The Environmental Protection Agency has recently found that Monsanto’s genetically modified corn, which was created to kill insects, may be losing its effectiveness against rootworms. The genetically modified corn has been engineered with Bacillus thuringiensis (BT), an insecticide harnessing an insect-killing protein.
The EPA found that the resistant rootworms, which are evolving to resist the insecticide, are currently found Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota and Nebraska. After the EPA evaluated documented cases of severe crop damage as well as reports from entomologists, the EPA stated “Monsanto’s program for monitoring suspected cases of resistance is ‘inadequate'”.
This of course is not the first time that genetically modified crops have led to insect populations that are resistant to the biopesticides contained in the crops. As this problem of resistance continues to occur, the amount of insecticides needed to be used soars. As insects adapt to the genetically modified Bt, the biopesticide becomes absolutely worthless, igniting a vicious cycle of further genetic alteration and increased pesticide/herbicide use.
In a similar vein of resistance, it has recently been reported that Monsanto’s best-selling herbicide Roundup has created a new category of resistant superweeds. These resistant weeds currently cover over 4.5 million hectares in the United States alone, though experts estimate the world-wide land coverage to have reached at least 120 million hectares by 2010.
Monsanto managed to rake in $11.8 billion in sales during the fiscal year ended Aug 31, and it is no wonder why. Not only does the company make incredible profit off of its top-selling products sold to farmers nationwide, but 41 percent of that profit is completely driven by their genetically modified corn. Of course it can’t be too difficult to rake in that kind of money from GM corn when the crop is heavily subsidized by the government.
On the other hand, organic and sustainable farming practices do not require endless amounts of genetic modification, heavy pesticide use, and aren’t subject to the negative health effects that go along with conventional farming. This kind of sustainable and health-promoting farming is what activists and environmentalists have been pushing for years. It seems that when Monsanto isn’t involved, farming becomes much simpler, healthy, and environmentally friendly.