Glyphosate Use Surges in Midwest, Lawsuits Mount: What Will the Supremes Say?

By Jerri-Lynn Scofield, who has worked as a securities lawyer and a derivatives trader. She is currently writing a book about textile artisans.

Farmers’ use of glyphosate is surging throughout the midwestern United States.

Glyphosate is a key ingredient in Roundup, the controversial herbicide that is the subject of more than 13,000 pending lawsuits against Bayer. The first three of these to reach a verdict resulted in judgments against the company. (For further background and details, see my two previous posts this litigation, EPA Says Glyphosate Is Safe, But Lawsuits Loom and Bayer’s Woes Mount, and Second Roundup Decision: Jury Finds Weedkiller a “Substantial Cause” of Plantiff’s Cancer.)

As the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting revealed in this May 26 article, Controversial pesticide use sees dramatic increase across the Midwest:

Nationwide, the use of glyphosate on crops increased from 13.9 million pounds in 1992 to 287 million pounds in 2016, according to estimates by the U.S. Geological Survey.

A review of the agency’s data by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting shows that farmers across the Midwest used an estimated 188.7 million pounds of glyphosate in 2016 – nearly 40 times more than in 1992 when they used a total of 4.6 million pounds.  The data for the year 2016 is the latest available.

Farmers in those 12 states – including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Nebraska – grow most of the country’s soybean and corn crops. Glyphosate is now the primary way farmers manage weeds that would otherwise reduce the amount of grain they can produce. The Midwest accounts for 65 percent of the nation’s use of glyphosate for crops, according to the Center’s analysis.

Source: Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, Controversial pesticide use sees dramatic increase across the Midwest.

Jerri-Lynn here. I encourage readers to click on the complete version of the map I’ve reproduced above, which includes a cool slider function that allows you to see just how the use of glyphosate has changed over time. I was not able to figure out how to import that chart and retain that function, so please click on this Glyphosate use in the US map link instead.

Monsanto first introduced glyphosate in 1974. Bayer in August 2018 acquired Monsanto, including its Roundup legal liabilities.

The Midwest Center article discusses how since the introduction of genetically modified cotton, corn, and soybean seeds that could withstand the weed killer, its use has skyrocketed – despite its environmental and health consequences:

“I think it did become too much of a good thing. I think growers locked on to the simplicity, and the effectiveness of using glyphosate as your primary, or in many cases your only means of weed control,” [Sarah Ward, associate professor of plant genetics at Colorado State University] said.

When the patent for glyphosate expired in 2000, it opened the door for generic production, and usage increased even more.

By 2007, the University of Nebraska’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources noted at least 40 generic glyphosate-based herbicides, including offerings by DowDupont (now Corteva Agriscience) and Syngenta.

Ramiro Ferrando. Source: U.S. Geological Survey

Source: Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting,  Controversial pesticide use sees dramatic increase across the Midwest.

The use of glyphosate is growing, and the US market is expected to reach $10 billion by 2021, according to the Midwest Center:

In 2017, Monsanto reported net sales of $3.7 billion in its agricultural productivity division, which includes glyphosate, up $213 million from 2016, according to its annual report.

Market researchers predict the glyphosate market to grow to $8.5 billion to $10 billion annually by 2021 up from $5 billion now.

“The increase in agricultural productivity reflects increased volume of Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicides globally,” Monsanto said in the report.

Market researchers predict sales of glyphosate will be between $8.5 billion and $10 billion by 2021.

I note that the Midwest Centre’s relies on the latest numbers available in its reporting. The US Geological Survey numbers run only until 2016, and the mentions Monsanto’s 2017 increase in sales in the relevant division to suggest that glyphosate sales have remained strong.

With more recent numbers unavailable, there is at least possibility that the widespread reporting of these jury verdicts might be causing some formers to reconsider their practices (see this NPR report, Safe Or Scary? The Shifting Reputation Of Glyphosate, AKA Roundup). At the moment, however, we must await further numbers to see if the litigation has led to any fall off in sales.

Status of Lawsuits

Meanwhile, Bayer has not been faring well in court. Earlier this month, Bayer lost its third Roundup lawsuit since it acquired Monsanto in August 2018  – against no wins – resulting in a $2 billion damage award in Pillod v. Monsanto, as reported by Successful Farming in BAYER LOSES THIRD GLYPHOSATE LAWSUIT; PLAINTIFFS AWARDED MORE THAN $2 BILLION IN DAMAGES. In the first case, the jury awarded $289 million in damages, and in the second, $80 million.)

Now, the first thing I should say here is that $2 billion punitive damages award will be reduced. Over the last two plus decades, the United States Supreme Court has held that there are constitutional limits on punitive damages – and that generally, they should be limited to a single digit multiplier of compensatory damages (see The Roundup lawsuits: what is going on? and State Farm Mut. Automobile Ins. Co. v. Campbell (2003), which I note was a 6-3 ruling, including Justice Stephen Breyer). I note that the punitive damages awarded in the other two actions may be reduced as well; see The Roundup lawsuits link for an extended discussion.

Bayer shows no sign of backing away from its position that glyphosate is safe – and does not cause cancer – and released the following statement just after the Pillod verdict, according to Successful Farming. I include it in full for interested readers  – and have highlighted key sections for those who prefer to focus on the highlights:

“Bayer is disappointed with the jury’s decision and will appeal the verdict in this case, which conflicts directly with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s interim registration review decision released just last month, the consensus among leading health regulators worldwide that glyphosate-based products can be used safely and that glyphosate is not carcinogenic, and the 40 years of extensive scientific research on which their favorable conclusions are based.

“We have great sympathy for Mr. and Mrs. Pilliod, but the evidence in this case was clear that both have long histories of illnesses known to be substantial risk factors for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), most NHL has no known cause, and there is not reliable scientific evidence to conclude that glyphosate-based herbicides were the ‘but for’ cause of their illnesses as the jury was required to find in this case.

