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Mother Jones’ Tom Philpott visits Monsanto headquarters

| | April 21, 2016

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis.

I normally cover the agrichemical industry from afar. . . But on a recent afternoon, I found myself plunged into the industry’s very bosom: Monsanto‘s global R&D center in suburban St. Louis.

. . .I spent five hours. . . speaking with researchers, scientists, and managers . . .bookended by interviews . . . with Monsanto’s chief technology officer Robb Fraley. . .

. . . .

My entire visit was on the record, and Fraley and other Monsanto workers spoke freely. Here are some things I learned.

The company doesn’t seem too keen on old-school GMOs anymore.

. . . .

But that doesn’t mean Monsanto is giving up on cutting-edge techniques.

While downplaying the role of gene transfer, Fraley and other Monsanto employees embraced other genetic methods for altering crops: gene silencing, or RNAi (which I’ve discussed at length here), and gene-editing techniques, like the much-ballyhooed CRISPR-Cas9. . . .

. . . .

Soil microbiota supplements are hot! . . .

My favorite episode of our trip was our stop at Monsanto’s emerging soil microbial unit, which develops supplements meant to boost soil health and produce more robust crops.

. . . .

I was happy to see Monsanto was thinking in terms adding life to soil, not dousing it with chemicals designed to stamp out life. So what I saw next made my jaw drop. . . .

. . .

. . . “biological” products were being marketed under biocide labels. . . . “What we’ve done is taken biological products and put it on top of the fungicides and insecticides most [corn and soybean] growers are using today,” [the researcher] said.

. . . .

. . .I greatly appreciated the access and transparency granted to me. In our conversations, Fraley repeatedly mentioned the importance of open dialogue between Monsanto and its critics, and I agree. I hope we can continue it.

Read full, original post: Inside the Country’s Most Controversial Company

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Click the link above to read the full, original article.
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