200K March Against Monsanto - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

200K March Against Monsanto

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MISSOULA -

Tomorrow 200,000 people all over the world will march against a company called Monsanto, the leading producer of genetically-modified seeds used in farming.

Monsanto seeds are engineered to survive herbicide sprays, but farmers said they contaminate other crops and force weeds to adapt and become stronger.

Genetically modified foods and crops have become a successful, commercial business over the past 20 years, and Monsanto is now the largest producer of the seeds in the world.

In Montana, some farmers see the appeal in boosting their agricultural production with herbicide-resilient crops, but many say the crops create more problems than they solve.

Monsanto's web site shows they believe agriculture must be improved because the world's population is growing, and the need for food is increasing.

So, over the past 20 years, the company has developed "roundup ready" corn, soybean, sugar beet and other vegetable seeds that resist herbicides, allowing farmers to grow crops without the threat of weeds.

"So, there's definitely a short-term advantage you know, to buying some of these GMO seeds," Missoula farmer Greg Price said.

Price said in Montana, some farmers use roundup ready sugar beet and newly FDA-approved alfalfa seeds.

"But, what we're finding out now that a lot of the stuff has been around for over ten years is that adaptations are definitely happening in the weed community," Price said.

Price said once weeds adapt to the herbicide-resilient crops, they become heartier, and can overtake conventional farmers' crops. He says alfalfa is a wind-pollinated crop, which means other farmers' fields can easily become contaminated by genetically modified crops.

"And that is a really tough thing to swallow, because it's impossible if you're an alfalfa farmer and you're downwind from a new GMO crop for you to have any control over that," Price said.

Price said he and others in the agricultural industry globally, think seed companies like Monsanto entered the business to make large profits.

"The idea of corporate control over our food system is professionally and personally offensive," Price said.

Price said aside from threatening traditional farmers' livelihoods, he thinks genetically modified crops affect the tradition of farming in the U.S.

He added, "One of the appeals of being a farmer in the first place, is you get to work outside, you get to work with the land, you get to be in a natural environment."

Price said Monsanto's genetically modified wheat seeds could soon be used in Montana as well.

"It then becomes a much bigger problem, because wheat is grown in every county in Montana," Price said.

If you would like more information on the march or genetically modified foods and crops, click here.

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