Here are some stories [to track] in the coming year:
Mind-bending agribusiness deals. For more than a decade, the global market for seeds and pesticides was dominated by five massive companies. Very quickly after taking power, Trump’s Department of Justice will be tasked with vetting two mind-bendingly complicated deals that could reduce that number to three: German chemical giant Bayer’s takeover of US seed titan Monsanto and the Dow-DuPont merger. If the deals pass regulatory muster here and in Europe, three behemoths—the above two combined firms, plus Syngenta (itself recently taken over by a Chinese chemical conglomerate)—would sell about 59 percent of the globe’s seeds and 64 percent of its pesticides. Here in the United States, the concentration would be even more intense. Bayer-Monsanto alone would own nearly 60 percent of the US cottonseed market; between them, Bayer-Monsanto and Dow-DuPont would sell 75 percent of the corn seeds planted by US farmers and 64 percent of soybean seeds.
CRISPR Unleashed….In a momentous decision in August, the Obama US Department of Agriculture declared it did not have the authority to regulate new crops designed with the technology, opening the door to a barrage of CRISPR-derived products to enter US farm fields without oversight….This is one Obama policy that the Trump administration is unlikely to challenge.
Researchers have already used CRISPR to develop mushrooms that don’t brown as quickly when sliced and tomatoes that ripen on the vine two weeks earlier than normal. In September, Monsanto signed a licensing agreement with the Broad Institute—the MIT-Harvard research group that claims to have developed CRISPR—allowing the agribiz giant the right to use the technology on crops. But despite the regulatory free-for-all, recent research suggests that CRISPR may not be quite as precise as its champions claim.
The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: The Rise of Pesticide Giants and Other Food Stories to Watch Next Year