Monsanto: “Too Big for Their Britches”

Opinion

Monsanto: “Too Big for Their Britches”

By State Representative Clay Pirkle (R-Ashburn)

(579 words)

One of the greatest challenges of raising kids is discerning when to give them more responsibility and when to have a “come to Jesus” meeting because they have gotten “too big for their britches.” As a cotton farmer following the Monsanto-Bayer merger, I recognize the telltale signs of a child that needs to be reined in a bit. As an economist, I see that Monsanto already exhibits monopolistic behavior, and they receive profits on virtually every bag of cotton seed sold in the U.S.

I first recall paying the “technology fee” in 1999. In that year I averaged $7.80 per acre in seed cost for conventional cotton and $33.38 per acre for the first transgenic cotton I planted, which was DPL 33B. Monsanto was quite smart in marketing its cotton, and I paid two bills for a cotton bag:  one bill for cotton seed and the other for a “tech fee.”  For instance, in 1999 I paid Delta Pine Land $50 per bag of genetically modified cotton and Monsanto $167 per bag. Monsanto convinced farmers to pay four times the price for cotton seed by spending less money on chemicals and producing a higher yield, and Monsanto recouped half the savings on chemicals.

This year, Monsanto received a revenue stream on every cotton acre I planted – not because I am a loyal Monsanto customer, but because there is no other option. Monsanto sets the price because they can. One of the defining characteristics of a monopoly is the ability to set prices, and Monsanto has proven their ability to do that. In fact, they set their tech fees at different rates for different regions across the country. Monsanto does not allow me to get in my truck and drive across the river to Alabama to buy cotton seed because for some reason Alabama famers pay less in “tech fees” than we do in South Georgia. I also pay more in South Georgia than I would in the Delta or High Plains regions.

Looking at a couple of my farms over the years….In 1999 I planted transgenic cotton on the Beard place, which cost $33 per acre and yielded 774 pounds of lint per acre. In the 2017 crop year I planted transgenic cotton on the same farm and yielded 667 pounds of cotton at a seed cost of $120 per acre. Anomaly?  Let us look at the Barber farm in Irwinville.  In 1999 I planted a conventional cotton, which cost $7.80 per acre and yielded 537 pounds of lint. On that same farm this year I planted a transgenic variety (because no conventional cotton seed is available) at a cost of $120 per acre and produced 542 pounds of lint. To summarize, I now pay 15 times more for my cotton seed than I did in 1999, and I am do not receive a measurable increase in yield. I also average five insecticide applications per year at a cost of $12 to $20 per acre. In 1999, I averaged less than $10 per acre for all insecticide applications (18 percent of my cotton acres in 1999 were BT transgenic cotton, such as insecticide producing cotton plant).

Monsanto now receives all of my cotton profits. They look like a monopoly, they price like a monopoly and they ruthlessly protect their patent rights to keep their monopoly. We need a “come to Jesus” meeting with Monsanto to stop this huge merger because they have definitely gotten “too big for their britches.”

Representative Clay Pirkle represents the citizens of District 155, which includes all of Ben Hill, Irwin, and Turner counties, and portions of Tift and Coffee counties. He was elected into the House of Representatives in 2015, and currently serves as Secretary on the State Properties Committee. He also serves on the Motor Vehicles, Agriculture & Consumer Affairs, and Science & Technology committees.

Short Takes – Political Pipe Dreams

Opinion

Political Pipe Dreams

As 2017 comes screeching to its inevitable but satisfactory conclusion, it’s clear that Progressive “Visions of Sugar Plums Dancing in Their Heads,” sweeping the Congress back into Democrat hands in 2018, are actually turning into Pipe Dreams. Hope is not a battle plan.

The gallimaufry of the Democrat party is evidence enough that they are in deep trouble. Virginia and Alabama election victories aside, they will be unable to rally enough voters to their banner when their entire sales pitch has been trashed by its own failures. Their red banner, upon which is emblazoned a yellow hammer and sickle, is no longer appealing to Americans. A catharsis is in the making for Democrats. Which direction will they go, further “Left” into the deep dark recesses of totalitarianism or make a right turn back into the sunlight of Constitutionalism?

Reports are surfacing even now, that Latino Congressman, Gutierrez, and others, got into a shouting match with Senator Chuckie Schumer over their party’s failure to stop the GOP’s tax cuts or, and especially important  to Latino Democrats, failing to include the DACA act as a non negotiable item to be removed. Special interest groups, like the Congressional Latinos, are now engage in vituperative attacks against an elderly white Senators from New York, because there is no direction anymore, there is no leadership in that sector and a catharsis is coming.

There are simply too many chefs in the Democrat kitchen for an effective menu of their socialist  

political nonsense to be prepared and dished up when the dining area is emptying of patrons. Not everyone wants a steady diet of “arroz con pollo or Tacos y enchiladas.”

And, what happened to the Congressional Black Caucus? With intellectual illuminaries like Sheila Jackson Lee who says, It’s a direct result of Trump’s racist hatred of African Americans that caused an American Airlines plane to derail in Washington state. Just another way to genocide us.” or Georgia Rep. Hank Johnson who opined the island of Guam could capsize if a brigade of US Marines were stationed there. They remain silent.

And, the disease spreads as we see happening in the UN. I love the defiant reaction of the UN’s General Assembly to President Trump’s comment” “Let ‘em, I don’t care!”  in response to Trump’s threat to relieve non cooperative countries of the burden of how to spend the money the American taxpayers gifts them each year. Oh, woe! What a silly vote, to deny the US its right to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital or denying the US its right to move its embassy there.

What this all means is that America has leadership again. Trump, a successful, apodictic  businessman, not obliged to agree with his political handlers, but whose realistic visions has determined that America needs to be led from the front not from behind, is leading. Happily, enough voters agreed with him that America’s turnaround, while painful for some, is a relief for most.

How can it be possible for the Socialist Democrat program of top down collectivism compete with the future financial success that Donald Trump is introducing? Democrat ‘happy talk’ of fairness for all, specifically does not include any but the victims, losers, perverts and favored politicians that has been hung around America’s neck like the proverbial albatross since the social programs of the 1960’s and even earlier. Confidence is returning to America. People feel it, see it and know it. “Merry Christmas” has returned to the market place again. That can’t be bad, except to Progressives who still dwell in their pipe dreams.

Remember freedom is the goal, the Constitution is the way. Now, go get ‘em! (22Dec17)

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