The Clinton Wall Street global corporate neo-liberals have been that GREEN REVOLUTION TECHNOLOGY becoming MONSANTO back in 1990s and neo-liberals have been the global technology/global food of KISSINGER'S controlling the food. Bush/Cheney Wall Street global corporate neo-conservatives have always been global energy/global military and security. Merging together a few years ago we see ONE WORLD ENERGY/FOOD/MERCENARY MILITARY in one multi-national corporation. CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA and Congressional, state assembly, and city/county pols have worked to push all the policies leading to these repressive environmental and food policies. That is who we allow to win elections every cycle and this is who Wall Street Baltimore Development and a very, very, very, very neo-conservative Johns Hopkins works in MOVING FORWARD. Hopkins is Bush/Cheney in all that is military/security/global data technology.
When WE THE PEOPLE see this international structure we can better see where policies like Trans Pacific Trade Pact and International Economic Zone policies lead. Since Clinton trade agreements have forced overseas national to allow BIG AG MONSANTO take each nation's agriculture and subject it to this US BIG AG debacle we have today in collapsing food security.
KILLING OUR NATURAL SOIL SYMBIOSIS BY LIVING ANIMALS AND OUR FOOD PLANTS EVOLVING OVER MILLIONS OF YEARS---THAT'S OK, WE ARE GOING TO SELL BILLIONS OF SOIL NANOBOTS TO TAKE THE PLACE OF THIS NATURAL CYCLE BUT YOU ARE GOING TO PAY A BIG PRICE TO GROW FOOD THIS WAY!
If one sees the merging of two global corporations tied to military and food----then seeing all the posts this week centered on militarized weather, super-sized energy that will take all water and hasten global warming, farming techniques killing fertile soil around the world, global BIG AG pushing deregulation of airways around the world with global military drone industry thanking them. Bringing food scarcity and famine while militarizing food protection.
By MBD June 29, 2013
Yes, Monsanto Actually DID Buy the BLACKWATER Mercenary Group!
A report by Jeremy Scahill in The Nation revealed that the largest mercenary army in the world, Blackwater (later called Xe Services and more recently “Academi“) clandestine intelligence services was sold to the multinational Monsanto. Blackwater was renamed in 2009 after becoming famous in the world with numerous reports of abuses in Iraq, including massacres of civilians. It remains the largest private contractor of the U.S. Department of State “security services,” that practices state terrorism by giving the government the opportunity to deny it.
?Many military and former CIA officers work for Blackwater or related companies created to divert attention from their bad reputation and make more profit selling their nefarious services-ranging from information and intelligence to infiltration, political lobbying and paramilitary training – for other governments, banks and multinational corporations. According to Scahill, business with multinationals, like Monsanto, Chevron, and financial giants such as Barclays and Deutsche Bank, are channeled through two companies owned by Erik Prince, owner of Blackwater: Total Intelligence Solutions and Terrorism Research Center. These officers and directors share Blackwater.
One of them, Cofer Black, known for his brutality as one of the directors of the CIA, was the one who made contact with Monsanto in 2008 as director of Total Intelligence, entering into the contract with the company to spy on and infiltrate organizations of animal rights activists, anti-GM and other dirty activities of the biotech giant.
Contacted by Scahill, the Monsanto executive Kevin Wilson declined to comment, but later confirmed to The Nation that they had hired Total Intelligence in 2008 and 2009, according to Monsanto only to keep track of “public disclosure” of its opponents. He also said that Total Intelligence was a “totally separate entity from Blackwater.”
However, Scahill has copies of emails from Cofer Black after the meeting with Wilson for Monsanto, where he explains to other former CIA agents, using their Blackwater e-mails, that the discussion with Wilson was that Total Intelligence had become “Monsanto’s intelligence arm,” spying on activists and other actions, including “our people to legally integrate these groups.” Total Intelligence Monsanto paid $ 127,000 in 2008 and $ 105,000 in 2009.
No wonder that a company engaged in the “science of death” as Monsanto, which has been dedicated from the outset to produce toxic poisons spilling from Agent Orange to PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), pesticides, hormones and genetically modified seeds, is associated with another company of thugs.