“The contrast between today’s verdict and EPA’s conclusion that there are ‘no risks to public health from the current registered uses of glyphosate’ could not be more stark. EPA’s conclusion is based on a database of more than 800 studies on glyphosate and Bayer’s glyphosate-based herbicides that relate to human and mammalian health, and its 2017 cancer risk assessment also examined numerous studies in the open literature. In contrast, plaintiffs in this case presented the jury with cherry-picked findings from a tiny fraction of the volume of studies available, and that failed to adjust for exposure to other pesticides, did not have statistically significant results, had very small exposed populations and/or are at odds with the full body of science. Plaintiffs also relied heavily on IARC’s assessment of glyphosate from 2015. But as EPA noted, EPA’s cancer assessment was ‘more robust’ and ‘more transparent’ than IARC’s review, which considered only a subset of published studies included in EPA’s evaluation. IARC’s opinion remains an outlier among international health regulators and scientific bodies.

“The verdict in this trial has no impact on future cases and trials, as each one has its own factual and legal circumstances. Also, this litigation will take some time before it concludes as no case has been subject to appellate review where key legal rulings in the trials will be assessed. The company will continue to evaluate and refine its legal strategies as it moves through the next phase of this litigation, which will be marked by a greater focus on post-trial motions and appellate review and trials scheduled in different venues.

“Glyphosate-based Roundup products have been used safely and successfully for over four decades worldwide and are a valuable tool to help farmers deliver crops to markets and practice sustainable farming by reducing soil tillage, soil erosion and carbon emissions. Regulatory authorities around the world consider glyphosate-based herbicides safe when used as directed. There is an extensive body of research on glyphosate and Bayer’s glyphosate-based herbicides, including more than 800 rigorous studies submitted to EPA, European and other regulators in connection with the registration process, that confirms that these products are safe when used as directed. In addition, the largest and most recent epidemiologic study – the 2018 independent National Cancer Institute-supported long-term study that followed over 50,000 pesticide applicators for more than 20 years and was published after the IARC monograph – found no association between glyphosate-based herbicides and cancer. Additionally, EPA’s 2017 post-IARC cancer risk assessment examined more than 100 studies the agency considered relevant and concluded that glyphosate is ‘not likely to be carcinogenic to humans,’ its most favorable rating, while the agency’s April 2019 interim registration review decision on glyphosate also reaffirmed that ‘there are no risks to public health when glyphosate is used in accordance with its current label and that glyphosate is not a carcinogen.’ ” [Jerri-Lynn here: emphasis added]

Translated into plain English: the company is relying on the business-friendly US courts – especially federal appellate courts and the United States Supreme Court – to reverse these verdicts. Not just slice the damages awards. Reverse the verdicts and declare, game over.

How will this be achieved?

Reuters reports that the company is betting on a ‘silver bullet’ defense to upend these three  (and any subsequent) pro-plaintiff jury verdicts, as reported in Bayer bets on ‘silver bullet’ defense in Roundup litigation; experts see hurdles:

Bayer AG plans to argue that a $2 billion jury award and thousands of U.S. lawsuits claiming its glyphosate-based weed killer Roundup causes cancer should be tossed because a U.S. regulatory agency [e.g., the Environmental Protection Agency EPA)] said the herbicide is not a public health risk.

On April 30, the EPA reiterated its previous position that glyphosate isn’t carcinogenic.  The product liability claims are decided based on state law – whether or not the case is tried in federal court. As Reuters reports:

Under the legal doctrine of preemption, state law claims are barred if they conflict with federal law.

“We have very strong arguments that the claims here are preempted … and the recent EPA registration decision is an important aspect of that defense,” William Hoffman, one of Bayer’s lawyers, said during a call with reporters on Wednesday. Hoffman said the argument applied to all U.S. Roundup lawsuits.

Preemption is generally regarded as a “silver bullet defense” because it stops claims across the board, said Adam Zimmerman, a law professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.

But Zimmerman and three other legal experts agreed that Bayer faces a big hurdle convincing appeals courts that the EPA determination on glyphosate shields it from state law claims.

They cited a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the EPA’s approval of a product does not necessarily bar state law claims. The ruling, Bates v Dow Agrosciences, gives broad leeway to juries to decide if such claims should proceed, they said.

Judges in the three Roundup cases that have gone to trial against Monsanto all rejected the company’s preemption argument, citing this ruling.

“In light of the Bates decision, it’s going to be an uphill battle for the company to win on preemption on appeal,” Zimmerman said.

Supremes Step In and to Sing Bayer’s Tune?

The outlook for Bayer improves significantly, however, if the United States Supreme Court elects to hear the case. The Court only grants certiorari to 70 or so cases a year, but there’s probably a majority of the current Justices that would vote to consider this case. The only question here is not if but when.

According to Reuters:

Lars Noah, a law professor at the University of Florida, said Bayer’s chances of success would increase significantly if the Supreme Court takes up the Roundup appeals.

Since 2005, the high court has decided at least three preemption cases in favor of companies, none of which involved the EPA.

Bayer in a statement on Thursday said it does not believe the 2005 Bates ruling posed a barrier for the appellate courts due to other Supreme Court rulings since then.

Noah agreed that the Court has more recently signaled its appetite to limit lawsuits that contradict opinions by experts at regulatory agencies.

“The Bates decision by now sticks out like a sore thumb,” Noah said. “Bayer has more than enough ammunition in recent Supreme Court cases to show the trial court judges got it wrong.”

The Bottom Line

So, here’s where we stand. Farmers continue to increase their use of glyphosate – a trend that shows no sign of abating. The EPA has doubled down and said this herbicide is not a carcinogen.

Bayer has lost three significant jury verdicts – including a $2 billion punitive damages verdict – and more than 13,000 cases remain pending. The company shows no sign of abandoning its aggressive litigation position and instead appears to be betting that appellate courts – and eventually, the United States Supreme Court – will find legal grounds to overturn previous pro-plaintiff decisions.

