Food Corruption News ArticlesExcerpts of Key Food Corruption News Articles in Media
Americans overwhelmingly support labeling foods that have been genetically modified or engineered, according to a New York Times poll conducted this year, with 93 percent of respondents saying that foods containing such ingredients should be identified. Three-quarters of Americans expressed concern about genetically modified organisms in their food, with most of them worried about the effects on people’s health. Thirty-seven percent of those worried about G.M.O.’s said they feared that such foods cause cancer or allergies. Among those with concerns, 26 percent said these foods are not safe to eat, or are toxic, while 13 percent were worried about environmental problems that they fear might be caused by genetic engineering. Nearly half of Americans said they were aware that a large amount of the processed or packaged foods they now buy at the grocery store contains genetically modified ingredients. Overall concern was higher among women than men, perhaps not surprisingly, as more women identify themselves as the principal grocery shopper in the household. Americans were almost equally divided about eating genetically modified vegetables, fruits and grains, with about half saying they would not eat them. They were even less comfortable about eating meat from genetically engineered animals: three-quarters said they would not eat G.M.O. fish, and about two-thirds said they would not eat meat that had been modified.
Note: Despite overwhelming public support for labelling of GMOs, the GM lobby has spent huge amounts of money to keep US states from enacting labelling laws. Sadly, they have largely been successful. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
French scientists said on [September 19] that rats fed on Monsanto's genetically modified corn or exposed to its top-selling weedkiller suffered tumors and multiple organ damage. Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen and colleagues said rats fed on a diet containing NK603 - a seed variety made tolerant to dousings of Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller - or given water with Roundup at levels permitted in the United States, died earlier than those on a standard diet. The animals on the GM diet suffered mammary tumors, as well as severe liver and kidney damage. The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Food and Chemical Toxicology and presented at a news conference in London. The researchers said 50 percent of males and 70 percent of females died prematurely, compared with only 30 percent and 20 percent in the control group. GMOs are deeply unpopular in Europe and many other countries, but dominate key crops in the United States after Monsanto in 1996 introduced a soybean genetically altered to tolerate Monsanto's Roundup weed killer. Seralini was part of a team that has voiced previous safety concerns based on a shorter rat study in a scientific paper published in 2009. This new study takes things a step further by tracking the animals throughout their two-year lifespan. Seralini believes his latest lifetime rat tests give a more realistic and authoritative view of risks than the 90-day feeding trials that form the basis of GM crop approvals, since three months is only the equivalent of early adulthood in rats.
Note: For alarming photos and more from the above long-term study on the dangers of GM food, click here. For an incisive, powerful 13-minute video revealing the disturbing results of this first long-term scientific study on GMOs, click here. For an excellent article and a great two-minute video clearly explaining the major dangers of GM food, click here. For a powerful summary of the health risks from GM foods, click here.
There is more than a casual association between GM [Genetically Modified] foods and adverse health effects. There is causation [as] confirmed in several animal studies. Specificity of the association of GM foods and specific disease processes is also supported. In spite of this risk, the biotechnology industry claims that GM foods can feed the world through production of higher crop yields. However, a recent report by the Union of Concerned Scientists reviewed 12 academic studies and indicates otherwise: "The several thousand field trials over the last 20 years ... indicate a significant undertaking. Yet none of these field trials have resulted in increased yield ... with the exception of Bt corn." Therefore, because GM foods pose a serious health risk in the areas of toxicology, allergy and immune function, reproductive health, and metabolic, physiologic and genetic health and are without benefit, ... because GM foods have not been properly tested for human consumption, and because there is ample evidence of probable harm, the AAEM asks:  Physicians to educate their patients, the medical community, and the public to avoid GM foods when possible and provide educational materials concerning GM foods and health risks.  Physicians to consider the possible role of GM foods in the disease process.  Our members, the medical community, and the independent scientific community to gather case studies potentially related to GM food consumption and health effects.  For a moratorium on GM food, implementation of immediate long term independent safety testing, and labeling of GM foods, which is necessary for the health and safety of consumers.
Note: Why was this not reported in the mainstream media? A top academy of physicians states our health is being endangered by GM foods, yet no one is reporting this. For how our media is bought off in matters like this, click here. For a powerful essay showing blatant corruption of the science around GMOs and FDA complicity, click here. For key media articles on this vital topic, click here.