Almost simultaneously with the publication of this article in The Nation, the Via Campesina reported the purchase of 500,000 shares of Monsanto, for more than $23 million by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which with this action completed the outing of the mask of “philanthropy.” Another association that is not surprising.
It is a marriage between the two most brutal monopolies in the history of industrialism: Bill Gates controls more than 90 percent of the market share of proprietary computing and Monsanto about 90 percent of the global transgenic seed market and most global commercial seed. There does not exist in any other industrial sector monopolies so vast, whose very existence is a negation of the vaunted principle of “market competition” of capitalism. Both Gates and Monsanto are very aggressive in defending their ill-gotten monopolies.
Although Bill Gates might try to say that the Foundation is not linked to his business, all it proves is the opposite: most of their donations end up favoring the commercial investments of the tycoon, not really “donating” anything, but instead of paying taxes to the state coffers, he invests his profits in where it is favorable to him economically, including propaganda from their supposed good intentions. On the contrary, their “donations” finance projects as destructive as geoengineering or replacement of natural community medicines for high-tech patented medicines in the poorest areas of the world. What a coincidence, former Secretary of Health Julio Frenk and Ernesto Zedillo are advisers of the Foundation.
Like Monsanto, Gates is also engaged in trying to destroy rural farming worldwide, mainly through the “Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa” (AGRA). It works as a Trojan horse to deprive poor African farmers of their traditional seeds, replacing them with the seeds of their companies first, finally by genetically modified (GM). To this end, the Foundation hired Robert Horsch in 2006, the director of Monsanto. Now Gates, airing major profits, went straight to the source.
Blackwater, Monsanto and Gates are three sides of the same figure: the war machine on the planet and most people who inhabit it, are peasants, indigenous communities, people who want to share information and knowledge or any other who does not want to be in the aegis of profit and the destructiveness of capitalism.
So why were so many media outlets, editorialists and bloggers clamoring to say that the purchase was a “hoax”?
That’s a good question. The more cynical among us might suspect a financial incentive from Monsanto itself to such “journalists.” Monsanto indeed has hired a public relations team to seek out critical blogs and websites reporting on their crimes against both Nature and humankind. We have seen this first hand in comments on PoliticalBlindSpot.com articles on Monsanto. It is not beyond the realm of possibilities that they have created blogs where seemingly legitimate authors write organic thoughts, observations and rebuttals. The public presumes these are real-world people, when in fact they are working PR for the company.
But the core argument of those who claim that the Monsanto purchase of Blackwater is not true lies in the fact that we can only officially document Blackwater being hired by Monsanto for years. Immediately following this extensive work that Blackwater did for Monsanto, they sold the company. Because of the nature of how the sale transpired, it is impossible to document who the sale was to. The obvious and logical conclusion to insiders (particularly in the private security industry), however, is that the sale was in fact to Monsanto who had been employing the group.
Xe (now Academi) has, indeed, been purchased, and while there’s no way of DOCUMENTING who the new owners really are, the logical conclusion would be that Monsanto, who had been employing them prior to the sale are the new owners. This, of course, would also make sense of the secrecy surrounding the deal and the identity of the new owners. The company was bought out by private investors via private equity companies that don’t have to divulge any of their dealings, with Bank of America providing much of the $200 million in financing for the deal.
New York-based USTC Holdings said it will acquire Xe and its core operating subsidiaries, but did not disclose the price or terms of the agreement in a statement.
USTC Holdings is an investor consortium led by private equity firms Forte Capital Advisors and Manhattan Partners.
Various researchers have been trying to document the buy via a paper trail, but so far without much luck. That, of course, is the point…
Keeping it private
One thing that is known: Forte Capital Advisors is the baby of long-time Blackwater ally Jason De Yonker:
DeYonker has unique experience with the Company that dates back to its founding in the late 1990s. He advised the Company through development of its early business plan and expansion of the Moyock training facility as well as supporting negotiations of its first training contracts with U.S. government agencies. Between 1998 and 2002, Mr. DeYonker co-managed Xe founder, Erik Prince’s family office which included management of Mr. Prince’s portfolio companies.
What does that mean? The guy is a glorified accountant.
Prior to joining Forté, Jason co-managed a +$100 million family office. In addition to actively managing various platform companies, Jason was a part of the executive team responsible for family wealth management.
