Why do so many people hate Monsanto?

Is it because this multinational corporation pioneered some enormously successful genetically engineered crops, including corn, soybeans and cotton?

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Monsanto is leading the fight to block a California ballot initiative that would require labeling of food with genetically modified ingredients.

(via Monsanto)

Monsanto says its fiscal third-quarter net income soared 35 percent as its seeds and traits business benefited from a mild winter that drove farmers to plant crops earlier and in large numbers.

The U.S. agricultural giant also maintained its full-year earnings forecast after boosting it last month.

The St. Louis company, which produces genetically engineered seeds and the herbicide Roundup, earned $937 million, or $1.74 per share, in the quarter ended in May. That's compared with $692 million, or $1.28 per share, a year earlier.

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St. Louis to demolish plywood shacks near Mississippi River

Demolition will begin Friday at a row of plywood shacks near the Mississippi River in St. Louis where 10 homeless people have been evacuated. 

It is the first of three riverfront encampments the city ordered shut down. St. Louis Human Services Director Bill Siedhoff has said that he hopes to have all three encampments cleared out by May 18 after reports of violent crime and rat infestation.

(via Monsanto)

A coalition of organic farmers and grower organizations has filed an appeal in its lawsuit challenging Monsanto seed patents.

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Insect scientists say federal regulators need to take action against a growing pest problem in biotech corn.

They say corn rootworm has started to become resistant to Monsanto's Bt corn, which is genetically engineered to resist the damaging and costly pest.

The 22 scientists expressed their concerns in a letter sent to EPA earlier this week. 

University of Illinois insect behaviorist Joseph Spencer was one of them.

OK, so this story is about weeds and weedkillers, neither of which is ever the hero of a story, but stay with me for a second: It's also about plants with superpowers.

Unless you grow cotton, corn or soybeans for a living, it's hard to appreciate just how amazing and wonderful it seemed, 15 years ago, when Roundup-tolerant crops hit the market. I've seen crusty farmers turn giddy just talking about it.

A New York federal court today dismissed a lawsuit against agribusiness giant Monsanto brought by thousands of certified organic farmers. The farmers hoped the suit would protect them against infringing on the company's crop patents in the future.

The Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association and several other growers and organizations do not use Monsanto seeds. But they were betting that the judge would agree that Monsanto should not be allowed to sue them if pollen from the company's patented crops happened to drift into their fields.

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Missouri Senate votes to allow cell phones on no-call list

The Missouri Senate has passed a measure that would let people put cell phone numbers on the state's no-call list for telemarketers. The Senate voted 34-0 Thursday, to expand the list which is currently limited to land lines.

The measure would also forbid telemarketers from sending unwanted images or text messages to cell phones on the no-call list. 

(Ken Light)

Michael Pollan thinks of himself as a writer, professor…and eater.  But many people would call him a food activist. The author of controversial books like The Ominvore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food, Pollan is known for his vivid critiques of industrial agriculture and the modern American diet.

Pollan is in St. Louis today for the St. Louis Speakers Series presented by Maryville University. He recently spoke with St. Louis Public Radio’s Véronique LaCapra about his views on food and agriculture – starting with what he sees as a healthy diet.

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Updated 5:09 p.m.

Argentina's tax agency has accused a Monsanto contractor of what it calls slave-like conditions among workers in its cornfields.

The Federal Administration of Public Revenues (AFIP) says Rural Power SA hired all its farmhands illegally, restricted them from leaving the building where they were housed, and withheld their salaries.

The 65 workers had to de-tassel corn 14 hours a day and buy their food at inflated prices from the company store.

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Smoking opponents are back to the drawing board in St. Charles County

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DuPont’s Pioneer Hi-Bred International is suing Monsanto for allegedly violating DuPont patents related to corn seed production.

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court, the Iowa-based seed company accuses Monsanto of using a patented technique developed by DuPont to enhance corn seed germination. The technique involves defoliating the corn plants with herbicides between pollination and harvest.

DuPont alleges that Monsanto has been using this defoliation technique at its research site in Constantine, Michigan.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Building on the success and popularity of Pepsi Refresh and similar programs, Monsanto has launched its own competitive grants for St. Louis-area non-profits.

"We're asking St. Louis to nominate, and subsequently to vote on their favorite schools, their favorite agencies, their favorite non-profits," said Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant at Tuesday's announcement of the Grow St. Louis program. "They'll have the opportunity through that voting system to win a grant. It's kind of like American Idol without the music."

St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 2:05 p.m. April 12, 2011:

Reuters has now updated its story to indicate that a buyout is not in the plans:

Germany's BASF SE (BASFn.DE) has no plans to buy global biotech seed company Monsanto Co (MON.N), sources with knowledge of the situation said on Tuesday.

Rumors that a buyout was imminent sent shares of Monsanto Co (MON.N) up as much as 4 percent while shares of BASF, the world's largest chemical maker, fell 2.8 percent to 62.59 euros.

Monsanto is entering a multi-year research collaboration with San Diego-based Sapphire Energy.

Sapphire specializes in genetically-engineering algae with the goal of producing drop-in replacements for fuels like gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.

The collaboration between Sapphire and Monsanto will focus on identifying genes that positively affect growth in algae and that might also increase agricultural crop yields.

Farmers will be able to plant Monsanto's Roundup Ready sugar beets this spring.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced today that planting could continue while the Agency completes an Environmental Impact Statement.

The beets have been genetically-engineered to tolerate Monsanto's Roundup herbicide.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Thursday that it has decided to allow unrestricted commercial planting of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready alfalfa.

The alfalfa has been genetically-engineered to tolerate the herbicide glyphosate, known commercially as Roundup.

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Monsanto today announced progress on nine of its research projects on genetically-engineered crops.

Speaking on a conference call with reporters, Monsanto's vice president of biotechnology, Steve Padgette, said several collaborations with the Germany-based BASF Plant Science will be moving forward in 2011.

St. Louis-based Monsanto Co. says higher sales of corn, soybean, vegetable and cotton seeds helped the company earn a profit in the first quarter of the fiscal year.