In late 1986, four executives of the Monsanto Company, the leader in agricultural biotechnology, paid a visit to Vice President George Bush at the White House. In the weeks and months that followed, the White House complied, working behind the scenes, to help Monsanto — long a political power with deep connections in Washington — get the regulations that it wanted. It was an outcome that would be repeated, again and again, through three administrations. What Monsanto wished for from Washington, Monsanto — and, by extension, the biotechnology industry — got. Even longtime Washington hands said that the control this nascent industry exerted over its own regulatory destiny — through the Environmental Protection Agency, the Agriculture Department and ultimately the Food and Drug Administration — was astonishing. Dr. Louis J. Pribyl, one of 17 government scientists working on a policy for genetically engineered food, ... knew from studies that toxins could be unintentionally created when new genes were introduced into a plant's cells. The government was dismissing that risk and any other possible risk as no different from those of conventionally derived food. That meant biotechnology companies would not need government approval to sell the foods they were developing. "This is the industry's pet idea, namely that there are no unintended effects that will raise the F.D.A.'s level of concern," Dr. Pribyl wrote in a fiery memo to the F.D.A. scientist overseeing the policy's development. "But time and time again, there is no data to back up their contention."
Genetic modification in the United States and Canada has not accelerated increases in crop yields or led to an overall reduction in the use of chemical pesticides. The promise of genetic modification was twofold: By making crops immune to the effects of weedkillers and inherently resistant to many pests, they would grow so robustly that they would become indispensable to feeding the world’s growing population, while also requiring fewer applications of sprayed pesticides. Twenty years ago, Europe largely rejected genetic modification at the same time the United States and Canada were embracing it. Comparing results on the two continents ... shows how the technology has fallen short of the promise. The United States and Canada have gained no discernible advantage in yields - food per acre - when measured against Western Europe. Also, a recent National Academy of Sciences report found that “there was little evidence” that the introduction of genetically modified crops in the United States had led to yield gains beyond those seen in conventional crops. At the same time, herbicide use has increased in the United States. And the United States has fallen behind Europe’s biggest producer, France, in reducing the overall use of pesticides, which includes both herbicides and insecticides. Pesticides are toxic by design ... and have been linked to developmental delays and cancer. The same companies make and sell both the genetically modified plants and the poisons.
Last August, a group of six young Indians took to the streets of Delhi with one simple aim: to feed the homeless. Overnight, they drove to restaurants, collected unsold food, re-packaged it and gave it to around 100 people sleeping rough in the capital. Friends, colleagues and strangers soon joined them on drives and their numbers began to swell. In less than a few months, a nationwide volunteer movement known as the Robin Hood Army (RHA) had emerged, on a mission to curb food waste and stamp out hunger. Founders Ghose and Anand Sinha, also 27, were inspired by Refood International, an organisation based in Portugal. “Using a hyperlocal model, they collect excess food and give it to those who need it. But every community has their own Refood chapter,” explains Ghose. “I realised it was something that can be very easily done in India, where the need would be much more.” The movement gained huge momentum after the launch of its social media campaign, and now boasts a 500-strong volunteer base spread out across 13 cities. In April, the group also began operations in neighbouring Pakistan. The Robin Hood Army’s ideology revolves around decentralisation. Small teams, mostly young professionals, become responsible for specific areas; they scout for local restaurants, convince them to donate surplus food, identify clusters of people in need - such as the homeless and orphanages - and carry out weekly distributions.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Consumers are being sold food including mozzarella that is less than half real cheese, ham on pizzas that is either poultry or "meat emulsion", and frozen prawns that are 50% water, according to tests by a public laboratory. The checks on hundreds of food samples, which were taken in West Yorkshire, revealed that more than a third were not what they claimed to be, or were mislabelled in some way. Testers also discovered beef mince adulterated with pork or poultry, and even a herbal slimming tea that was neither herb nor tea but glucose powder laced with a withdrawn prescription drug for obesity at 13 times the normal dose. A third of fruit juices sampled were not what they claimed or had labelling errors. Two contained additives that are not permitted in the EU, including brominated vegetable oil, which is designed for use in flame retardants and linked to behavioural problems in rats at high doses. Experts said they fear the alarming findings from 38% of 900 sample tests by West Yorkshire councils were representative of the picture nationally, with the public at increasing risk as budgets to detect fake or mislabelled foods plummet. In one case, tests revealed that the "vodka" had been made not from alcohol derived from agricultural produce, as required, but from isopropanol, used in antifreeze and as an industrial solvent. Many of the samples were collected from fast-food restaurants, independent retailers and wholesalers; some were from larger stores and manufacturers.
