Apr 22, 2013

"Stunning" Difference of GM from non-GM Corn - Institute of Science in Society

Institute of Science in Society
ISIS Report 22/04/13

A comparison of US Midwest non-GM with GM corn shows shockingly high levels of glyphosate as well as formaldehyde, and severely depleted of mineral nutrients in the GM corn Dr Mae-Wan Ho

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The results of a comparison of GM and non-GM corn from adjacent Midwest fields in the US that first appeared on the Moms Across America March website [1] are reproduced in Table 1.

*The GM corn was grown in a field that has been no-till, continuous GM corn (Roundup Ready) for 5-10 years and with a glyphosate herbicide weed control regime for all of the 10 years. The Non-GM corn has not had glyphosate (or Roundup) applied to the field for at least five years. The GM corn test weight was 57.5 lb; and non-GMCorn test weight 61.5 lb.

As Zen Honeycutt, who posted the report commented, glyphosate, shown to be toxic at 1 ppm, is present at 13 ppm in the GM corn. Similarly, formaldehyde at 200 ppm is 200 times the level known to be toxic in animals.

The GM corn was also severely depleted in essential minerals: 14 ppm vs 6 130 ppm calcium; 2 ppm vs 113 ppm of magnesium; 2 ppm vs 14 ppm of manganese 3 ppm vs 44 ppm of phosphate, 3 ppm vs 42 ppm of sulphur, and so on.

It is not surprising that this analysis has been carried out independently; i.e., not by biotech companies. It was done by farmers themselves. The high level of glyphosate is bad enough. Scientific evidence on glyphosate accumulated over three decades documents miscarriages, birth defects, carcinogenesis, endocrine disruption, DNA damage, neurotoxicity, and toxicity to liver and kidney at levels well below recommended agricultural use (see our recent review [2] Why Glyphosate Should Be Banned, SiS 56). The presence of formaldehyde - a genotoxic and neurotoxic poison at such enormous concentration - is totally unexpected.
Analysis obtained by Midwest farmers

Howard Vlieger, a crop nutrition advisor working with family farmers in 10 states across the US, who has been involved in the study and research of GMOs since 1996, explained in an interview [3] that people want “a side by side comparison” of the corn in the same soil conditions with the only difference being the application of glyphosate based herbicide on the GM Roundup Ready (RR) corn and a conventional herbicide on the non-GM corn. “This has not been done and cannot be done according to the technology agreement signed by a farmer planting GM seed without being at risk of being sued by the patent holder of the GM RR corn,” he said.

In this case, however, ears of corn from two adjacent corn fields in the Midwest, separated only by a fence, were sampled two weeks before harvest. The corn fields were selected by a third party and the samples collected in exactly the same manner. The separately bagged ears of corn were shelled from the cob and the grain samples sent to the lab for glyphosate testing. The non-GM corn field has not been sprayed with glyphosate for at least five years (see Table 1).

The samples were sent to a certified laboratory where it was prepared for testing on gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, an analytical method in which chemical compounds are first separated on a chromatographic column according to their size and charge and other chemical properties, and then ionized and identified based on mass to charge ratios. The RR corn tested contained 13 ppm glyphosate - coincidentally the EPA’s newly set legal limit of glyphosate in corn - while the other non-GM corn sample tested free of any glyphosate. The RR corn sample that tested positive for the glyphosate residue also tested positive for formaldehyde at a level of 200 ppm.
Where does the highly toxic formaldehyde come from?

Plant pathologist and retired Purdue University professor Don Huber, who has been sounding dire warnings on glyphosate poisoning crops, soil, livestock, and people (see [4] USDA Scientist Reveals All - Glyphosate Hazards to Crops, Soils, Animals, and Consumers, SiS 53), commented that formaldehyde can come from degradation of glyphosate [5]. But it can also come from normal plant 1-C metabolism, as for example, de-methylation of serine to glycine plus formaldehyde.

Formaldehyde does not exist in the free-state in a healthy normal plant. It is toxic compound that reacts with proteins, nucleic acids and lipids, and has been classified as a mutagen and suspected carcinogen [6]. Formaldehyde is also neurotoxic, and at ~100 ppm induced amyloid-like misfolding of tau protein, leading to the formation of protein aggregates similar to those found in Alzheimer’s disease; followed by programmed cell death of the neurons [7]. In normal cells and organisms, formaldehyde is detoxified by glutathione-dependent formaldehyde dehydrogenase (GDFDase) to formic acid [8]. GDFDase is dependent on zinc [9], and it is likely that the chelating action of glyphosate [4] may be responsible for inhibiting the enzyme’s activity by depriving it of zinc.