Will this strategy succeeded? Too soon to tell, and I’m really not sure.

But I will say: I wouldn’t take the other side of Bayer’s bet.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Wombat

    When will Bayer’s commenting army descend on this article with the typical faire – “I am a [lifelong scientist, phd, engineer] and these attacks on Glyphosate would not pass an [unreasonable-99.7%] scientific standard of evidence”?

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Good question! They did turn out to comment on the last post I wrote on glyphosate, so I’ll not be surprised to see them show up for this one as well.

      1. Wombat

        Thanks for your work. Thanks to you I stopped buying products like Cheerios that use Glyphosate to dry out crops before harvesting…. and how they market Cheerios as a baby’s early food. Ugh.

        1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

          Thanks for your kind comment. It pleases me when something I write inspires someone to change behavior – I confess that I’ve yet to alter what I do to try and avoid glyphosate residue. I’m still stuck at trying to eliminate as much plastic as possible from my life.

            1. polecat

              Buy organically labeled grains and grain products wherever possible … and avoid, like the plague, using anything else ‘Bayer’ produces.

              1. clarky90

                I have not eaten not any grains or beans for many years. I follow a Paleolithic, Ketogenic, ancestral way of eating. (meat and vegetables).

                We must all fear for the health of our vegan brothers and sisters. Unless they can afford to buy, or can grow themselves, organic beans and grains, (Round-Up free food), they are in a real quandary.

                “The Impossible Burger contains:

                Water, Soy Protein Concentrate, Coconut Oil, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavors, 2% or less of: Potato Protein, Methylcellulose, Yeast Extract, Cultured Dextrose, Food Starch Modified, Soy Leghemoglobin, Salt, Soy Protein Isolate, Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E), Zinc Gluconate, Thiamine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Sodium Ascorbate (Vitamin C), Niacin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12.”

                “The Beyond Burger contains:

                Water, Pea Protein Isolate, Expeller-Pressed Canola Oil, Refined Coconut Oil, Contains 2% or less of the following: Cellulose from Bamboo, Methylcellulose, Potato Starch, Natural Flavor, Maltodextrin, Yeast Extract, Salt, Sunflower Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, Dried Yeast, Gum Arabic, Citrus Extract (to protect quality), Ascorbic Acid (to maintain color), Beet Juice Extract (for color), Acetic Acid, Succinic Acid, Modified Food Starch, Annatto (for color).”


                1. Henry

                  I hate to suggest that maybe a little more research on meat is in order. With 41% of the U.S land used to feed livestock and the vast majority of roundup being used in this endeavor, do you really think meat is any better? There are scientist who believe it may be worse:

                  What society in its right mind would spray millions of pounds of poison each year on its food? We should fear for the health of all of us. We are not separate from nature, life is not linear, whatever we throw out there will cycle back to us. We don’t contain the atoms we were born with. The ones we now contain we got from the environment and those will likely all be replaced with recycled atoms from the environment before we die. I think we will find that it will be roundup’s negative impact on the critical symbiotic relationship with organisms and their gut microflora that is the most disruptive. Not just humans and there livestock, but all the other organism in nature that are being exposed to it.

                  1. drumlin woodchuckles

                    The glyphosate destruction of gut microbiomes is one of the reasons why cancer is the least of glyphosate’s problems.

                    About avoiding meat to avoid glyphosate, that is true for corporate confinement livestock fed on corporate GMO sh*tfeed.
                    That is false for pasture-and-range-fed no GMO shinola-meat livestock. Every dollar spent on no-GMO shinola-meat is a dollar spent on supporting the no-GMO grower.

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                Only “almost”. Certified Organic annual seeds/beans/grains from trustworthy countries are not desiccant-sprayed and will not contain any added glyphosate.

                Perennial tree/shrub crops are not desiccant sprayed because desiccant-spraying the trees/shrubs would kill them. There are no Roundup Ready pecan/walnut/chestnut/hazelnut trees or bushes. There are no Roundup Ready apple/pear/peach/plum/etc. trees. Eating as much perennial tree/shrub/bush crops as possible is a good way to avoid glyphosate residue.

          1. john BOUGEAREL

            Glysophate supplants glycine in the body, disrupts the shikamate pathway, crushes the mucosal lining of the small intestine and more. See Dr Stephanine Seneff youtubes for more info, and to begin to consider mitigation.

      2. Svante

        Anobody remember, as Correct The Record trolls took over the lefty blog aggregators in 2016, how they’d frequently forget to change back to their old Energy In Depth, Genetic Literacy… and other K Street Social Networking Advocacy Solutions identities? Now Mother Jones has been cut & pasting “Genetic Literacy’s” cherry-picked, strawman, red herrings that RussiaRussiaRussia is behind our ridiculous fear…

        Shut UP and eat your thallium flavored pink slime!

      3. Cal2

        Monsanto had, and Bayer probably still has, a troll farm defending their products and attacking any pesticide doubters, or the promoters of organic food, which disallows the use of these products.

        Whenever one sees an attack on the “Organic food tax for stupid people”,or
        “We’ve used these products for years…”,
        “The world would starve without GMOs”,
        you are probably reading something coming out of Missouri, Monsanto’s headquarters.