Note: For more on corporate corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
California’s Proposition 37, which would require that genetically modified (G.M.) foods carry a label, has the potential ... to change the politics of food not just in California but nationally too. Genetically modified foods don’t offer the eater any benefits whatsoever — only a potential, as yet undetermined risk. Monsanto and its allies have fought the labeling of genetically modified food ... vigorously since 1992, when the industry managed to persuade the [F.D.A.] — over the objection of its own scientists — that the new crops were “substantially equivalent” to the old and so did not need to be labeled, much less regulated. The F.D.A. policy was co-written by a lawyer whose former firm worked for Monsanto. More than 60 other countries have seen fit to label genetically modified food, including those in the European Union, Japan, Russia and China. Monsanto and DuPont, the two leading merchants of genetically modified seed, have invested more than $12 million to defeat Prop 37. Americans have been eating genetically engineered food for 18 years, and as supporters of the technology are quick to point out, we don’t seem to be dropping like flies. But they miss the point. The fight over labeling G.M. food is not foremost about food safety or environmental harm, legitimate though these questions are. The fight is about the power of Big Food. Monsanto has become the symbol of everything people dislike about industrial agriculture: corporate control of the regulatory process; lack of transparency (for consumers) and lack of choice (for farmers); an intensifying rain of pesticides; and the monopolization of seeds, which is to say, of the genetic resources on which all of humanity depends.
Note: To learn more about the revolving door between Monsanto and the FDA, click here. To read about many suppressed scientific studies which showed the GM foods were often harmful and sometimes even lethal to a variety of lab animals, click here. To watch a powerful video showing clearly how Monsanto has attacked those who will not use their GM seeds, click here.
Just under three years ago, people in the village of Gumbi in western Malawi went unexpectedly hungry. Not like Europeans do if they miss a meal or two, but that deep, gnawing hunger that prevents sleep and dulls the senses when there has been no food for weeks. Oddly, there had been no drought, the usual cause of malnutrition and hunger in southern Africa, and there was plenty of food in the markets. For no obvious reason the price of staple foods such as maize and rice nearly doubled in a few months. Unusually, too, there was no evidence that the local merchants were hoarding food. It was the same story in 100 other developing countries. There were food riots in more than 20 countries and governments had to ban food exports and subsidise staples heavily. A new theory is emerging among traders and economists. The same banks, hedge funds and financiers whose speculation on the global money markets caused the sub-prime mortgage crisis are ... taking advantage of the deregulation of global commodity markets [to make] billions from speculating on food and causing misery around the world. As food prices soar again to beyond 2008 levels, it becomes clear that everyone is now being affected. Food prices are now rising by up to 10% a year in Britain and Europe. What is more, says the UN, prices can be expected to rise at least 40% in the next decade.
Note: Remember that speculation is behind almost all of the economic bubbles and busts. The price of oil spiked a couple years ago almost purely because of speculators, while the oil companies raked in record profits. It looks like the speculators are now driving food prices as high as they can. For a treasure trove of reports from reliable sources investigating the many different strategies used by financial corporations to enrich themselves at the expense of common people, click here.
People who drink diet sodas daily have three times the risk of stroke and dementia compared to people who rarely drink them, researchers reported Thursday. It's yet another piece of evidence that diet drinks are not a healthy alternative to sugary drinks, and suggests that people need to limit both, doctors said. The researchers, led by Matthew Pase ... and colleagues, studied more than 4,000 people for their report, published in the journal Stroke. "We found that those people who were consuming diet soda on a daily basis were three times as likely to develop both stroke and dementia within the next 10 years as compared to those who did not consume diet soda," Pase told NBC News. "Our study provides further evidence to link consumption of artificially sweetened beverages with the risk of stroke," the team wrote. "To our knowledge, our study is the first to report an association between daily intake of artificially sweetened soft drink and an increased risk of both all-cause dementia and dementia because of Alzheimer's disease." The team did not find the same risk for sugar-sweetened beverages. But they found other troubling signs. "Those who more frequently consume sugary beverages such as fruit juices and sodas had greater evidence of accelerated brain aging such as overall smaller brain volumes, they had poorer memory function and they also had smaller hippocampus, which is an area of the brain important for memory consolidation," Pase said.