Jason has spent the last 18 years advising on various mergers, acquistions and divestitures with an aggregate transaction value greater than $1 billion. Jason’s experience include: transaction advisory, portfolio management, real estate development, venture capital and cross border dealings. Jason began his career with Arthur Andersen Corporate Finance Group, and was a Director in Deloitte & Touche’s Corporate Finance Group. He also was the Finance Director for the West Family Trust, a venture capital group focused on cross-border transactons.
Jason recieved a Bachelor of Business Administration, with a concentration in finance and accounting, from the Univeristy of Michigan.
The other investor? It looks like the very junior partner will be Manhattan Partners, a private equity company – a shop that gathers money from anonymous rich investors and uses the pool of cash to leverage buyouts of big companies they wouldn’t have been able to take over on their own.
Manhattan Partners invests in “compelling growth and special situation transactions,” but this will be their first known foray into defense industries – WarIsBusiness.com reports (via Spencer Ackerman):
Manhattan Growth Partners is led by Dean Bosacki and Patrick McBride. Bosacki serves on the board of “the world’s largest commencement photography business,” among other companies. Manhattan Growth Partners, which describes itself as “a progressive thinking private equity firm,” also holds a majority interest in Hugo Naturals, a line of organic, vegan-friendly soaps, lotions, scents and soy candles sold at Whole Foods and other greenwashed retailers.
At the end of the day, it would seem the logical conclusion is that in spite of arguments to the contrary, Monsanto in fact did by the Blackwater mercenary group… or at least the renamed Blackwater Xe (now Academi) Services group. The big question now is why?
Yesterday we had two articles we want to bring forward today. One had a southern farmer commenting upon the policy stance of reducing the use of fertilizer and his comment was ----'we don't want to reduce fertilizer use, we want to increase it'. Here are my questions:
This man is from Georgia known for the same drought and water insecurity facing those western states. Is this man from a family of farmers for generations or is he a recent grad from a STEM agriculture farming program? A farmer of many generations understands natural soil symbiosis and how it feeds and protects food plants. That farmer may have used fertilizer to augment feeding---but he/she would have understood heavy dosing of fertilizer and dosing the soil every year for decades WOULD KILL THAT NATURAL CYCLE....the earthworms, grubs, bacteria would not survive all that chemical dosing. When a farmer first starts dosing with fertilizer he/she sees good results in crop maximization because there is a tag team---natural soil feeding plus surface fertilizer. That is the data we have collected from 1980s---1990s saying these GREEN REVOLUTION policies were working. After that decade or two we loss team NATURAL FEEDING----and fertilizer is on its own so crop maximization falls and farmers feel they need more and more fertilizer to get same maximized results. The more and more fertilizer the more and more water irrigation which is why all our aquifers around the nation are drying----including this Georgia farmer commenting MORE FERTILIZING. Maryland is coming to this point soon as ERHLICH/O'MALLEY/HOGAN all installed BIG AG and all that fertilizing.
The more you fertilize, the more irrigation must be done, the drying of ground and aquifer water causes drought and dead soil.
El Nino AND La Nina play SOME part in these droughts----draining all water and killing soil does most of the damage.
North Georgia drought, and summer heat, likely to intensify
By Lee Shearerupdated Friday, June 24, 2016 - 7:45pm
AthFest patrons should dress for hot weather but be ready for rain this weekend — according to forecasters at the National Weather Service’s Peachtree City station, Athens temperatures could be near 98 on Saturday and 91 on Sunday, with some chance of showers or thunderstorms — a 20 percent chance Saturday, 30 percent Saturday night through Sunday.
But in the longer term, the hot dry conditions Athens has seen the past few weeks are likely to intensify, according to forecasters.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, much of the Southeast, including all of north Georgia, is in either severe or moderate drought in an expanding area centered about where the borders of Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia meet.
Some areas in the state, including parts of nearby Oglethorpe County, are also now classified as in “extreme” wildfire danger, according to the Georgia Forestry Commission.
There’s a good chance drought could intensify next week, but some hope July and August could bring some rain, according to University of Georgia climatologist Pam Knox.
From last week to this, the area of the Southeast in some stage of drought actually decreased a little, but the area in “severe” drought grew larger.