“Of course the scariest part of this is that any RR plant (corn, soybean, canola, cotton, sugar beet or alfalfa) that is sprayed with glyphosate could potentially produce formaldehyde … and then the formaldehyde would unknowingly end up in the feed and food supply.” Vlieger said [3]. The accumulation of formaldehyde was not due to any unusual environmental stress experienced by the GM corn. “This corn was not raised in an area that was affected by the extreme drought conditions of 2012.”

He also told UK group GMWatch [10] that the glyphosate and formaldehyde could “explain the continuing problems we are witnessing in livestock operations with poor animal health when GMO feed stuffs are in the diet.”

Obviously, the analysis should be repeated on more samples of GM and non-GM corn grown side by side to see if these remarkable differences could be replicated. If so, we can only conclude that previous data submitted by and for the companies that found GM corn “substantially equivalent” to non-GM corn must have been fraudulent, and the perpetrators need to be brought to justice.

1. “Stunning corn comparison: GMO versus non GMO”, Zen Honeycutt, 15 March 2013, Moms Across America March, http://www.momsacrossamerica.com/stunning_corn_comparison_gmo_versus_non_gmo

2. Sirinathsinghji E and Ho MW. Why glyphosate should be banned. Science in Society 56, 21-32, 2012.

3. “More info on 2012 corn comparison report 12 April 2013, Zen Honeycutt, Mom Across America March 4 July,http://www.momsacrossamerica.com/more_info_on_2012_corn_comparison_report

4. Sirinathsinghji E. USDA scientist reveals all, glyphosate hazards to crops, soils, animals and consumers. Science in Society 53, 36-39, 2012.

5. Huber D. Formaldehyde and glyphosate in corn. Powerpoint presentation, 2012.

6. IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risk for Humans 62, Wood Dust and Formaldehyde, IARC, Lyon, 1995.

7. Nie CL, Wang XS, Liu Y, Perrett S and He RQ. Amyloid-like aggregates induced by formaldehyde promote apoptosis of neuronal cells BMC Neurosci 2007, 8, 9.

8. Achkor H, Diaz M, Fernandez MR, Biosca JA, Pares X and Martinez MC. Enhanced formaldehyde detoxification by overexpression of glutathione-dependent formaldehyde dehydrogenase from Arabidopsis. Plant Physiol 2003, 132, 2248-55.

9. Barber RD, Ott MA and Donohue TJ. Characterization of a glutathione-dependent formaldehyde dehydrogenase from Rhodobacter sphaeroides. J Bacteriol1996, 178, 1386-93.

10. GMWatch Comment on 2012 corn comparison report. 19 April 2013, www.GMWatch.org
"Stunning" Difference of GM from non-GM Corn

Forests Keep Drylands Working - YouTube

Published on Apr 22, 2013

Excellent presentation... Monte Hines

Find out more here: http://permaculturenews.org/2013/04/23/forests-keep-drylands-working-john-d-liu-video/

John D. Liu of the EEMP,  focuses on drylands, their past function and their present dysfunction through a broad scale loss of forest cover, and its impact on soil loss and on the hydrological cycle.

Further Reading/Watching:
John D. Liu’s Green Gold Documentary – How the West (and East, North and South!) Could Be Won
Loess Plateau Revisited, and Other Examples of Earth Healing
The Biology of Global Warming
The World’s Largest Water Harvesting Earthworks Project
Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration

Forests Keep Drylands Working - YouTube

Flood-drought-flood: Is this the new normal? | Grist

By John Upton
Rick Locke Flooding at the Public Museum in Grand Rapids, Mich.

The good news: Heavy rainfall across the Midwest has helped ease a widespread drought.

The bad news: Rainfall has been so heavy that drought has been replaced by flooding

The scary news: The cycle of flood-drought-flood that has ravaged the Midwest over the past two years is the type of cycle that climate change is expected to bring to the region, and it could become the new normal.

From NBC News:

Heavy river flooding in six Midwestern states that forced evacuations, shut down bridges, swamped homes and caused at least three deaths was at or near crest in some areas Sunday evening.

Rivers surged from the Quad Cities to St. Louis Sunday, with water levels reaching record heights. Hours earlier, National Guardsmen, volunteers, homeowners and jail inmates pitched in with sandbagging to hold back floodwaters that closed roads in Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan.

From the AP:

Rain last week started the whole mess, causing the Mississippi and many other rivers to surge in Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana. Flooding has now been blamed in three deaths — two at the same spot in Indiana and one in Missouri. In all three cases, vehicles were swept off the road in flash floods.

Spots south of St. Louis aren’t expected to crest until late this week, and significant flooding is possible in places like Ste. Genevieve, Mo., Cape Girardeau, Mo., and Cairo, Ill.