Note: Previous research has linked diet soda with abdominal fat gain, as well as found a variety of serious health risks to be associated with the popular artificial sweetener aspartame. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.
Law firms around the United States are lining up plaintiffs for what they say could be "mass tort" actions against agrichemical giant Monsanto Co that claim the company's Roundup herbicide has caused cancer in farm workers and others exposed to the chemical. The latest lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Delaware. The lawsuit is similar to others filed last month in New York and California accusing Monsanto of long knowing that the main ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, was hazardous. Monsanto "led a prolonged campaign of misinformation to convince government agencies, farmers and the general population that Roundup was safe," the lawsuit states. The litigation follows the World Health Organization's declaration in March that there was sufficient evidence to classify glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic to humans." "We can prove that Monsanto knew about the dangers of glyphosate," said Michael McDivitt, whose Colorado-based law firm is putting together cases for 50 individuals. Roundup ... brought Monsanto $4.8 billion in revenue in its fiscal 2015. But questions about Roundup's safety have dogged the company for years. Attorneys who have filed or are eying litigation cited strong evidence that links glyphosate to non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Monsanto is also fending off claims over its past manufacturing of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which the WHO classifies as known carcinogens. At least 700 lawsuits against Monsanto or Monsanto-related entities are pending.
Note: It's interesting to note that a Google search shows almost no major media picked up this key news. Read how the EPA used industry studies while ignoring independent studies to declare Roundup safe. Read also an excellent mercola.com article titled "GMO cookie is crumbling." Monsanto is trying to stop the state of California from listing Glyphosate as carcinogenic. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
Monsanto Co.’s undisclosed recruitment of scientists from Harvard University, Cornell University and three other schools to write about the benefits of plant biotechnology is drawing fire from opponents. Monsanto says it’s in regular contact with public-sector scientists as it tries to “elevate” public dialog on genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. U.S. Right to Know, a nonprofit group funded by the Organic Consumers Association that obtained e-mails under the Freedom of Information Act, says correspondence revealing Monsanto’s actions shows the “corporate control of science and how compliant some academics are.” The articles have become the latest flashpoint in an information war being waged over plant biotechnology. The articles in question appeared on the Genetic Literacy Project’s website in a series called “GMO - Beyond the Science.” Eric Sachs, who leads Monsanto’s scientific outreach, wrote to eight scientists to pen a series of briefs aimed at influencing “public policy, GM crop regulation and consumer acceptance.” Five of them obliged. University of Florida Professor Kevin Folta said he agreed to write “Anti-GMO Activism and Its Impact on Food Security” because communicating science to the public is his job. Folta has faced public criticism since the New York Times ... reported last month about his communications with Monsanto and a $25,000 donation to the science communication program he runs.
Michael Specter's recent articles bashing Vandana Shiva and the labeling of genetically engineered foods (Seeds of Doubt and The Problem with G.M.O. Labels) in the New Yorker are the latest high-profile pro-GMO articles that fail to engage with the fundamental critique of genetically engineered food crops in US soil today: rather than reduce pesticide inputs GMOs are causing them to skyrocket in amount and toxicity. Setting the record straight, Dr. Ramon J. Seidler, Ph.D., former Senior Scientist, Environmental Protection Agency, has recently published a well-researched article documenting the devastating facts, "Pesticide Use on Genetically Engineered Crops," in Environmental Working Group's online AgMag. Dr. Seidler's article cites and links recent scientific literature and media reports, and should be required reading for all journalists covering GMOs, as well as for citizens generally to understand why their right to know if food is genetically engineered is so important. Over 99% of GMO acreage is engineered by chemical companies to tolerate heavy herbicide (glyphosate) use and/or produce insecticide (Bt) in every cell of every plant over the entire growing season. The result is massive selection pressure that has rapidly created pest resistance - the opposite of integrated pest management. Predictably ... we now have huge swaths of the country infested with "superweeds" and "superbugs" resistant to glyphosate and Bt, meaning more volume of more toxic pesticides are being applied.
