The referenced article is primarily about a unanimous decision by the U.S. Supreme Court upholding Monsanto’s patent rights. Here is the final paragraph of the article that has Bette Midler so upset:
The report noted that three big companies now control more than half of the global seed market — a position that has sent prices soaring. The report said the average cost of planting an acre of soybeans had risen 325% between 1995 and 2011.
Yes, prices of soybean seeds have soared as genetically-modified seeds, which are more expensive than traditional seeds, have come to dominate the market.
Guess what? No farmer was forced to buy the newer, genetically-modified seeds. According to the New York Times, the farmers chose to do so because they think the new seeds are better than the old ones:
Many farmers have been willing to pay a premium price because the genetically engineered seeds that make up most of the market come with advantages. Genetic modifications for both corn and soybeans make the crops resistant to herbicides, simplifying weed control and saving labor, fuel and machinery costs. Many genetically engineered corn and cotton seeds also resist insect pests, which cuts down on chemical spraying.
That’s right. Farmers have been buying the new, more expensive seeds in order to reduce the amount they spend on weed control and chemical spraying. The horror!
In any case, the price of soybeans themselves (as opposed to the price of soybean seeds) has increased only 7.25 percent during the last 5 years.
That’s lower than the rate of inflation in the economy as a whole.
How, exactly, is any of this “deadly”? Who exactly has died as a result of rising soybean seed prices?
Or is Midler’s point that genetically-modified soybeans themselves are deadly? If so, where is the evidence for that and what does it have to do with the last paragraph of the article she cited?
Well, it’s Bette Midler. It isn’t supposed to make sense.