The area now in severe drought includes several counties just north of Athens, including Madison, Banks, Jackson, Barrow, Elbert and Hart counties, as well as a sliver of northeastern Clarke County.
“With the high pressure center parked over us and excessive heat and little rain forecast for this weekend, the drought is likely to expand further in next week’s Drought Monitor,” Knox wrote. “The soil moisture map below shows that northern Georgia and Alabama and western North Carolina are extremely dry, and point to possible expansion of the drought into middle Georgia south of Atlanta. Many areas in Georgia and Alabama have had less than 50 percent of their normal rainfall for the last 60 days.”
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, there’s a high chance Clarke County — almost the whole nation really — will feel above-normal temperatures through the summer.
But according to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, there’s a somewhat better chance we could get more rain. For Georgia and most of the country, their long-term forecast is less certain — equal chances that Athens and Georgia could see above-average or below-average rainfall.
Some rain “gives us a higher chance of precipitation, so that may alleviate some of the worst drought over the next few weeks,” Knox wrote.
“In summer it’s really hard to predict rainfall,” Knox said in a Friday interview.
During the winter, rain and snow comes out of fronts and organized weather systems. But in summer, rainfall comes from pop-up thunderstorms or tropical storms sweeping up from the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean.
Drought in the Southeast has actually been growing stronger for weeks if not months.
The second question for this Georgia farmer wanting more use of fertilizer, not less was----is he a recent GREEN AG TECHNOLOGY grad? Know whose farms are taken by BIG AG over a few decades? Those farmers with generations of connection with the soil. Know who the graduates with agriculture technology degrees work for? GLOBAL BIG AG. There are not too many regional farms able to afford all these technology equipment and if they do invest---they will be caught in this coming economic crash and long recession. I bet that Georgia farmer touting more use of fertilizer came through K-career college AG trained with STEM surrounding GREEN REVOLUTION TECHNOLOGY. Our children today are all being taught NANOBOTS as ground soil control never learning about natural soil life cycles. Where does all that nanobot technology stem? Batteries and computers with massive data centers with all that toxic waste and UNSUSTAINABLE ENERGY USE.
AND IT'S ALL TO CREATE MORE MARKETS----
'Earthworms can absorb fullerenes, which then may find their way into the food chain and pose a potential danger to larger animals and humans'.
'The Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of nutrient pollution in the Chesapeake Bay under the Clean Water Act in 2010, Mr. Buffett said, should also be “a wake-up call that the E.P.A. is coming soon” and if farmers do not address fertilizer runoff, the government will do it for them.
It is ridiculous to MOVE FORWARD with these policies written by Wall Street and global BIG AG for profits while all data shows it a failure. Yet, all Federal funding for agriculture and GREEN TECHNOLOGY is researching soil nanobots, all kinds of designer measurement tools when we simply need to break down GLOBAL BIG AG and return to small farming.
What If the World’s Soil Runs Out?
A broken food system is destroying the soil and fuelling health crises as well as conflicts, warns Professor John Crawford of the University of Sydney.
By World Economic Forum Dec. 14, 2012
It’s a strange notion, but some experts fear the world, at its current pace of consumption, is running out of useable topsoil. The World Economic Forum, in collaboration with TIME, talked to University of Sydney professor John Crawford on the seismic implications soil erosion and degradation may have in the decades to come.
Is soil really in danger of running out?
A rough calculation of current rates of soil degradation suggests we have about 60 years of topsoil left. Some 40% of soil used for agriculture around the world is classed as either degraded or seriously degraded – the latter means that 70% of the topsoil, the layer allowing plants to grow, is gone. Because of various farming methods that strip the soil of carbon and make it less robust as well as weaker in nutrients, soil is being lost at between 10 and 40 times the rate at which it can be naturally replenished. Even the well-maintained farming land in Europe, which may look idyllic, is being lost at unsustainable rates.
Why haven’t we heard more about this?
Probably because soil isn’t sexy. People don’t always think about how it’s connected with so many other things: health, the environment, security, climate, water. For example, agriculture accounts for 70% of our fresh water use: we pour most of our water straight onto the ground. If soil is not fit for purpose, that water will be wasted, because it washes right through degraded soil and past the root system. Given the enormous potential for conflict over water in the next 20-30 years, you don’t want to exacerbate things by continuing to damage the soil, which is exactly what’s happening now.
