The story begins with an Iowa farmer whose soybean fields, "where he used seeds developed by Monsanto, and sprayed with its popular glycophosphate weed killer Roundup Ready <(sic), were littered with yellow leaves and dead plants. Four days earlier, the plants had been waist high and emerald green." "Nearby, in fields where he had planted seeds that weren't genetically engineered and didn't use glycophosphates, the soybeans were healthy and lush."
The article goes on to opine that SDS and its supposed cause, a fungus called fusarium solani f.sp. glycine, have been around since the 1970s, but that "last year, after a chilly spring and wet summer, soybean sudden death syndrome raced across the midwest." - and, strongly suggested by the article, singled out those plants produced from Monsanto's seeds. An expert on the disease at Iowa State University, Xiao Bing Yang, "estimated last summer that up to half the state's fields might be infected in varying degrees."
In January, Don M. Huber, an emeritus professor at Purdue University wrote a letter to Tom Vilsack, head of the USDA, asking the Department of Agriculture to investigate. and stating that the threat should be treated as an emergency. As of this last Friday, the Department's reply was that Huber's letter was "forwarded to the correspondence office." The article goes on to state that Huber's letter, which surfaced on the internet in February, starting a "firestorm" of controversy, "has intensified the battle between those who believe technology is the only way to feed a balooning global population, and those who are increasingly fearful that biotechnology is resulting in food that is nutritionally lacking and environmentally dangerous." The article goes on to detail a battle between Monsanto and the biotech "industry" on one side, and scientists, on the other, whose reputations and funding (increasingly sponsored by the industry itself as public funding has dried up in the current economic climate) are threatened by intimidation through industry ridicule, ostracism and loss of funds if they publish research articles which are - to put it euphemistially - "unflattering" to the industry.
In my op-ed piece, "Another view...", last week, I asserted that Monsanto's products were creating a "monoculture" of crops in the U.S. that could subject this nation to famine conditions if one or two diseases appeared that would attack Monsanto produced plants. It appears that this article could be describing the beginning of a pandemic of selective vulnerability that could wipe out those crops and potentially our future food supply. Could the crop failure among soy beans of the past two years be figuratively the first "canary in the coalmine" with regard to the vulnerabilities of biotechnically produced seeds. Read the article for yourself. You decide.