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marketeye
Veteran Advisor

A visit with Monsanto's Dr. Fraley

He's a 2013 World Food Prize Laureate, an Illinois farm boy, and more importantly one of the founding researchers of Roundup-Ready soybeans. Dr. Bob Fraley, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for Monsanto, visited Meredith Corporation Headquarters Thursday. Here are some takeaways:
-Dr. Fraley discussed how Monsanto needs to do a better job to inform the consumer about its genetically modified products. He says the activists groups have established themselves in the public eye and have outworked the  giant seed and chemical company.
--Dr. Fraley reaffirmed the room of food and ag editors that after thousands of studies, none show any more risk with food produced from gmo plants vs. non-gmo. And, these seeds are the most studied in the world, he says. "After 20-years of use, not a single food or feed issue has arisen from these products," Fraley says.
--He reported the well-known claim that a gmo acre uses 25% less inputs than non-gmo products.
--For farmers, the next big thing for Monsanto is to get back into the wheat seed business. Plus, the St. Louis-based company will put more emphasis on energy crops, sugarcane and vegetable production.
--Regarding technology, Dr. Fraley says information technology is going to be a big focus for the company's future.
--While it launches a public relations campaign on telling consumers that gmo's are safe, it is helping African farmers adopt new corn traits that are drought tolerant.
--Oh by the way, want to know more about gmo's? Go to gmoanswers.com. You can discuss the topic all day long.

My question to our Ag Forum folks and those around the world is this. Do you agree that Monsanto is a company that needs to up their sales pitch on the safety of GMO's? As a member of the first part of the foodchain, what do you want this company to do for you? What is it that drives your opinion about the seed and chemical giant? The floor is yours.

 

Mike

27 Replies
BA Deere
Honored Advisor

Re: A visit with Monsanto's Dr. Fraley

First of all Mike, I plant gmos and as a grower I don't have a lot of complaints other than the tech fee, occasional yield drag and weed and bug resistance. But that's just as a farmer, as a consumer the jury is out on the safety, its only been on the scene less than 20 years. I know there's guys in pretty white lab coats with alphabet letters in degrees behind their names swearing up and down that "its safe! Now sit down and shutup or I'll punch you!".

And above repute do-gooders like Norman Borlogue swear its "going to save the world!" and collect awards from applauding dignitaries wearing bowties and ascots. Trade reps like John Bloch say "Europe will accept GMOs or it will be shoved down their throats!". Meanwhile the traits run out of steam and we add Atrazine to the Roundup and half rate of insecticide to the stacked seed.

My honest opinion is Monsanto should stuck with making chemicals and left tampering with Mother Nature alone.
johnaa
Advisor

Re: A visit with Monsanto's Dr. Fraley

  Clearly you have a economic interest in serving M's propaganda to producers. 

 

  M getting involved with wheat is a big threat to our market.  The current breeding programs are doing a great job resulting in increased resistance to disease, pests and increasing yields.   RR wheat would mainly benefit bigger industrial operations, collectivism, and drive more producers from the land.

 

  True that M has turned reason and justice upsidedown with the establishment of M being able to sue producers when M's genetics invade their seed stock, instead of the producer being able to sue M.

 

  I have read scientists who believe they have evidence that some Smog's are indeed harmful, and they are not getting paid by M, for the most they're not rewarded by anyone other than their honor and conscience.

johnaa
Advisor

Re: A visit with Monsanto's Dr. Fraley

  What is with the system changing words it doesn't recognize?  It changed GMOs to Smog's ! 

marketeye
Veteran Advisor

Re: A visit with Monsanto's Dr. Fraley

BA Deere,

 

Thanks for your honest, heartfelt opinion. I appreciate the straightforward talk.