        The nuclear power industry has the same:
        “Carbon free power”,
        “Thorium deserves a chance!”
        “help reverse global warming with nuclear”…

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          it’s even worse than that…among farmers(and “farmers”), there’s a culture of acceptance of the “latest thing”…often encouraged by everyone from the county extension agent to the fella at the feed store to the various establishment apparatii(farm bureau).
          I’ve been hammering away at this for 24 years out here…and have had a lot of success, as far as hearts and minds go.
          but the poisons still sell well.
          so i focus more on the persistent herbicides…at the very least, 2-4-D and roundup degrade quite readily, and don’t contaminate the mulch and compost for long.
          I also talk about drift a lot…especially with my rancher neighbor. while he still chuckles at me and my “strange ideas”, I’ve managed to penetrate his oh so hard head,lol
          the thing that non-ag folks forget is that in order for this stuff to become obsolete, the entire endeavor must change.
          one cannot grow 100 acres of corn “efficiently” without all the modern poisons and equipment(and the whole embeddedness in the System that comes with them).
          it’s a radical ask, from the point of view of the average farmer person i have known.
          for instance…what’s the alternative in that 100 acres of corn to herbicide?
          the answer is a bunch of people with hoes…and unless we’re gonna allow slavery, those folks will hafta be paid.(just about all the alternatives to Big Ag are labor intensive)
          the farmer’s margin is already stupidly low.
          the economics just don’t work, as currently configured.
          so you’d have to change the entire pricing and distribution and all the rest…ie: a fundamental restart of the last 100+ years of agriculture.
          I gave up on even a small patch of corn long ago…earworms are just too terrible in these parts.
          and the nutritive content doesn’t justify the work involved in applying bt to every ear in the patch.
          and we grow far too much corn in this country any way(which is why they keep coming up with new ways to inflict their hypersurplus on us all(HFCS, ethanol, etc))
          want to hurt monsatan, dowpont, etc…stop buying so much corn, soy and rapeseed products(a heavy lift all by itself, as per the labels).
          for carbs, we’ve experimented with great success with mesquite beans…gluten free flour, with diabetic-friendly complex sugars and protein…although a thorny task to harvest.these grow readily from here all the way down into mexico, and need no human intervention to produce a giant crop every year.
          so far, just a little hand mill…but it indicates that there are alternatives.
          i’ve also played around with wheat and oats and rye for winter cover crops in my beds(and buckwheat and millet for summer)…growing enough to feed us in this fashion, without machines and poison would be a hard row…but folks did it before, albeit with a lot more labor, and a higher incidence of crop failure.

        2. Svante Arrhenius

          That’s the truly terrifying thing: multinational conglomerates can poison tens-of-millions of us, as oblivious Guinea pigs on silly schemes to hook or indenture whole sectors of the economy on potentially lethal products. The media ignores it, the government just writes new laws to prosecute whistleblowers, silence victims & doctors, hide incriminating evidence. Lead, asbestos, tobacco… It’s invariably YOU, the deluded communist vs science, sanity and society. Until millions are sick. Then, it’s YOU the anti-American nudnik criminal.

          By the time the dangers are apparent to everybody, the toxin’s in our livers, blood lipids, brains… so nobody wants to hear about it!

      4. drumlin woodchuckles

        A good thing about comment threads is that the guerilla comment commandos will turn out to reply to every Bayer Commenting Army soldier who comments. So various aspects of the issue will be aired out for all to see who wish to look.

        And some of those guerilla comment commandos will remind the thread yet again that cancer is the LEAST of glyphosate’s problems.

        1. Svante

          Well, now it’s the huge liberal blogs promulgating Rick Berman’s old Hill+Knowlton ancient tobacco trope: It’s all them durned Rooskis stirring up silly hippys a’gin ‘Murkin Freedom like Fracking people’s farms, poisoning their aquifers, wells, air from 10,000’ deep wells, from some schoolyard, reservoir or cemetery, miles away. Wiping out soil microorganisms, soil tilth, cover crops, pollinators, open pollinated or hybrid seeds, native to local conditions…wiping out all competition & indenturing us back to serfdom? USA, USA, USA!

  2. Carolinian

    In other news FDA declares cigarettes don’t cause cancer after all. Supreme court to approve.

    Perhaps it just shows that “lawfare” is a two edged sword. During a different era people like Ralph Nader used the law to protect the environment, cripple corporate power. A few decades later with a different cast of legal personnel and the law becomes a weapon for the forces of reaction and the promotion of corporate power. Perhaps the real way to deal with problems like glyphosate is to turn to Congress, the maker of the laws. For that the left will have to rebuild popular democracy, not depend on legal deus ex machina. Sooner or later populism will have to revive and the lefties rub elbows with the dreaded deplorables.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      And in the meantime, before the “no glypho” community is able to conquer the government and rebuild popular democracy; individual members of the “no glypho” community can search out and buy, and pay for, and eat . . . foods which are grown without glyphosate. And some foods are still grown without glyphosate. Even some corn is still grown without glyphosate.

  3. voislav

    The issue for Bayer will be that while EPA has approved glyphosate use, other regulatory agencies do not. Most of Europe has already restricted its use and is looking to phase it out completely it in the next few years, mostly by 2021. Canada has restricted its use and will likely be moving to ban it outright.

    So the argument that EPA hasn’t banned it, therefore it’s not harmful, is less convincing given actions of other regulatory agencies and while Bayer chances in the Supreme Court are better than in lower courts, they are still not that good.

    1. shtove

      I’ve only skimmed this issue, but isn’t it similar to Roe v Wade – Fed authority trumping State authority?

      1. jsn

        I think that would be the case if the Supreme Court accepted the case. If they pass on it, Beyer is toast. But we have the best government money can buy and the Supremes are no where near above this, some are, but many are obviously bought.

        My money is Beyer winning if the Court accepts the case, that’s the only reason they’d take it.

        Physical resistance is now, I think, all that can stop the amoral predators who’ve occupied our government. Not necessarily violent resistance, but the threat of violence must be roundly felt in the temples of power.

  4. Matthew G. Saroff

    A note on the use of Glyophosphate:

    It is widely used on wheat, just before harvest, as before it kills the wheat, the plants push the seeds (grain) to maturity, meaning that all the wheat in the field is ready at teh same time.

    A number of people have suggested that this may becausing the explosion in wheat/gluten sensitivity.

    See here for full article.

    Money quote:

    “Celiac disease, and, more generally, gluten intolerance, is a growing problem worldwide, but especially in North America and Europe, where an estimated 5% of the population now suffers from it,” researchers wrote in a meta-analysis of nearly 300 studies.

