Charles Benbrook: Time for a free-Pioneer movement?
If this deal unfolds as planned, Iowa farmers can look forward to even less choice when it comes time to order corn and soybean seed, higher seed prices, and a doubling-down on GMO technology that is working less and less well.
The near-term financial performance of the new company will be determined by how fast the next generation of corn and soybean seeds can be brought to market, seeds that are genetically engineered to resist multiple herbicides. The farm-sector financial squeeze will tighten, as another chunk of net farm income is passed on to the technology developers and input suppliers. There will be, after all, new profit targets and lots of new debt that needs servicing.
For Iowa’s environment and citizens, the decade long, steady increases will continue in the number and volume of chemicals and insect toxins needed to bring a crop to harvest. Ongoing public and private efforts to lighten row-crop agriculture’s environmental and public health footprint will struggle to slow the inevitable decline in biodiversity, and the health of Iowa’s soils and water resources will face new risks.