Monsanto News Lowdown

January 20, 2010

There is a lot of news at Monsanto this week. Here is a quick read of everything that is going on.

  • Corn Farmers Saved $50M in Insurance Premiums by Planting Biotech
  • And on it goes…Monsanto vs. DuPont
  • Roundup Ready® Alfalfa Goes to the Supreme Court
  • Calling All Rice and Wheat Breeders

Corn Farmers Saved $50M in Insurance Premiums by Planting Biotech

That’s through the Risk Management Agency’s (RMA) Biotechnology Endorsement program, which offers lower insurance premiums for corn producers who plant qualifying “traited” hybrids. Using RMA data, Monsanto estimates that the cost of premiums was reduced on average by more than $4.24 per acre for those farmers who planted Monsanto technologies.

The program is based on a pilot program Monsanto helped innovate. Field trial data has indicated that corn hybrids containing biotech traits provide lower yield risk compared to non-traited hybrids (i.e. biotech traits provide more consistency in yield).

And on it goes…Monsanto vs. DuPont
Monsanto and DuPont both issued news releases over the holiday weekend announcing a St. Louis federal court’s ruling that DuPont is not licensed to stack Monsanto’s Roundup Ready® trait with the Optimum® GAT® (OGAT)  trait in corn or soybeans.

The major wire outlets – Reuters, Bloomberg, the Associated Press – all provided coverage as well as the Des Moines Register and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Roundup Ready® Alfalfa Goes to the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court said on Friday it has granted Monsanto’s petition to review the federal district court order that halted planting of Roundup Ready alfalfa two years ago. Planting was halted by the federal district court pending completion of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). (Read more about the court case in Monsanto’s For the Record section.)

All of this is occurring at the same time that the USDA is holding a public comment period on its draft EIS. The comment period opened Dec. 18 and closes Feb. 16. Monsanto and Forage Genetics International are encouraging members of the farming community to voice support for Roundup Ready alfalfa as well as biotech crops by submitting a comment to the USDA.

Calling All Rice and Wheat Breeders (aka Hunger Fighters)
Applications for Monsanto’s Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars Program are due by Monday, Feb. 1. The program, established last year in honor of Drs. Henry Beachell and Norman Borlaug, provides funding support and development for Ph.D. students studying rice or wheat breeding (dubbed “hunger fighters” by Dr. Borlaug).  This is the first time since the death of Dr. Borlaug in September of 2009 that recipients will be named.

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