    “Here, we propose that glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide, Roundup®, is the most important causal factor in this epidemic,” they add.:

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      And not just wheat. Oats too. I don’t know how many other small grains and dry beans are also glypho-dessicant kill burned-down for ease of one-pass harvest. If anyone here knows, this might be a good thread to offer that information on all the crops which are glyphosate pre-harvest dessicated

  5. Svante

    We used to put on heavy ass butyl gloves, respirators, etc. to descale long buried pipe with glyphosate to do UT of the welds. Now, it’s in our CBD, ale, oat bran, corn, potatoes… basically, anything they need to harvest dry? I’m really curious. Show of hands. How many, here, have switched to organic ales? Oats? Wheat? Sorghu? Teff? How many are swiching to purportedly organic meat & fowl, following the various EWG lists of what’s all killed back, dessicated, whatever (GE or not), and wondering just WHAT now constitutes “organic” hops (fumigants, anti-fungals), barley (Glyphosate, etc… ) or hemp oils folks heat and inhale?

    1. Cal2

      Our family has been organic only for at least a quarter century. We used to patronize “health food stores” that were the precursors to organic, starting in the 1960s.

      The other side of the family eats conventional and junk food only. All obese, unhealthy, two had legs chopped off after diabetes. So much for genes causing disease.

      Here’s what a group of dedicated activists can achieve:

      As one of the first organic certification agencies, CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers) has strong roots in the history of the organic movement. Although our beginnings were humble, CCOF was instrumental in advocating for federal organic legislation; our organic certification standards were used as a foundation for the USDA National Organic Program, finally making “certified organic” a federally regulated claim. After more than 30 years of fighting for organic integrity, we continue to certify, educate, advocate, and promote organic.

      “1973-1978 – Sowing Seeds: The Formation of CCOF
      1979-1989 – Cultivating California: State-Level Organic Standards
      1990-2001 – Branching Out: Forming Federal Organic Standards
      2002-2009 – Fruits of Our Labor: The Final Rule on Organic
      2010+ – Growing Organic Integrity: The Age of Enforcement

      CCOF was founded with 54 grower members for the purpose of defining organic standards and certifying organic growers. All CCOF operations were run out of founder Barney Bricmont’s Santa Cruz, California, home; his dining room was the office, with the dining table acting as a desk.”

      1. Svante

        Watching food co-ops, CSA, buying clubs and farmer markets replaced by Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Aldi’s, Kroger’s/ VitaCost… not to mention WalMart etc. has led to nagging suspicion, Lancaster County (packaged) organic eggs, from where? Avacados, guava, banannas from Hudson Valley smallholder farms? Lifelong organic farmers sued for GE rapeseed or alfalfa. Yuppies shop for food as they select political candidates? They buy whatever’s packaged nicely, SEO’d them on their iPhone, ready to serve and is easiest to digest?

        1. False Solace

          I always shake my head when I walk through the Farmer’s Market here in MN and see bunches of bananas with a Dole sticker on them.

          1. Svante

            Think of all the time & effort it must’ve taken to hybridize or genetically splice the Dole Sticker gene out in the snow; singing like Bellefonte? I didn’t actually vote for Dole, but his utterly bullshit healthcare plan might’ve saved me some money, two decades later under the Democrats. If I’d just been able to lie better?

            Watching NYC folks, at the Farmers Market is a revelation. You CAN now grow red sweet potatoes, small water mellons pretty well thanks to Baby Jesus’ mighty miracle methane molecules® but NOT in April! Many of these folks grew up with U235 flavored dairy, after Chernobyl or selling yogurt, tahini, olives, goat, dates, sumac and fava bean farms abandoned by fleeing or deceased organic farmers.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          The lifelong organic farmers who have been sued for GE rapeseed or alfalfa were not using GE rapeseed or alfalfa. Their own self-selected clean-genes rapeseed or alfalfa was contaminated deliberately and on purpose by Monsanto and the GMO Racketeers. Monsanto’s strategy was/is to create tens of thousands of point-source emitters of bio-active franken-gene fallout with intent to spread it onto the pollinatable flowers of the organic rapeseed and alfalfa crops in question.

          Monsanto’s long-standing strategy was to infect the organic seed with detectable traces of GMO gene-pollution and then send Monsanto agents sneaking into farm fields near their point-source emitters and look for traces of GMO DNA in the crop samples surreptitiously taken. If any trace of GMO DNA was found, Monsanto would accuse the victim-farmer of unauthorised bootleg-use of Monsanto’s patented DNA property. Monsanto would then use the threat of bankrupting lawsuit to shake down the victim farmer for multi-thousand dollar settlement payments.

          Since the Organic Processing Industry itself has set the Rainbow Unicorn SkyPony standard of “absolute zero GMO DNA” as the required standard for any organic inputs the Organic Processors buy, I wonder if Monsanto now has false-flag “whistle blowers” in the countryside sneaking into organic fields and taking samples and “helpfully reporting” any traces of GMO contamination to the Organic Buyer-Processor who is buying the organic inputs in question. If so, and if the Organic Buyer-Processor sues the organic grower for having one GMO DNA helix for every million normal DNA helixes, then Monsanto is cleverly using the Organic Industry’s own Unicorn SkyPony standards against the Organic Industry.

          1. Svante

            Thank YOU! Some of us have been waiting to see SMG repeatedly change hands, so it’s purported >30% Δ-9-THC, patent GE cannabis can be used to miraculously be discovered in sinsemilla everywhere from Central America to Hudson Bay. I’d been wondering if the yellow vest’s diesel protests had more to do with GE canola in Brazil, than with Liberté, égalité, fraternité?

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              What is “SMG”? And is there now a Roundup Ready cannabis that we have to worry about? That would sure be a boost to the Certified Organic artisan growers of clean-genes gourmet boutique cannabis. The Chemo-Corporate Racketeers are growing handfuls of new nemeses with every handful of cancer-juice dragon’s teeth they sow.

              I suspect the Yellow Vest protests have more to do with the Yellow Vesters’ anxiety over their own future mere bare brute survival than over any ideological concern with Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.

