by Steve Sprinkel
Scotland County, Missouri
An interesting Wild Card was played in the past week of 5 May 99 when Archer
Daniels Midland upped the stakes at the commodity crop casino. ADM is
offering a last-minute bonus to growers who plant a non-GMO soybean hybrid
designed to take on the ravages of DuPont's Synchrony herbicide. What a
marriage from hell. An 18 cent per bushel premium they say? Oh, that will buy
you a new set of tires for your JD9400-particularly since you would need a
425 horsepower machine and farm 4000 acres to make those pennies pay out. On
that scale you could bring in an extra $36,000 gross*.
Could we back up a minute? I thought all the players at this particular table
were losers. Is this a Royal Flush, or just dealers picking from a deck with
more than 52 cards? A most unusual ( daresay, improbable) leviathan suddenly
sweeping in, horns blaring, to rescue farmers for 18 cents a bushel when
soybeans are depressed at a rate 10 times that? Whereforth comes such
generosity? What farmers need are better soybean prices, not a phony bail-out
just because Monsanto and all the gravy-trainers who jumped aboard the SS
Frankenstein have run aground on the public/private Euro embargo on
genetically modified agriculture.
Dueling Terra-Gators: I see massive threewheeler herbicide units jousting
amid the stubble, Monsanto versus DuPont seeking primacy over the rights to
continue the despicable border-to-border pollution of the biospehere.
Synchrony versus Round-Up . Who's poison will win?
"Synchrony? Sounds like a new name for a NATO war-operation", my Texas
neighbor, Reno Travis, wrote with a histrionic air of bumpkin cyncism.
"Synchrony.....now that's a coincidence. I can imagine that the narcissists
in those boardrooms thought that was a stroke of genius."
When was this miracle merger hatched? It doesn't seem like it was planned,
unless trainwrecks like this can be predicted. Did the wet spring give them a
window to push this one forward? Soybean planting is not that much delayed,
but if the ground had been drier this season ADM-DuPont would have announced
their dreadful deal with more than 11% of the acreage planted. Sounds more
like an afterthought than typical corporate strategy. Or desperation, we
shall fervently hope.
Creating a timeline is helpful. Because of export market requirements,
Archer Daniels Midland has been forced to segregate the commodities they
handle, and faced with the uncertainties of GMO contamination, decided to not
handle any GMO corn whatsoever. Synchronizing the soybean trade was the next
step. The GMO corn prohibition came in late April, and was a result of
overseas consumer disaffection for GMO foods that spilled over from January'
into February and grew into scandal by March. Crisis created opportunity. It
was no sweat getting the Synchrony seed. These things are grown from pole to
pole, so even in a pinch they could get the planting seed up from Argentina
in ten days, which was enough time to influence how the ground would be
planted in Minnesota, Michigan, New York and Ontario.
Why does the ADM-DuPont link-up look a bit twisted? Let us count the ways.
Like cannibalistic jackals piling on the hopefully soon-to-be-rotting flesh
of the Beast that is GMO, these two superpowers feast on their own kind.
Taking short term profit at the expense of rivals Monsanto, Zeneca and
AgrEvo, we observe ADM-DuPont fronting two-dimensional good will that only
their slavish puppets at the Farm Bureau and AgriTalk can hype as a good
alternative to a sour, even calamitous market. Cannily, DuPont gets to butter
both sides of its bread ( they play in the GMO trade through their
acquisition of Pioneer), and perhaps can knock Monsanto down a few more
notches so DuPont can buy the carcass at deflated prices.
Third-guessing myself, I semi-paranoically wonder if this is dupe-time, and I
will be caught in my own net, crabbing about pesticide use on a non GMO crop
which the Splice and Dice Gang have used as bait for people like me to
self-contradict over. Then they can say: " You can't have it both ways."
To which I might be able to say: " I want neither of your worlds. I will
close you all down before I die, you Armani-wearing, corporate welfare
weasels. We see you working, and you are not working very well! Your lies are
hiding in plain sight."
Meanwhile, its Hush Time on the plains: calm those fretful farmers lest the
stink from these bins full of unsold GMO soybeans and corn lead them to
action. You have to love it, by the way, when the "authorities" recommend
that farmers feed their GMO crops to their livestock. What livestock? You
mean Armour's, Murphy's and IBP's livestock? Is my name Tyson?
What in the hell is this stuff? Synchrony is a mixture of thifensulfuron and
chlorimuron and like glyphosate is also an amino acid synthesis inhibitor.
Other toxic chemicals in this group include the sulfonylureas, imidazolinones
and sulfonamides. They use a lot of "Imi", so nicknamed by the toxic
synthetic pesticide community, on corn. Sometimes you can hit three Imi
commercials in a row on your AM radio when you hit "seek" in succession
Saturation is so crucial. Saturation of print and radio, saturation at the
Land Grants, saturation in DC, and saturation from stream bed to stream bed.
Pour on that stuff and watch the world turn yellow. Poured on largely for
cosmetics: there is such a high school prom-night mindset in ag right now, no
wonder they think its more important to go broke looking like a Monsanto
commercial than to have a few weeds.
Well, gotta run. They're auctioning a couple of 8 row cultivators in Arbela
this morning. They should go cheap
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