May 21, 2012
Back in the old days before food and agricultural corporations consolidated into the behemoths we know them as today, agricultural institutions of higher learning were dedicated to conducting unbiased research into cutting-edge food production and crop systems that benefited society as a whole. But today, these former “land-grant” universities have largely mutated into pro-industry, propaganda machines funded and controlled by corporate agro-giants like Monsanto that steer research efforts in favor of genetically-modified (GMOs) and chemical-based crop systems.
In a scathing indictment of this sinister, and rapidly growing, form of agricultural fascism, Tom Philpott from Mother Jones dissects a recent Food & Water Watch (FWW) report in which it is openly disclosed that corporate agriculture and the pharmaceutical industry have basically bought out agricultural research education as we know it. Colleges and universities that once received the bulk of their research funding from the federal government now receive it from Monsanto, DuPont, and others, and their research efforts reflect this.
Colleges that began as cultivators of ‘open-source’ agriculture are now incubators of patented, corporate agriculture
Institutions of higher learning such as theUniversity of Illinoisat Urbana-Champaign (UofI) for instance, orIowa State University(ISU) were originally founded as land-grant colleges, which means the federal government helped fund their building on federal land for the purpose of researching and teaching agriculture, science, and engineering for public benefit. But today, many of these land-grant colleges have essentially been taken over by private interests with little concern for anything other than their own profits.
“The idea of the land grants was to generate agricultural research, funded by the federal government, that benefited society as a whole. And that’s pretty much how things went for the first century,” writes Philpott. “But then, starting in the 1980s, the federal government started to level off its investment in ag research […] That’s when food and agribusiness companies, which were then in the process of consolidating into the vast global enterprises we know today, began to funnel huge amounts of cash into land grants.”
But even the U.S.Department of Agriculture(USDA), which used to more closely represent the interests of the people, has become nothing more than a tool for promoting industry interests rather than public interests. So whether the funding comes from the USDA or directly from private industry, it is essentially all now going towards the promotion of GMOs and chemical-crop systems — little, if any, is used to develop improvements in non-GMO, organic, and sustainable agriculture systems.
Mother Jonescommenter Linda Ferris said it best when she wrote, “The ‘sell out’ by colleges and universities is no surprise for readers who have lived in communities around any one of the systems mentioned in the article […] This (agricultural schools) is Monsanto’s new incubator of technology and propaganda — a factory of making money on the cheap by controlling these institutions and using their students to do their research and work.”
Be sure to read the entireMother Jonespiece for a more comprehensive understanding of how private corporations are brainwashing the next generation of farmers into embracing corporate agricultural systems:
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This article was posted: Monday, May 21, 2012 at 2:59 am