How does soil erosion happen?
Soil is a living material: if you hold a handful of soil, there will be more microorganisms in there than the number of people who have ever lived on the planet. These microbes recycle organic material, which underpins the cycle of life on earth, and also engineer the soil on a tiny level to make it more resilient and better at holding onto water. Microbes need carbon for food, but carbon is being lost from the soil in a number of ways. Simply put, we take too much from the soil and don’t put enough back. Whereas the classic approach would have been to leave stubble in the field after harvest, this is now often being burnt off, which can make it easier to grow the next crop, or it’s being removed and used for animal feed. Second, carbon is lost by too much disturbance of the soil by over-ploughing and by the misuse of certain fertilizers. And the third problem is overgrazing. If there are too many animals, they eat all the plant growth, and one of the most important ways of getting carbon into the soil is through photosynthesis.
What happens if this isn’t addressed?
There are two key issues.
One is the loss of soil productivity. Under a business as usual scenario, degraded soil will mean that we will produce 30% less food over the next 20-50 years. This is against a background of projected demand requiring us to grow 50% more food, as the population grows and wealthier people in countries like China and India eat more meat, which takes more land to produce weight-for-weight than, say, rice.
Second, water will reach a crisis point. This issue is already causing conflicts in India, China, Pakistan and the Middle East and before climate change and food security really hit, the next wars are likely to be fought over unsustainable irrigation. Even moderately degraded soil will hold less than half of the water than healthy soil in the same location. If you’re irrigating a crop, you need water to stay in the soil close to the plant roots. However, a staggering paper was published recently indicating that nearly half of the sea level rise since 1960 is due to irrigation water flowing straight past the crops and washing out to sea.
Who will be impacted the most?
Soil erosion is most serious in China, Africa, India and parts of South America. If the food supply goes down, then obviously, the price goes up. The crisis points will hit the poorest countries hardest, in particular those which rely on imports: Egypt, for example, is almost entirely dependent on imports of wheat. The capacity of the planet to produce food is already causing conflict. A lot of people argue that food price hikes caused the Arab spring, and may even have contributed to the recent violence following the release of an anti-Islam film.
What about richer countries?
They will have to deal with more refugees fleeing from truly desperate situations. Then there’s the fact that this is happening at a time of economic difficulty in the West, with growing disparities across society and some people already having to resort to charity to feed themselves. The connection here with health is significant. Cheap food tends to be low in protein and high in carbohydrate, which is exactly the wrong balance for a healthy society. By reducing food to a mere commodity, we have created a system that is degrading the global capacity to continue to produce food, and is fuelling a global epidemic of diabetes and related chronic disease. Obesity in the US cost 150 billion dollars – 20% of the health budget – in 2008, the latest figures available, and this huge cost will rise as the broken food system takes its toll.
Why is the food system broken?
The big picture is that the amount of land per person has been shrinking over the last 100 years: we now have about a quarter of a hectare per person on the planet and we’re using half of the total land area on the globe for agriculture. If you think of that little quarter hectare, we’re asking more of it than ever before, largely because of population and the modern diet, which is totally inappropriate. Governments have not got this right. We’re subsidising unsustainable food production systems at the cost of our health and our environment. Soil is not costed into food, which means that farmers don’t have the financial capacity to invest in their soil to turn the situation around. Crop breeding is exacerbating this situation. Modern wheat varieties, for example, have half the micronutrients of older strains, and it’s pretty much the same for fruit and vegetables. The focus has been on breeding high-yield crops which can survive on degraded soil, so it’s hardly surprising that 60% of the world’s population is deficient in nutrients like iron. If it’s not in the soil, it’s not in our food.
What should be done about this?
Significant progress is technically quite straightforward. There’s a lot we can do, we just have to choose to do it and provide the right support where it is needed. First-off I’d focus on getting carbon back into the soil, by reversing bad farming practices like tillage, nutrient mismanagement, removing stubble and over-grazing. We can add manure and consider using human waste from cities as fertiliser, instead of just flushing it all out to sea.