Adding to concern is the forecast. National Weather Service meteorologist Julie Phillipson said an inch of rain is likely in many places Monday night into Tuesday, some places could receive more than that.

“That’s not what we want to see when we have this kind of flooding, that’s for sure,” Phillipson said.

The flooding of the Mississippi River is quite the contrast to the situation just a few months back, when low water levels were threatening the barge industry. But it resembles the flood of spring in 2011. 

From Weather Underground:

Residents along the Mississippi River have experienced a severe case of flood-drought-flood weather whiplash over the past two years. The Mississippi reached its highest level on record at New Madrid, Missouri on May 6, 2011, when the river crested at 48.35′. Flooding on the Mississippi and Missouri rivers that year cost an estimated $5 billion. The next year, after the great drought of 2012, the river had fallen by over 53′ to an all time record low of -5.32′ on August 30, 2012. Damage from the great drought is conservatively estimated at $35 billion. Next Tuesday, the river is expected to be at flood stage again in New Madrid, 40′ higher than the August 2012 record low. Now, that is some serious weather whiplash. …

The new normal in the coming decades is going to be more and more extreme flood-drought-flood cycles like we are seeing now in the Midwest, and this sort of weather whiplash is going to be an increasingly severe pain in the neck for society. We’d better prepare for it, by building a more flood-resistant infrastructure and developing more drought-resistant grains, for example. And if we continue to allow heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide continue to build up in the atmosphere at the current near-record pace, no amount of adaptation can prevent increasingly more violent cases of weather whiplash from being a serious threat to the global economy and the well-being of billions of people.

John Upton is a science aficionado and green news junkie who tweets, posts articles to Facebook, and blogs about ecology. He welcomes reader questions, tips, and incoherent rants: johnupton@gmail.com.
Full Link: Flood-drought-flood: Is this the new normal? | Grist

Earth Day 2013 - Alabama-Pass It On Down - YouTube

Uploaded on Aug 11, 2009

All credit belongs to CMT and Alabama. Hope you enjoy the song "Pass it on Down". To view more of Alabama's videos on CMT.com, follow the link http://www.cmt.com/videos/alabama/547.... Do enjoy, rate, and comment.


With Regards and Respect To All,
Monte & Eileen

Link: Alabama-Pass It On Down - YouTube

Illinois River is headed for record flooding for Henry, Il and below... 4/22/2013

Illinois River is headed for record flooding for Henry, Il and below...

Mississippi River Cresting at Several Locations - 4/22/2013

Mississippi River Cresting at Several Locations

Apr 21, 2013

Agriculture Flooding in Indiana - Example of Wide Extent of Midwest Rain and Flooding - Sugar Creek Flooding 2013 - YouTube

Sugar Creek Flooding 2013 - YouTube

Agriculture Flooding in Indiana - 
Example of Wide Extent Midwest Rain and Flooding ... Monte Hines

Farmland prices: Is the bubble about to burst?

Experts think a 1980s-like crisis is unlikely, but concerns linger.

(Photo: David Purdy, The Des Moines Register)

Acre of farmland that a decade ago sold for an average of $2,275 now goes for $8,700
Some banks have responded by becoming more conservative in their loans as farmland values ascend
USDA has predicted more typical weather conditions in 2013 would generate a record corn and soybean harvest

WASHINGTON -- Record-high prices for corn, soybeans, wheat and other commodities have left growers flush with cash to purchase more land. And what the farmers don't pay for out of their own pockets, historically low interest rates provide them with easy and cheap access to money to close the deal.

The favorable mix of both cash and credit has provided fuel to drive up land values across the Midwest, stoking fears of a bubble ready to burst.

In Iowa, where rich soil, favorable weather and ethanol and livestock production help foster demand for limited growing space, farmland values have soared 90 percent since 2009. An acre of farmland that a decade ago sold for an average of $2,275 now goes for $8,700, according to Mike Duffy, an economist at Iowa State University who watches land prices.

It culminated last October when an 80-acre parcel near Boyden in Sioux County, some of the most fertile ground in the Corn Belt, sold for a record $21,900 per acre.

"The concern clearly is not so much how much higher are they going to go, but when this bubble breaks, how low will they go and what will the aftermath of that be?" said Michael Hein, vice president of the Liberty Trust and Savings Bank in the southeast Iowa town of Durant. "If profits start to diminish, there will be an impact on land values as well." Hein called the recent increase in land values "not sustainable" and said if they do rise in 2013, it will be at a more moderate pace.

Colin Johnson, a fourth-generation farmer, who rents land from a dozen different property owners in and around Wapello County, has been careful not to get swept up in the bidding frenzy.

He was approached in 2012 by two who were looking to sell, giving the 36-year-old corn and soybean farmer the first chance to make an offer.