Note: The negative health impacts of Monsanto's Roundup are well known. Major lawsuits are building over Monsanto's lies to regulators and the public about the safety of glyphosate. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
Most everyone who has ever selected their fruits and vegetables from the "organic" section while grocery shopping probably thought they were doing something good for their bodies and the environment. Yet the question of whether organic foods are in fact more nutritious than their conventionally grown counterparts remains a topic of heated scientific debate. On [July 14], the British Journal of Nutrition published research that disputed the notion that organic foods are essentially no more healthful than conventional foods. After reviewing 343 studies on the topic, researchers in Europe and the United States concluded that organic crops and organic-crop-based foods contained higher concentrations of antioxidants on average than conventionally grown foods. At the same time, the researchers found that conventional foods contained greater concentrations of residual pesticides and the toxic metal cadmium. "This shows clearly that organically grown fruits, vegetables and grains deliver tangible nutrition and food safety benefits," said study coauthor Charles Benbrook, a research professor at Washington State University's Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Note: Read more about this landmark study in this article.
Vermont on [May 8] became the first state in the nation to require the labeling of genetically engineered foods. Gov. Peter Shumlin signed that mandate into law on Thursday afternoon, saying in a statement “we believe we have a right to know what’s in the food we buy.” The new law represents a significant victory for advocates who have for years pushed such measures at the state and local level. But there remains one more hurdle to overcome: a likely lawsuit. Legislators, officials and advocates are preparing for the state to be sued over the new law. Last month, state Attorney General Bill Sorrell told Vermont Public Radio that he would be “very surprised” if the state isn’t sued. And officials were so sure of a challenge that the measure itself creates a $1.5 million legal defense fund, to be paid for with settlements won by the state. “The threat of a lawsuit worked for a while, but now it doesn’t work anymore,” says Ronnie Cummins, national director of the Organic Consumers Association, whose organization has for years worked with activists and lawmakers in Vermont on the issue. At least 25 states have considered such legislation, according to a recent report on labeling requirements from the nonprofit Council for Agricultural Science and Technology. And advocates are hopeful they will get a measure on the Oregon ballot this year. Proponents argue that the science behind genetically modified food is far from conclusive and ask why consumers should take risks without knowing what they’re eating. If companies truly stand behind the safety of GMO foods, they shouldn’t worry about having to identify them, advocates for labeling argue.
Note: For many major media articles laying bare the serious risks and dangers of GMOs in our food, click here. For more on the major risks from GMO foods, see the deeply revealing summary available here.
Scientists have recently begun to investigate [whether] food can have as powerful an impact on the mind as it does on the body. Research exploring the link between diet and mental health “is a very new field; the first papers only came out a few years ago,” said Michael Berk, a professor of psychiatry at the Deakin University School of Medicine in Australia. “But the results are unusually consistent, and they show a link between diet quality and mental health.” “Diet quality” refers to the kinds of foods that people eat, how often they eat them and how much of them they eat. In several studies ... Berk and his collaborators have found lower rates of depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder among those who consumed a traditional diet of meat and vegetables than among people who followed a modern Western diet heavy with processed and fast foods or even a health-food diet of tofu and salads. “Traditional diets — the kinds of foods your grandmother would have recognized — have been associated with a lower risk of mental health issues,” Berk said. The association between diet and mental well-being may start even before birth. A 2013 study of more than 23,000 mothers and their children, led by Berk’s frequent collaborator and Deakin colleague Felice Jacka, suggests a link between a mother’s consumption of sweets and processed foods during pregnancy and behavioral and mental health issues in her child at age 5.
Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.