In the longer term, breeding targets need to focus more on human nutrition as well as productivity, and on traits that improve the soil. We need to find new ways of bringing together scientists and farmers to harness the expertise of both. From a policy standpoint, probably the most important thing is to find pricing mechanisms that take into account the environmental, health and other costs of a broken system. Farmers need to be appropriately rewarded for regenerating the environment and producing food that supports a healthier society.
Finally we need to recognise that this is a global problem that would benefit from a global approach. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel in each country, and we don’t have time to do so. It takes decades to regenerate soil. I find it quite ironic that while the Mars Curiosity Rover is poking around looking for life in Martian soil, we’re in the process of extinguishing life in our own.
What has BIG AG gotten these several years of Obama and a Clinton/Bush Wall Street global corporate Congress? It got perpetual farm subsidy in the Farm Bill that will reimburse mid-west BIG AG throughout the coming dust-bowling of the mid-west just as global oil is subsidized each year. Global BIG AG earns hundreds of billions in profits because Congress passed laws super-sizing THE TIES OF FOOD TO WALL STREET. Now, just as BIG OIL simply tells Wall Street to use speculation to drive up oil prices to use WE THE PEOPLE as ATM machines---now they are going to have BIG AG doing the same.
BIG AG received billions of dollars in technology research funding to eliminate every job category in farming so while killing our soil animal/plant symbiosis it gets rid of those pesky animals underground and above----the robotics of harvest gets rid of those pesky living humans above ground----and militarized drones will keep the masses at bay as 5% global temperature rise from all these super-sized technologies NOT NEEDED----as fertile land becomes secluded to the rich ----feeding the 1% and their 2%.
WE CALL THESE POLICY PEOPLE--THE MAD HATTERS OF AGRICULTURE.
Below we see how population groups are rangled into pushing the worst of policy----if the goals are to downsize BIG AG----we don't need all this increasing deregulation of what was under FDR ---the most left-leaning, social Democratic food policy in US history bringing thriving small farms, green policy, and public health. FDR protected our land----he protected public health and food safety----he made sure the 99% were land owners able to grow their own food.
U.S. | Wed Feb 18, 2015 2:17pm EST
Farmers disappointed by restrictions in proposed drone rules
By Karl Plume and P.J. Huffstutter | CHICAGO U.S.
farmers hoping to use drones to locate lost livestock or monitor trouble spots in their fields were disappointed by what they say are overly restrictive commercial drone rules proposed Sunday by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Two of the long-awaited draft rules were singled out for particular criticism: a requirement that pilots remain in visual contact with their drones at all times and a height restriction that limits the crafts to flying no more than 500 feet above ground. These constraints, farmers and drone operators say, would limit a drone’s range – and consequently its usefulness.
Leading drone makers PrecisionHawk and Trimble Navigation Limited, farm data services firms, including ones run by Monsanto and FarmLogs, and even some federal lawmakers are saying the proposed rules could delay the development of drone-assisted agriculture in the United States if they are finalized as currently written.
The FAA said farmers can address the line-of-sight limitation by placing spotters to track a drone's pilot.
Idaho farmer Robert Blair, who in January received the FAA's first exemption for drone use on a commercial farm, said the new rules would require him to fly 10 separate drone missions to cover his 1,300 acres, since he would have to continuously shift locations in order to keep his drone within sight.
Under the proposed rules, Blair told Reuters: "There's no way we can cover the ground we need to cover" economically.
Even so, investors in precision farming say the new rules are friendlier to farmers than they are to Amazon.com Inc. The e-commerce giant, which plans to use drones for package delivery, has indicated it may launch its first drone deliveries in overseas markets rather than wait for broader approvals from the FAA.
"People are looking for where the opportunities are ... and agriculture is it," said Rob Leclerc, chief executive of AgFunder, an online platform for investors in agriculture technology.
DELAYS CAUSE TROUBLE
Many agricultural drones initially will be used to identify trouble spots in fields or snap high-definition images of crops for plant health analysis, jobs suited for the small drones (weighing no more than 55 pounds) allowed under the proposed rules. Drones also can be used to gather evidence for crop-insurance claims.
