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The Sugar of Things

Touch the Soil News #777 (Feature photo – artistic drawing of the sugar beet – which is now a GMO crop in the U.S.) The world’s largest agricultural bank – Rabobank – is located in the Netherlands, but has offices in nations around the world including the U.S. As one of the world’s top 30 banks, Rabobank is unique in that its focus is on food and agriculture. Rare to make bold predictions or statements, Rabobank recently issued an economic report on sugar. Here are some highlights from the report: Consumer shift away from sugar has become a global trend. This is a big deal for the sugar industry and…

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Monsanto – In Trouble Again

Touch the Soil News #752 (feature photo – chemical diagram of Dicamba) The problem of dicamba drift – when an herbicide chemical put on one farm drifts over to another – has mushroomed in the past few years. The technical name for dicamba is 3,6 – dichloro-2-methoxybenzoic acid. The recent sale by Monsanto of dicamba-resistant cotton and soybeans resulted in farmers being able to use the more powerful dicamba over the standard Roundup (glyphosate). So when farmers plant dicamba-resistant cotton and soybeans, they can use the more powerful chemical dicamba. The problem is that the product has a tendency to drift after spraying onto other non-dicamba resistant crops. The damages…

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Does It Matter?

Touch the Soil News #582 Recently, the USDA gave approval to Del Monte to go ahead with the commercial cultivation of pink pineapples. The new pineapple has been genetically engineered to produce lower levels of the enzymes already in conventional pineapple that convert the pink pigment lycopene to the yellow pigment beta carotene. Lycopene is the pigment that makes tomatoes red and watermelons pink. The new pineapple will be raised in Costa Rica. Del Monte will label it as an “extra sweet pink flesh pineapple.” The FDA, during its review of the pink pineapple, said that there are no unresolved safety or regulatory questions about the pink pineapple. What do…

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Catching Up On the World of Organics

Touch the Soil News #464 The nation’s largest organic wheat flour producer – Cascade Organic Flour, LLC – is doubling its organic wheat acreage to 5,000 acres. Located in Royal, Washington the firm is a family owned farm. The enterprise not only grows the wheat, but they also mill their own flour. The additional acreage will allow the company to produce 30 million pounds of whole wheat organic flour a year. http://www.cascadeorganicflour.com/ Photo: Picture logo of Cascade Organic Flour (photo courtesy of Cascade Organic Flour). Door to Door Organics, from Lafayette, Colorado offers direct delivery of natural and organic groceries to your location. The company has relationships with local farmers…

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Are Whole Foods and Monsanto a Team?

Touch the Soil News #456 This is a rather odd question to pose. Whole Foods represents the charge for more organic food and Monsanto is about genetic engineering to clinch a market for its agricultural chemicals. The question came up recently as the battle for GMO labeling reached brutal clashes. Vermont law to require clear GMO labeling was overturned by Federal politicians. In this clash, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey recently came out in favor of supporting the same position as Monsanto – in diluting the GMO labeling mandate. Whole Foods came out in favor of the federal legislation which demonstrates disregard of “States” rights (Vermont). In addition, it gives…

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The Titans of Chemical/GMO Agriculture – Who Are They? (Part 2 of 2)

Touch the Soil News #447 (Feature Photo: Orin Hargraves – CC 2.0) What we are about to discover here, has more impact on the food chain and who is able to afford food than virtually any other power. It supersedes the power of the executive officers of the corporations who run the 7 top chemical/GMO companies in the world (see News#446). It can rival the power of the Federal Government and Federal Regulators. The pending merger between the Dow Chemical Company and the DuPont Company provides perspective. In reviewing the merger, the message is not one of criticism of Dow or DuPont. As we will explore, these two companies are…

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The Titans of Chemical/GMO Agriculture – Who Are They? (Part 1 of 2)

Touch the Soil News #446 (Feature Photo: Orin Hargraves – CC 2.0) One trend is clear around the world, people are more concerned about chemical agriculture and the GMO crops that drive chemical use. Today there are seven (7) big players in the agricultural chemical / GMO industry. They are: Syngnta (Swiss) – annual sales $13.4 billion, 28,704 employees Monsanto (USA) – annual sales – $15 billion, 25,500 employees DuPont (USA) – annual sales – $25.3 billion, 52,000 employees ChemChina – annual sales – $42 billion, 140,000 employees Dow Chemical Company (USA) – annual sales – $48.8 billion, 51,635 employees Bayer AG (Germany) – annual sales – $51 billion, 116,800…

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What is Agricultural Colonialism?

Touch the Soil News #409 There always seem to be those agendas cloaked with good sounding phrases and nameplates. One of these is the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (NAFSN). This organization was created in 2012 by the G7 in the aftermath of the global food crises of 2008. This was when bread bakers in America were squeezed due to limited supplies of wheat and costly prices and almost overnight 100 million more people entered the ranks of the starving. The G7 is a group of nations working together that include Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom, United States and the participation of the European Union. Their…

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Whoa GMOs

Touch the Soil News #395 Recently, the news media made a lot of hoopla over a new report by the National Academies of Sciences (NAS). The NAS report authors concluded that they found no evidence of adverse effects from human consumption of GE foods. Unfortunately, the media took this to mean “GMOs are safe to eat”. The Pesticide Action Network (PAN) however, has already taken the NAS report to task. It was discovered that half of the report’s committee members have or have had ties to the biotech industry – or to industry-sponsored groups. The NAS report did not review the risk of GMO growing practices (requiring heavy use of…

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Paying $62 billion For One of the World’s Most Hated Companies

Touch the Soil News #387 Industrial agriculture is materially defined by the GMO seeds and toxic chemicals it uses. Bayer AG from Germany just announced on May 23, 2016 that it made an all cash offer to buy Monsanto for $62 billion. If the deal comes together, it will create the world’s largest seller of GMO seeds and farm chemicals. This is the largest all-cash offer ever made in the history of capitalism. Bayer AG will become one of the most deeply indebted companies as it plans to assume approximately $9 billion of Monsanto debt, sell new Bayer Ag stock for $15.5 billion and borrow another $37.5 billion. Announcement of…

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