              1. Svante

                Scotts Miracle-Gro was being targeted by Monsanto and Bayer, as they started scary GE cannabis experimentation, I personally do not even want to hear about. Somebody’s doubtless already patented scores of novel strains that will assure kinder and gentler golden years for our 10% betters, while invigorating our road gang, convict labor? We’d all joked about GMO dope, two generations before it became possible. That, nobody would EVER legalize a weed you could grow yourself?

      2. Tangled up in Texas

        We need a new independent organic standard that is respected like the California standard was.

        With big AG joining the organic movement, the organic standard has been so bastardized that I rarely trust that I’m actually getting clean food even when labeled “organic”. When Cali produce labeled organic is being watered with fracking waste water, it becomes impossible to trust the current federal standard.

        1. MisterOG

          There are multiple efforts underway to establish just such a system as an “add-on label” on top of certified organic. Two examples are The Real Organic Project ( and Regenerative Organic ( The former is a largely farmer-driven effort, the latter has support from both established organic companies (Patagonia, Dr Bronners) and The Rodale Institute.

          Add on labels are not of course a panacea and there are legitimate concerns about add-ons in principle, decently summarized in this article;

          Rigorous enforcement of the extant regulations and letter of the Organic Food Production Act would address many of the issues these add-on labels are attempting to address, in particular either respect to the role and make-up of the National Organic Standards Board and the implementation of the “continuous improvement” objective which has largely been discarded in practice, mostly to the benefit of the Industrial Ag/Big Food companies that have rapidly come to dominate the organic sector.

          1. Svante

            Yeah, can you update on the fracking and other conventional gas/oil drilling return “produced water” used to irrigate or inadvertently used to irrigate organic crops or crops used as meat, dairy, poultry feed for livestock? What are the rates of sampling? How are hops fumogated there, now. How are heavy metal levels monitored with greens like kale? How are air pollinated crops checked for GE strains? I love Monterrey Market, but REALLY do not know?



        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          I believe the Federal Organic Act ( or whatever that Act is called) outlaws the existence of independent private voluntary standards which use the word “organic” anywhere in their name or work.

          The only way to restore the legal permission to recreate the free private ethical organic standards-setters you wish to see . . . would be the total , utter and absolute repeal of the Federal Organic Act and the explicit refusal to put ANYTHING in its place at the legal Federal level. That is the only way I can think of to force the situation back to the pre-Federalized status quo ante. It would require a totally-hard crash-out “Orgexit”.

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        Was CCOF one of the groups who sought Federal takeover of Organic Regulation? CCOF did not realize that it was cutting its own throat.

        Charles Walters of Acres USA spent years in his paper warning the Organic Community that the Federal Government was the Evil Enemy and that inviting the Federal Government to regulate Organic Agriculture was like inviting Adolphh Hitlerr to conduct a Jewish wedding. What did the Organic community THINK was going to happen?

        But they didn’t listen. They begged the Federal Fox to enter the Organic Hen House and so now we are where we are.

  6. grayslady

    If I were an attorney fighting Monsanto at the S.C. level, I would use the example of Sterigenics in Willowbrook, Illinois to show that the EPA has a history of dragging its feet on reassessing the dangers of certain chemicals. The village of Willowbrook finally hired an independent lab that used the same testing equipment as the EPA to show that levels of ethylene oxide were much higher than the EPA was reporting. Additionally, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, reported that studies showed ethylene oxide was toxic at much lower levels than the EPA used as benchmarks. These cases can be won, but they require money and a Nader-like effort to expose wrongdoing.

  7. William Hunter Duncan

    When I worked at a Home Depot Garden Center back in 2013 my manager told me Round-up was safe to drink, in front of a few customers. I laughed at him and challenged him to prove it. He wouldn’t of course, and the customers bought the stuff anyway.

    He was the sort of guy to call Obama and the media liberal. He didn’t say much when I told him that Obama and the media clearly love bankers and war as much as conservatives do.

    I remember in the break room I listened to a dozen associates (averaging $9/hr) complain about welfare moms. I stopped the room when I said the Federal Reserve is handing out $85 Billion dollars a month of made up funny money to the big banks and their executives. Not one even commented. But at least they stopped blaming welfare moms for America’s problems, at least until I left the room.

    Clearly Roundup rots holes in human brains and makes people servile and mean spirited.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      No . . . something else did that starting decades before the onset of Roundup.

    2. Svante

      Zoroaster and Mithra begat Catholicism and Judaism. Confucius confused Lao Tzu’s Tao, with not fussing nearly enough… Lazy folks fell asleep and revered herbs fermented into alcohol. How’s bout we burn us up sum witches, fellers? Now, that they can replace hops and sinsemilla with genetically modified fungi & bacilli, it’s only a matter of time before massa can harsh your buzz AND dock your “pay” from an app on their their iPhone?

  8. juliania

    Even before Bayer acquired Monsanto it was a major producer of extremely strong ‘medications’ for plants. As the first surge of bark beetle infestations were getting underway, customers at the greenhouse where I worked were carting off Bayer produced chemicals to saturate their diseased pines. Which were under stress mainly due to prolonged drought. Which was…

    And on and on it goes. Caveat emptor.

  9. shinola

    Hmm… FWIW there are now TV ad’s in my area (Kansas City) placed by law firms soliciting clients for class action against the makers of glyphospate/Roundup. The ad’s specifically mention Non Hodgkins Lymphoma.

    Not sure what this portends.

  10. Ignacio

    The EFSA found in 2015 that glyphosphate is carcinogenic but estimated that human exposure was below the limit for carcinogenicity and passed a 5 year permit for Roundup. This letter to Nature shows that Monsanto was already aware of Roundup carcinogenicity. The letter states that the asessment EFSA used to estimate human exposure was faulty (from internal Monsanto communications). When EFSA was asked to publish their reports they refused until a court recently ruled they have to. EFSA’s chief response: “transparency musn’t be an objective”.

