As I walked into the room for that presentation, I was greeted with "Welcome to the Lions' Den." As I found the courage to take the stage, I shared that according to the USDA, farm income was down 35% in 2009. I then shared that Monsanto is reporting, in forward looking statements to Wall Street analysts based on projected sales that they have asked for from the farmers, that Monsanto is expecting gross margins in Q2 2010 of 62% and that they are expecting to drive up the price mix of their products, corn and soy, by 8-10%. I also shared that according to these forward looking statements, Monsanto expects to expand their glyphosate revenue to an estimated $1 billion in gross profit by 2012, further enabling Monsanto to drive R&D into seeds and to price those seeds at a premium - further driving price increases on the farm.
And then I listened.
What I learned from these remarkable men and women is simply jaw dropping.
Due to Monsanto's contracts with seed companies, farmers are now bound by the threat of a lawsuit if they speak out regarding farm practices. As third and fourth generation farmers, inheriting their grandfathers' lands, their corn crops are no longer regulated by the FDA but by the EPA due to the insecticidal proteins they now contain, and they are subject to rising, unregulated costs never before seen in farming - contractual fees, trait fees, licensing fees and royalty fees and germ plasm fees associated with a technology that has been engineered into seeds designed to enhance Monsanto's bottom line.