For some farmers, the new rules will give FAA validation to practices they already have deployed. Despite a current ban on most commercial drone uses, classes teaching farmers how to use the unmanned aircrafts have flourished at rural colleges, and a bevy of YouTube videos stands as evidence that some farmers already have begun piloting them.
Still, it could take two years before the new FAA rules, announced Sunday, take full effect. Such delays could strain cash-strapped startups, which could be out of business before the market booms, say industry analysts.
Even now, companies that have invested in drone technology are feeling strains.
"It's been difficult for us," said Jim Kirkland, general counsel and vice president of equipment maker Trimble Navigation Ltd, which received an FAA exemption from the ban on commercial drone use in December and has made a series of acquisitions aimed at beefing up its technology.
"We bought this business several years ago and we fly these elsewhere in the world," Kirkland said. "And certainly we haven't gotten the revenue out of it that we could if rules had been in place."
The delay also is giving opportunities for competing technologies, such as micro-satellites, to take root, said attorney Roger Royse, founder of the industry group Silicon Valley AgTech.
By the time comprehensive rules are in place, larger competitors likely will have absorbed upstarts and be positioned to dominate the market, some industry experts say.
Florida-based Pravia LLC received an FAA exemption this month to fly drones over 10 crop test sites in seven states operated by seed company Syngenta AG. And Monsanto's Climate Corp has applied for an FAA exemption to use drones commercially.
"We're certainly going to be testing different applications of the [unmanned aerial systems] tools," Climate Corp chief executive David Friedberg told Reuters.
With the regulatory outlook uncertain and no quick payoff in sight, outside investment in drone technology has been modest. Last year, 19 different drone or drone-related firms in the U.S. and abroad received a total of $88.5 million in funding from venture capitalists and other investors, according to AgFunder research. All identified agriculture as a key market.
PrecisionHawk announced a $10 million Series B round of fund-raising in November of 2014, which included investments from venture capital firm Millennium Technology Value Partners, Red Hat Inc. co-founder Robert “Bob” Young and Intel Capital, the venture capital arm of chipmaker Intel Corp .
To date, the drone maker has seen its farming business grow abroad, in Canada, Latin America and Asia, where regulation has been less restrictive. Now that the FAA has proposed its regulations, PrecisionHawk plans to increase its hiring in the U.S. this year, said spokeswoman Lia Reich.
The FAA has opened a 60-day public comment period, after which it may consider changes to the proposed rules. Final regulations might not be in place for two years.
"It's movement," Reich said. "Any movement is a positive thing."
For those not knowing Monsanto is behind Agent Orange and this is why it has been tied to the military. These deregulated airways designated for drones MAY INDEED by good for commerce. The problem is the gorilla in the room-----global private military drones in our US skies that will be deployed against sovereign citizens especially as food scarcity and famine hit and we KNOW it is coming. There will be not a single place the 99% of global citizens can go that will not have a drone----from hummingbird size to military aircraft. THESE ARE HUGE PRIVACY ISSUES FOR BOTH REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC VOTERS and we know once regulations open to commercial we will have no control ----no oversight and accountability of how this technology is used in our US skies. Remember my saying -----Monsanto's response about mass killing of pollinators with GM-pesticide seeds? Well, this is how absurd it is getting and all that Federal funding and research that could go to rebuilding our US agriculture from what is now a MESS-----to one that functions for 99% of US citizens---is simply making more and more computer data needing bigger data centers needing more and more cooling meaning energy consumptions super-sized.
Don't get rid of the pesticide----get rid of the honey bee.
Posted By: Matt Staggs Jun 12, 2014
Reverend Billy warns us of the RoboBee, beloved:
Let’s consider for a moment the honey bee and its anticipated replacement, the RoboBee. Let’s pay a visit to the frankenbee’s parents, Monsanto and DARPA.
The RoboBee is a mechanical bee in the design stage at the Microrobotics Lab, housed in a well-appointed building at Harvard University. The RoboBee project’s Intelligence Office declares that the robotic inventors are inspired by the bee. The RoboBee project’s website and press releases use the imagery of the golden bees that we remember from our love of the cuddly buzzy honey-maker.
But something is wrong with this enterprise. While the RoboBee’s press is nearly all positive, and open-faced students have posted euphoric YouTube reports of their robotic work, the whole thing looks quite different to the people of the beekeeping community, who can’t help but point out that the real life honey bees and bumble bees are plummeting toward extinction.