    An increasing number of scientific papers (typically under Elseviers pay wall) are demonstrating various environmental effects of massive Roundup utilisation that range from microbiota alterations, soil and water contamination and effects on plants and animals. To say the least, the papers I have seen in 5 minutes search grant the need for a comprehensive risk assesment.

    1. Isotope_C14

      Yeah, I’m 100% sure that microbiota alterations are caused by glyphosate, and if not that, one of the many “inert” ingredients, like 1,4-Dioxane. (Takes some chutzpah to call a dioxane inert, yay Monsanto-Bayer!)

      OprM is a multi-drug efflux pump, that is found out in the microbiome. If you (a bacteria) have this, and there is *any* down-side to bacterial exposure to glyphosate, this gene will become dominant over time.

      The presence of the gene, will confer an evolutionary benefit, since you can pump out the glyphosate, and as a side-bonus you become immune to those pesky antibiotics used to treat infections.

      A bit technical, probably too much so for the casual reader here:

      This OprM-MexAB pump can even pump out oils and terpenes from the cells. Quite interesting stuff, for microbiologists.

  11. Bernalkid

    Sorry don’t have a set of links, but got interested in the crop dessication use a while back, and as far as I could tell it was an off label use of glyphosate. As this practice was taking off, during the Obama years I am pretty sure the permitted amount in food was raised. Anyway, using the stuff off label shouldn’t be allowed, but that horse long left the barn and markets.

    1. Bernalkid

      Article that notes raising threshold 2015. Thank you 0bama:

      The accepted regulatory stance is that glyphosate is relatively benign; indeed, in 2015 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency increased threshold levels in both oats and wheat; in the case of oats, the allowable threshold for final processed grain was raised from 0.1 parts per million (ppm) to 30 ppm.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Professor Emeritus of Plant Pathology Don Huber of Purdue University talked precisely about the regulators raising the permitted level of glyphosate residue in various foods as the glyphosate levels went above the prior permitted limits.

      It is somewhere in at least one of Prof. Huber’s many videos, which can be found by search-engining the phrase You Tube Don Huber videos.

  12. oaf

    …that map suggests any residues will end up in drainage areas of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers…and thence; to the Gulf…It is often claimed that it breaks down; but how much actually makes it into the Oceans; directly source of much of Earth’s food chain??? It’s just a coincidence that so many cetaceans are in distress? If this stuff kills *weeds* on the Earth’s surface; what about in the water.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Any of it that enters the soil stays in the soil. It binds to metal ions and won’t leach out. Mass-scale soil erosion could move it along with the soil it was bound to.

      Glyphosate breaks down? My amateur lay understanding is that if it chelates with any positive metal ion, that glypho-chelate does not break down. And if un-io-chelated glyphosate breaks down, it breaks down into daughter chemicals more persistent and dangerous than glyphosate itself is.

  13. marku52

    How much of the increased usage is due to increased weed resistance to it? I have heard anecdotes of super weeds that laugh at glyphosate…

    And then there was the compost sold by the U of F ag department that killed anything planted in it. The cow poop that they were composting came from cows fed GMO glyphostate resistant corn.


  14. Kris Alman

    An alum of University of Illinois and having spent my formative years in a rural town of 5000 (and the county seat of Iroquois County, the largest county in IL by area), I am not surprised by how much glyphosate is used there. In early 2018, Monsanto opened an “Innovation Center” at the Urbana-Champaign campus.

    Center will apply interdisciplinary approach to build solutions, source innovation

    When fully staffed, the Monsanto Innovation Center will employ more than two dozen students who will enhance and augment a robust agricultural innovation portfolio with additional enabling capabilities like IT, data science and engineering. Students will focus on cutting-edge, real-world, social, scientific challenges in areas like advanced analytics, operations research, phenomics, genomics, plant science and precision breeding technologies. The center will employ students who are studying disciplines such as electrical engineering, UX design, mechanical engineering, software engineering and imaging sensor science.

    Needless to say, their data science won’t focus on Roundup’s safety–or lack thereof.

  15. mauisurfer

    Andrew Coburn’s article in Harpers in 2015 reviews Gore’s role, key statement below is missing footnote 2 in online article.

    While Monsanto played God during the 1990s, the Clinton Administration had its back — a policy consistent with its corporate-friendly approach to environmental issues. When, for example, the French balked at allowing GMO corn into their country, the president, the secretary of state, the national-security adviser, and assorted U.S. senators pleaded Monsanto’s cause. (The French finally caved when Gore himself phoned the prime minister to lobby on the corporation’s behalf.)2 In addition, Washington’s revolving door whirled many Clinton Administration officials onto the Monsanto payroll, while the president’s committee of science and technology advisers included Virginia Weldon, the corporation’s senior vice president for public policy.

    as for HIllary, Monsanto was client of Rose law firm in Arkansas when Hillary was partner there
    she has never stopped being their advocate

    Yet despite all of these problems, the US State Department has been essentially acting as a de facto global-marketing arm of the ag-biotech industry, complete with figures as high-ranking as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton mouthing industry talking points as if they were gospel, a new Food & Water Watch analysis of internal documents finds.

  16. drumlin woodchuckles

    It is still possible to get no-Roundup corn here and there in odd little corners of the market.
    Certified Organic corn should be no-Roundup by legal definition. ( So one would hope, at least if it did not come from China).

    There must still be farmers using no-GMO corn seed. Otherwise , why would these no-GMO corn seed dealers still be in bussiness?

    Shumway is one. I offer the link. All the entries say “no Image available”. Don’t be alarmed. I got the REAL catalog, which is the ink on paper pages catalog, and it has more images. Here is the link.

    De Dell seeds is another.

    Blue River Seed Company is another.

