Monsanto Gets Major Boost in Congressional Bill

A House agriculture appropriations bill contains some major giveaways to Monsanto and other major biotech agribusinesses, food safety advocates and small farmers say, further cementing the power of large-scale businesses at the expense of small operations.

The struggle between major, large-scale agricultural operations and small farmers has dominated the last twenty years of agricultural production. While food production may be going up, the number of farms is going down, symbolizing the increasing concentration of production power in the hands of major, large-scale agribusinesses like Monsanto.

The distrust for agricultural giants has only been exacerbated by their interest in genetically modified crops. Recent efforts by farmers to limit the power of Monsanto (including a lawsuit in New York challenging their patents on seeds and a failed referendum in California designed to require genetically modified food products to be labeled) have only increased some of the distrust and animosity.

Recent riders to House appropriations bills would only increase the power of major biotech companies. The riders in question would essentially limit the power of the federal government and federal courts from preventing the planting of genetically modified crops, regardless of environmental, health, or economic concerns, while also adding no new regulatory oversight.

While biotech companies argue that delays cost them significant amounts of money and insist that modified crops are safe, some food safety advocates see this as the further entrenching of corporate agricultural power.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer