmers are unable to make decisions about what they grow, and also that they grow more to make ends meet, pushing more corn and soy on the market to be processed in to a proliferation of packaged foods — making up most of what is available to eat. This report details the history of seed consolidation (including excellent visuals mapping larger chemical companies’ acquisitions of smaller seed companies), provides recommendations, and importantly, gives a voice to some of the affected farmers from all over the United States.
It will be useful reading for the Department of Justice (DoJ) because as we wrote back in August, the DoJ is investigating Monsanto and other agribusiness companies for antitrust activity. In addition, the DoJ and the USDA will hold workshops all over the nation beginning in Iowa on March 12th, 2010, where farmers have been invited to discuss the issues of concern to them. In addition, the DoJ is taking public comments on the issue: you can email firstname.lastname@example.org to add you thoughts to the investigation before December 31st.