Monsanto: A Corporate Profile

You know who Monsanto is. Even if you don’t recognize the company name, you’ve come across some of its products: maybe you’ve used Roundup weed killer on your grass or garden, you’ve heard about the debate over treating cows with the artificial growth hormone rBGH, you’re worried about genetically modified organisms in your food, or you’ve learned about the U.S. military’s use of the toxic herbicide Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. These may not seem related, but they all are a major part of Monsanto’s legacy.


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Monsanto is a global agricultural biotechnology company that specializes in genetically modified (GM) seeds and herbicides, most notably Roundup herbicide and GM Roundup Ready seed. GM seeds have been altered with inserted genetic material to exhibit traits that repel pests or withstand the application of herbicides. In 2009, in the United States alone, nearly all (93 percent) of soybeans and four-fifths (80 percent) of corn were grown with seeds containing Monsanto-patented genetics. The company’s power and influence affects not only the global agricultural industry, but also political campaigns, regulatory processes and the structure of agriculture systems all over the world.