    Here is another.**LP%20-%20NonTM%20-%20Bing-%20HS%20-%20Seeds%20-%20Organic&utm_term=%2BNon%20%2BGMO%20%2BCorn%20%2BSeeds&utm_content=Non%20GMO%20Corn%20Seeds

    here is another.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      That last link I offer just above is to more than just a catalog. It is to an article about the seed company and people behind this particular company. It is so very worth reading that I will offer the link all over again. And I will copy-paste a few-couple little teaser-paragraphs from the article to raise the enticement-level for clicking the link and reading the article.

      Here is the link.

      And here are those couple little teaser-graphs.

      “The demand for Prairie Hybrids non-GMO seed is strong. Sales increased 20 percent this year.

      “I’m impressed with how many farmers are waking up and going back to non-GMO,” Gilbert said. “They are realizing that a $200 bag of (non-GMO) seed yields just as much or more than a $350 bag of (GM) seed.

      Looking ahead, Hostetler wants to expand by building a processing facility to handle food-grade non-GMO corn.”

      and . . .

      “Reports better animal health with non-GMO feed

      Gilbert said farmers are seeing other benefits of growing non-GMO beyond the economics.

      “Many times dairy farmers have called me to say they are seeing health problems from GMO feed and that these improve with non-GMO feed,” he says. “That happens over and over.”

      Gilbert has compiled statements from dairy, livestock, and hog farmers documenting the health improvements after switching to non-GMO feed.

      “I have too much evidence from too many farmers who say the same things about animal conception and digestive problems and sickness from GM feed,” Gilbert says.

      Based on his experience and research, Gilbert is convinced GM foods are unhealthy for people also.

      “GMOs are weakening the immune systems of children, which in turn is increasing diseases in children. The protein in the GM corn plant is killing the biology in our digestive tract,” he says.

      Gilbert sees non-GMO as the future.

      “When Similac (baby formula) went non-GMO, that gave me a good indication of where this is going,” he says.”

  17. VietnamVet

    The exponential increase in the use of Glyphosate despite herbicide resistance and related health and environmental issues is the direct result of end stage capitalism as are mile long railroad trains with one systems manager on board or the unsafe to takeoff 737 Max(s). Corporations have decided to hell with public safety and public health; take the money and run. Western nation states are broken and incompetent. The Forever Wars continue unabated.

    There are still remnants of the civil judicial system surviving from when the USA was a democracy. The higher up these cases go and more of the judges are part of the bought credentialed class, the more likely the awards against Bayer will be reversed. At some point jury nullification peters out.

    Each day comes with a new shock (today it is imposing a 5% tariff on goods from Mexico). Democrats ignore the shaking house of cards while ensuring Donald Trump’s re-election by trying to impeach him which will never happen. Instead the DNC blames Russia. All of Washington DC’s moneyed class ignore their destruction of the rule of law. In the end, the dismantling of science-based government decisions will be their downfall. An economic recession, food and gasoline shortages, the refugee crisis, plagues, and devastating flooding and storms are baked in.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      If the New Deal Restoration wing of the Democratic Party could exterminate the Catfood Wing of the Democratic Party . . . and purge and burn and expel every single Catfood supporter and Catfood voter the phuqq out of the Party . . . and make it a pure New Deal Restoration Party . . . . then a reconquered and reclaimed Democratic Party could run on the twin concepts of Bring Back the New Deal and Restore Our Missing Democracy.

      ” Catfood keep on moving. This is a New Deal party.”
      ” God help you Catfood if you let the sun set on you here.”

  18. RBHoughton

    A few years ago it was reported that the corn borer had evolved to tolerate GM corn and farmers had reverted to additional aerial spraying. Maintaining single crop production is a constant battle. I expect the academies are busily researching new insecticides. Isn’t there another way?

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      If there are any Certified Organic growers of corn, they would have to be doing it without cancer-juice type chemicals. If there are any such people, they can tell us how they are doing it.

      Farmer Gabe Brown in North Dakota claims to be growing his corn without pesticides. And it is no-GMO corn. If that is true, the question arises: how is Farmer Brown doing it?

  19. gustav

    GMO skepticism used to be a Tier I conspiracy theory. Nice to see the progressives catch on 20 years later.

  20. Bob

    Is it possible to correlate incidents of Non Hodkins Limphoma with Round up use ?

    Perhaps a map comparing use with reported cancer ?

    1. Ignacio

      A handy map on NH Lymphoma rates
      just to compare with Round up map. Some geographic correlation migth be apparent but nothing conclusive. Besides, NHL is a complex disease with many subtypes and correlation should be analysed with all them separately.

      But you see, there is an instance that looks suspicious. Amongst the Risk Factors for Aggressive B-Cell NHL, it has been identified “living in a farm” (see table 1 in the article linked). Also, “employed in a Field crop and vegetable farmer (females)”

  21. john BOUGEAREL.


    The “EPA conclusion based on 800 studies of Glyphosate” must almost certainly be fatally flawed.

    Moreover, the
    cherry-picked findings from a tiny fraction of the volume of studies available” is exactly the findings that we [the plaintiffs] are looking for, not because they are cherry-picked, but because they are independent studies that are not fatally flawed from “volume of studies available” funded by industry.

    In addition robust assertions such as the “full body of science” is a f*cking crock of sh*t. The full body of science they are referencing once again almost certainly has to be 100% industry funded bullsh*t science.

    The IARC’s opinion will always remain an “outlier” among int’l regulators and scientific bodies if those regulators and bodies are mostly funded by the industries they shield.

    Anecdotally, check out Dr Henry Lai’ damning indictment of the majority of the studies published in the NEJM over the past several decades: ” a lot of the studies that are done right now are purely PR tools for the industry. It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.” {2009]

    So, what pray tell, do you think “volume of studies available” are referencing? I will give you one f*cking guess: “junk science.”

  22. drumlin woodchuckles

    I would suggest a phrase for 100% industry funded bullsh*t science.

    Corporate junk science. Its a turnabout of the corporate bussiness accusation of “junk science” against any science which threatened a profit stream.

    Corporate junk science. Versus non-profit sound science.

Comments are closed.