Colin Johnson has been careful not to get swept up in the farm land bidding frenzy. The fourth-generation farmer rents land from a dozen different property owners in and around Wapello County, Iowa.(Photo: David Purdy, The Des Moines Register)

Each time, Johnson lost out to a competitive market with buyers willing to pay far more than he could afford.

"The (landowners) went the route of 'I'm going to take the high dollar,' and I don't blame any of them for doing that," said Johnson, a husband and the father of three children. "Land is just bringing such a premium, and I believe it is highly inflated right now. I can't take that risk as a person with a young family."

The inevitable drop in land prices is unlikely to be as sharp as in the early 1980s, when new purchases were financed largely with debt and less with farmers' own capital, say economists and bankers who work in the agricultural industry.

When interest rates on their loans soared and crop prices declined, many farmers no longer had the income they needed to pay the bank. They had no choice but to unload their real estate, contributing to the sharp downdraft in land values.

The crash was especially severe in Iowa, where the value of the state's farmland plunged from $2,147 an acre in 1981 to a low of $787 five years later, a drop of 63 percent. A third of the state's farms went out of business.

Since then, farmers have become more financially conservative, leaving them in a better position to weather a downturn.

Land purchases during the last few years have been made with growers regularly using 50 percent to 75 percent of their own cash. And the finances of the farm are stronger than ever with the debt-to-asset ratio expected to be the lowest level on record in 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

A drop in land prices now means farmers are losing the investment of their own cash rather than being left in a lurch with the local bank. It doesn't mean they won't feel the heat financially, but it's likely to prevent as many farmers from getting irreversibly harmed and, at the same time, limit the severity of a drop in land prices.

"The shock absorber is the enormous amount of farmer capital that they have invested in real estate," said John Blanchfield, a senior vice president and director of American Bankers Association's Center for Agricultural and Rural Banking.

"The cautionary tale is this: Farmers hate liquidity. They just can't stand to have money in the bank, and so an enormous amount of farmer liquidity has been invested in real estate. If there is a rapid correction in commodity prices ... the liquidity that farmers should have had to tide them over in a poor cash flow period" has been invested in land, he said.

Banks such as Liberty Trust and Savings have responded by becoming more conservative in their loans as farmland values ascend. Hein said the bank has been cautious about financing too much debt-per-acre in a land purchase because of concerns that a sustained drop in crop prices could reduce a farmer's income and increase the chance of default on the loan.

"We're here to make loans, but the undertone is still one with a lot of caution," Hein said.

Last month, the USDA predicted more typical weather conditions in 2013 would generate a record corn and soybean harvest, which it forecast would push the average crop prices for corn to $4.80 per bushel, down a third from the prior year, and $10.50 per bushel for soybeans, a drop of 27 percent.

Ultimately, how land prices react hinges largely on the weather and if the water-starved Midwest receives enough moisture this year to help it rebound from the 2012 drought — the worst since the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.

Here is a rough outline of how the commodity price-land value equation works: A retreat in commodity prices would mean farmers stand to receive less money for their crops. Meanwhile, an increase in interest rates would make it more costly for farmers to borrow money from a bank to help finance a purchase. At the same time, farm operations are likely to continue to be squeezed by higher costs for items such as seed, fuel and fertilizer. The result is that farmers are willing to pay less for a parcel of land or they forgo the purchase altogether.

Some farmers, such as Joe Heinrich, vice president of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, are content to stand idle as the land-buying frenzy unfolds.

Heinrich, who hasn't purchased new land since 2005, hasn't ruled out making a purchase if the location is close to his current operation and the quality of the farmland is right.

"There is land that's in the area that if it did come up for sale, yeah, we would be interested. But we're not going out there to buy land just for the sake of buying land," said Heinrich, 52. "You want to save for the things you want to buy. We know there are those situations in the area that at some point" the land will be available for sale, he said.

Vandana Shiva on the Problem with Genetically Modified Seeds | Moyers & Company | BillMoyers.com

Vandana Shiva on the Problem with Genetically Modified Seeds

Bill talks to scientist and philosopher Vandana Shiva, who’s become a rock star in the global battle over genetically modified seeds. These seeds — considered “intellectual property” by the big companies who own the patents — are globally marketed to monopolize food production and profits. Opponents challenge the safety of genetically modified seeds, claiming they also harm the environment, are more costly, and leave local farmers deep in debt as well as dependent on suppliers. Shiva, who founded a movement in India to promote native seeds, links genetic tinkering to problems in our ecology, economy, and humanity, and sees this as the latest battleground in the war on Planet Earth.

Vandana Shiva on the Problem with Genetically Modified Seeds | Moyers & Company | BillMoyers.com