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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Monsanto floats U.S.-only GM wheat release

Monsanto is discussing with the American wheat industry whether it should be held to its promise not to release genetically modified wheat in the United States unless it can simultaneously market it in Canada, wheat industry officials said last week. Monsanto told top officials from U.S. wheat growing and marketing organizations that it was facing stiff opposition to its GM wheat in Canada.

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