Americans throw away 40 percent of the food they buy, often because of misleading expiration dates that have nothing to do with safety, said a study released [on September 18] by Harvard University Law School and the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group. The report said 90 percent of Americans toss good food into the garbage because they mistakenly think that "sell by," "best before," "use by" or "packed on" dates on food containers indicate safety. One-fifth of consumers, the report said, "always" throw away food based on package dates. In fact, "sell by" dates are used by retailers for inventory control. "Best before" or "use by" dates usually reflect manufacturer estimates of peak quality. While some labels are intended to indicate freshness, none of them reflects edibility or safety, said Ted Labuza, a food science professor at the University of Minnesota who collaborated with the authors. "If food looks rotten and smells bad, throw it away, but just because it reaches a certain date does not mean the food is unsafe," Labuza said. "I don't know of any food poisoning outbreak that came from people eating food that was past its shelf-life date." The report estimated the value of food tossed away at $165 billion a year. Food waste is a big source of greenhouse gases. Wasting food also squanders vast quantities of water, land, fertilizers, petroleum, packaging and other resources that go into producing it. About a quarter of all fresh water used in the United States goes into the making of food that is thrown away, the report said.
[In 2012,] financial speculator Goldman Sachs, the archetypal villain of the global economic meltdown, bailed out by US taxpayers to the tune of $5.5bn ... made an estimated $400m from speculating on food. The World Bank estimated in 2010 that 44 million people were pushed into poverty because of high food prices, and that speculation is one of the main causes. Since Goldman led the drive to deregulate commodity markets in the 1990s ... they've been at the vanguard of creating and promoting complex commodity instruments, from which they've raked in huge profits. Wallace Turbeville, a former vice president and the inventor of commodity index funds, has been outing the company's methods. He says that in his time at Goldman, investment increased from $3bn in 2003 to $260bn in 2008, and commodity prices rose dramatically during the same period, increasing from 2006 to 2008 by an average of 71%. In 1996, speculators held 12% of the positions on the Chicago wheat market, with most of the market being made up of the legitimate users of food – from farmers to producers. But the legitimate hedging element of commodity markets has virtually disappeared in the intervening years. By 2011, pure speculators made up a staggering 61% of the market. Of course, Goldman Sachs isn't the only player, but it is certainly the largest. For several years, it was hotly debated whether speculation in food commodities drives up prices. But the evidence now firmly says it does, and that there's little correlation between rising prices and actual supply and demand. There are now well over 100 studies which agree.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on financial corruption, click here.
U.S. taxpayers are footing the bill for overseas lobbying that promotes controversial biotech crops developed by U.S.-based Monsanto Co and other seed makers, a report issued on [May 14] said. A review of 926 diplomatic cables of correspondence to and from the U.S. State Department and embassies in more than 100 countries found that State Department officials actively promoted the commercialization of specific biotech seeds, according to the report issued by Food & Water Watch, a nonprofit consumer protection group. The officials tried to quash public criticism of particular companies and facilitated negotiations between foreign governments and seed companies such as Monsanto over issues like patents and intellectual property, the report said. The cables show U.S. diplomats supporting Monsanto, the world's largest seed company, in foreign countries even after it paid $1.5 million in fines after being charged with bribing an Indonesian official and violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in 2005. One 2009 cable shows the embassy in Spain seeking "high-level U.S. government intervention" at the "urgent request" of Monsanto to combat biotech crop opponents there. The report covered cables from 2005-2009 that were released by Wikileaks in 2010. "It really goes beyond promoting the U.S.'s biotech industry and agriculture," said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. "It really gets down to twisting the arms of countries and working to undermine local democratic movements that may be opposed to biotech crops."
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government corruption, click here.
It's becoming clear that we can grow all the food we need, and profitably, with far fewer chemicals. Conventional agriculture can shed much of its chemical use - if it wants to. What may be the most important agricultural study this year ... was done on land owned by Iowa State University called the Marsden Farm. On 22 acres of it, beginning in 2003, researchers set up three plots: one replicated the typical Midwestern cycle of planting corn one year and then soybeans the next, along with its routine mix of chemicals. On another, they planted a three-year cycle that included oats; the third plot added a four-year cycle and alfalfa. The longer rotations also integrated the raising of livestock, whose manure was used as fertilizer. The results were stunning: The longer rotations produced better yields of both corn and soy, reduced the need for nitrogen fertilizer and herbicides by up to 88 percent, reduced the amounts of toxins in groundwater 200-fold and didn't reduce profits by a single cent. In short, there was only upside - and no downside at all - associated with the longer rotations. There was an increase in labor costs, but remember that profits were stable. So this is a matter of paying people for their knowledge and smart work instead of paying chemical companies for poisons. And it's a high-stakes game; according to the Environmental Protection Agency, about five billion pounds of pesticides are used each year in the United States.
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