After one of our singing rituals at the laboratory, a public relations man named Paul followed us out proclaiming, “But we have nothing to do with colony collapse, and we’re sorry that the honey bee is dying…” And yet the RoboBee project’s top goal, as stated on their website, is to achieve mechanical pollination. So Monsanto, Bayer, Syngenta, et al – the Big Ag companies whose agricultural chemicals are driving the honey bees die-off, must be very interested in this honey bee drone. How couldn’t they be waiting in the wings? A robot bee would be invaluable as a pesticide-proof pollinator.
Monsanto Company is the dominant player in commercial genetically engineered (GE) crops, the biggest seed company in the world, and—to hear them tell it—a leader and innovator in sustainable agriculture.
Monsanto aggressively touts its technology as vital to achieving laudable goals such as ensuring adequate food production, responding to the challenge of global warming, and reducing agriculture's negative impacts on the environment.
The reality is not so flattering. In fact, Monsanto has held back the development of sustainable agriculture, and continues to do so, in several ways:
#1: Promoting Pesticide ResistanceMonsanto's RoundupReady and Bt technologies lead to resistant weeds and insects that can make farming harder and reduce sustainability.
#2: Increasing Herbicide Use Roundup resistance has led to greater use of herbicides, with troubling implications for biodiversity, sustainability, and human health.
#3: Spreading Gene ContaminationEngineered genes have a bad habit of turning up in non-GE crops. And when this happens, sustainable farmers—and their customers—pay a high price.
#4: Expanding MonocultureMonsanto's emphasis on limited varieties of a few commodity crops contributes to reduced biodiversity and, as a consequence, to increased pesticide use and fertilizer pollution.
#5: Marginalizing AlternativesMonsanto's single-minded emphasis on GE fixes for farming challenges may come at the expense of cheaper, more effective solutions.
#6: Lobbying and AdvertisingMonsanto outspends all other agribusinesses on efforts to persuade Congress and the public to maintain the industrial agriculture status quo.
#7: Suppressing ResearchBy creating obstacles to independent research on its products, Monsanto makes it harder for farmers and policy makers to make informed decisions that can lead to more sustainable agriculture.
#8: Falling Short on Feeding the WorldMonsanto contributes little to helping the world feed itself, and has failed to endorse science-backed solutions that don't give its products a central role.
Questions & Answers
Why are we singling out Monsanto?
It's true that Monsanto isn't the only company promoting products and practices that impede the progress of sustainable agriculture. But none of Monsanto's competitors come close to matching its impact on U.S. agriculture—or, thanks to its huge investment in lobbying and advertising, on farm policy.
What exactly do we mean by sustainable agriculture, anyway?
There are many definitions of sustainable agriculture out there, but most of them share some common threads. At a minimum, to be sustainable, an agricultural system must be:
- economically viable (farmers who use it must be able to maintain thriving businesses);
- ecologically sound (it must preserve the natural systems and resources it depends on, so that future generations can continue to use them);
- socially beneficial (it must meet the human needs of both the farm itself and the wider communities it serves).
It's true that Monsanto's impact on sustainability can't be painted in black and white. Some of the company's products have indeed produced some real benefits, though we would argue that these benefits have not, in most cases, come close to outweighing their costs. And when weighed against truly sustainable alternatives, Monsanto's solutions fall drastically short.
Several genetically engineered crops have been associated with desirable effects such as decreases in chemical insecticide use and increases in conservation tillage, which reduces soil erosion (especially no-till, a system that avoids plowing).
However, it's debatable how significant these benefits are, and how much credit Monsanto really deserves. In the case of no-till, most of the observed increase in the U.S. came before the introduction of Monsanto's GE crops, and it's unclear how much of the increase since then is a result of their adoption. This shows that no-till can generally be accomplished without GE crops.
The benefits of reduced insecticide use in Bt corn in the U.S. are largely offset by insecticide seed treatments—so the actual environmental impact of insecticide use may not have decreased at all, although health benefits may remain. And the increase in uncontrolled insect species on Bt cotton in China is leading to insecticide application levels approaching pre-Bt days.