By Ethan A. Huff
Farmers throughout the Midwest are having to battle a new pest that’s not a weed or an insect, but an illegal chemical manufactured by the Monsanto Company as a pairing for “2 Xtend,” the next generation of genetically-modified organism (GMO) that requires even more and harsher chemicals than first generation Roundup Ready crops.
Known as dicamba, the new chemical hasn’t been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use with glyphosate on Monsanto’s Roundup Ready 2.0 seeds. But because the multinational corporation has already begun selling 2 Xtend seeds to farmers, some of them are bootlegging older versions of dicamba to keep their crops in check, and many of their neighbors are suffering as a result.
That’s because the type of dicamba farmers are mixing with glyphosate to try to match the glyphosate-dicamba cocktail that Monsanto hopes to eventually release, pending EPA approval, is a heavy drifter, meaning it easily spreads to nearby crop fields. Monsanto claims that its patented formula doesn’t do this, but the old one does, and it’s wreaking havoc all over the place.
More than 100 complaints have been filed thus far by farmers in both Missouri and Arkansas, claiming that dicamba drift from nearby farms is destroying their crops. Dicamba is an ultra-potent herbicide, and unless a crop has been genetically-engineered to resist it, it kills almost anything with which it comes into contact.
According to the Environmental Working Group’s Ag Mag, Monsanto has already sold some 2 million acres’ worth of 2 Xtend seeds, despite the glyphosate-dicamba formula needed to grow them not even being legal. This has created a situation in which farmers have been given a weed-killing tool that they can’t legally use, which basically incentivizes them to break the law.
Some of the farmers who’ve bought into 2 Xtend are seeing their own crops destroyed as well. Farmers with 2 Xtend fields planted near Roundup Ready 1.0 crops and/or conventional crops are watching as dicamba spreads through the air and kills their other crops, leaving them at a loss as to how to avoid massive crop failures.
“They’re afraid that they’re not going to be able to grow what they want to grow,” Tom Barber, a scientist at the University of Arkansas, told NPR about the dilemma. “They’re afraid that they’re going to be forced to go with that technology.”
Farm bill: Tell congress to STOP subsidizing chemicals, GMOs, start funding sustainable agriculture
Technically speaking, federal pesticide laws prohibit the use of drift-prone dicamba. But because the federal government actively subsidizes chemical-intensive farming, the result of longstanding farm bill legislation that incentivizes farmers to grow chemical-intensive crops, corporations like Monsanto are getting away with murder in their quest for world domination.
Very little taxpayer money is awarded to farmers who grow crops using sustainable methods. Only a very small fraction of federal money – less than 1 percent – is invested in growing methods that reduce, rather than increase, pesticide and herbicide use.
That’s why many people around the world are choosing to grow their own clean, chemical-free foods at home using products like the Food Rising Mini-Farm Grow Box system, which is both a conservational feat and a boon for sustainable living.
Others are pushing for major reform in how farm bill money is disbursed and spent. You can help in this area by contacting your congressmen and urging them to incentivize weed management practices that rely more on harmonious congruency with nature rather than environmentally-destructive chemicals.
After all, it was Monsanto’s first generation Roundup Ready crops that got us into this mess in the first place. Is it really prudent to plow full-steam ahead into phase two of this chemical holocaust?
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