Monsanto quarterly net income jumps 15 percent

Monsanto Co reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on strong sales of corn seed for spring planting and improved margins, but its shares fell more than 4 percent as the global agribusiness failed to raise its outlook for the full year. Officials at the world's largest seed company said the results were strong and showed Monsanto was on track with a strategic plan focused on steady growth in key crops. "We feel good about where we stand," said Chairman Hugh Grant. "I believe we are getting done what we needed to achieve in 2011."

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Organic farmers sue, seek protection from Monsanto

A consortium of U.S. organic farmers and seed dealers filed suit against global seed giant Monsanto Co. on Tuesday, in a move to protect themselves from what they see as a growing threat in the company's arsenal of genetically modified crops. The Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) filed the suit on behalf of more than 50 organizations challenging the agricultural giant's patents on its genetically modified seeds. The group is seeking a ruling that would prohibit Monsanto from suing the farmers or dealers if their organic seed becomes contaminated with Monsanto's patented biotech seed germplasm.

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Syngenta sees U.S. corn seed share stabilizing

A month after receiving regulatory approval, Syngenta is starting to sign up U.S. farmers to grow its new biotech corn seed aimed at ethanol production, one small part in a larger push for the U.S. corn seed business by the Swiss agriculture company. Syngenta expects to enroll less than 20,000 acres in a contracted growing arrangement for the new corn seed this spring, a top company executive said Wednesday.

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Dow AgroSciences wins OK for Brazil GMO corn seed

Dow AgroSciences has won approval from Brazil regulators for a new corn seed containing five genes that protect plants from insects and weed-killing treatments, an executive told Reuters. The new genetically modified corn seed, Powercore, is part of a cross-licensing agreement with rival Monsanto Co. Dow, a unit of Dow Chemical, said the seed is designed to help farmers fight above-ground pests that have battered crop production.

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Companies join to boost crops in poor regions

Despite an intense rivalry over U.S. farm fields, global seed makers Monsanto and DuPont are joining with beverage companies, retailers and others in collaborative projects to boost food production in some of the world's poorest areas. The corporate consortium behind the "New Vision for Agriculture" project is starting its efforts in Tanzania and Vietnam and expects to begin a pilot in Indonesia later this year, according to Jerry Steiner, executive vice president of sustainability at Monsanto.

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DuPont eager to use Danisco’s science

DuPont's Craig Binetti is eager to start using Danish food additives maker Danisco's expertise to expand development of healthier foods, but shareholders and regulators are still in the way. "We have very complementary portfolios of businesses. This is all about food and nutrition science," Craig Binetti, head of the company's nutrition and biosciences unit, told the Reuters Global Food and Agriculture Summit.

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Roundup relied on “too long by itself”: Monsanto

In a nod to concerns about overuse of its popular Roundup herbicide, Monsanto Co said it would try to layer its popular "Roundup Ready" cropping system with a similar system based on a rival herbicide. "We've relied on it too long by itself," Monsanto executive vice president of sustainability Jerry Steiner said of the company's Roundup herbicide, in an interview on Monday at the Reuters Food & Agriculture Summit.

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Analysis: U.S. corn yield growth must quicken

For decades, U.S. farmers have helped feed the world by sowing some of the most versatile cropland, adjusting each year to grow a bit more of this and less of that, to replenish those crops in greatest shortage. This year, however, even with farmers planting nearly every acre of arable land, it won’t be enough to tame prices and replenish stocks. The price of almost every major crop is at or near record highs; competition -- between farmers and between crops -- has never been more intense; and Midwestern property values have surged.

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Gates Foundation works to boost food production

Amid global unrest over food security, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said Sunday it was forging a new effort to support agricultural research projects in Africa and Asia aimed at helping small farmers increase crop yields and farm incomes. The Gates Foundation, which is already a force in agricultural research and development in Africa, said it would donate $70 million to a new collaboration that will focus on addressing threats to food production in the developing world, including crop diseases, pests, poor soils and harsh weather.

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Scientist warns on safety of Monsanto’s Roundup

Questions about the safety of a popular herbicide made by Monsanto Co have resurfaced in a warning from a U.S. scientist that claims top-selling Roundup may contribute to plant disease and health problems for farm animals. Plant pathologist and retired Purdue University professor Don Huber has written a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack warning that a newly discovered and widespread “electron microscopic pathogen appears to significantly impact the health of plants, animals, and probably human beings.” He said the pathogen appears to be connected to use of glyphosate, the key ingredient in Roundup.

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