 

Mike

marketeye
Veteran Advisor

Re: A visit with Monsanto's Dr. Fraley

johnaa,

 

I'll check into the system changing unrecognizable words. I wasn't aware that it did that. In full disclosure, Monsanto is a major advertising customer of Successful Farming/Agriculture.com. But, that shouldn't stop us from discussing the subjects at hand. In fact, Dr. Fraley was doing just that, yesterday, at our Des Moines, Iowa, headquarters. Yes, there are a lot of other hot topics that we could discuss about Monsanto. But, in the timeframe that we had, I gathered the notes possible to bring up the issues in this forum.

 

I'm not defending anyone. I would like to see the science world definitively discover that gmo's are harmful, before I judge any company that is working in that sector. You know what I mean? Why is it that Monsanto can march out 1,000 studies, not 1 not 10 not 100, BUT 1,000 studies that have been conducted and can't confirm the dangers of this science. Why?

Monsanto's business tactics are for the courts and the market to decide. And I've hear the wheat suit story and feel for the farmer involved.

But, it's really about whether gmo's are safe or not, according to the consumer. And, for whatever reason, the tail has yet to be pinned on the donkey.

 

Mike

Husker-J
Senior Contributor

Re: A visit with Monsanto's Dr. Fraley

While I am sure that they go to lengths to be sure GMO crops are safe, I also do not think it is wise to just produce them, and tell people that there is no harm.   I hope Starlink taught everyone that.   Just because the lab says it won't hurt anyone, does not mean that it will reach wide acceptance.

 

johnaa
Advisor

Re: A visit with Monsanto's Dr. Fraley

  If M's facts are real then why do they spend millions blocking labeling and independant research? 

 

The customer has every right to know what they are eating.

 

  One big problem with all these studies is M will not allow independant researchers freedom to test their products.  If they have nothing to hide then why hide? 

 

 

 

 snip--Some scientists wishing to conduct research on GM plants or seeds have been unable to obtain them for study, due to restrictive end-user agreements that limit what can be done with GM seeds. Cornell University's Elson Shields, the spokesperson for one group of scientists who oppose this practice, submitted a statement to the United States Environmental Protection Agency in 2010 protesting that "as a result of restrictive access, no truly independent research can be legally conducted on many critical questions regarding the technology".[46] Scientific American noted that several studies that were initially approved by seed companies were later blocked from publication when they returned "unflattering" results. While recognising that seed companies' intellectual property rights need to be protected, Scientific American calls the practice dangerous and has called for the restrictions on research in the end-user agreements to be lifted immediately and for the EPA to require, as a condition of approval, that independent researchers have unfettered access to GM products for testing.[47] In February 2009, the American Seed Trade Association agreed that they "would allow researchers greater freedom to study the effects of GM food crops." This agreement left many scientists optimistic about the future, but there is little optimism as to whether this agreement has the ability to "alter what has been a research environment rife with obstruction and suspicion

johnaa
Advisor

Will Washington state break U.S. logjam on labeling GMO food?

http://arcamax.com/politics/politicalnews/s-1408661?source=outbrain  ----------------------

A 2013 poll by the New York Times showed that 93% of Americans wanted GMO labeling.[26]

 

jput
Senior Contributor

Re: A visit with Monsanto's Dr. Fraley

 
An interesting look at fighting world hunger with better seed varieties:
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIvNopv9Pa8

I personally do not care if you plant GM seeds,  conventional seeds or certified organic seeds.   It is each farmers choice to farm in the way that suits them best.   I do object when the non-gm crowd decides to market their products by disparaging the crops/livestock/milk, eggs raised by their fellow farmers who choose genetically modified seeds.  

 

Here's a classic example where the anti-gm extremists tried to create a false panic by distorting science:

 

http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/once-more-bad-science-in-the-service-of-anti-gmo-activism/

Oh Mike,  johnaa is a tinfoil hat wearer who sees conspiracy under his bed each night.  Cut the legs off your bed, john,  and those "monsters" can't fit under the bed.  Not sure what you should do about the "monsters" hiding in the closet,  though.