“Got Milk?,” “Pork: The Other White Meat,” “The Incredible Edible Egg,” “Beef: It’s What’s for Dinner” – in recent years these slogans have become staples of American advertising. What few citizens understand, however, is that these seemingly innocuous ad campaigns are part of a massive tax system that gathers some $700 million per year, and distributes that money to some of the most powerful business groups in food and farming. To go to our Checkoff Programs page, click here.
The seed business is one of the most concentrated industries in American agriculture. Today, about 80% of corn and over 90% of soybeans grown in the U.S. feature Monsanto seed traits, either sold by Monsanto or by its licensees. In 2011, the top ten seed companies in the world totaled about $25 billion in sales, comprising 75% of the overall market. The top three firms, Monsanto, DuPont, and Syngenta, together control 53% of the seed market, with Monsanto alone controlling 25%. And when it comes to genetic traits, this control is even more pronounced: Monsanto controls 98% of trait markers for herbicide-resistant soybeans, and 79% of trait markers for herbicide-resistant corn. To go to our GMOs & Seeds page, click here.
Once found mainly on the plates of California hippies and Vermont back-to-the-landers, organics are now a mainstay of many American diets. The fastest growing sector in the food industry, organics now account for some 4% of food revenues, and reached nearly $40 billion in sales in 2014. But as organic products have moved from niche to mainstream, big corporations have moved rapidly to capture more control over the business. To go to our Organics page, click here.