Monsanto is the world’s leading producer of the herbicide “Roundup”, as well as producing 90% of the world’s genetically modified (GMO) seeds.
Monsanto was founded in St. Louis, Missouri by John Francis Queeny, a 30-year veteran of the pharmaceutical industry. Queeny funded the start-up with capital from Coca-Cola (saccharin). Founder John Francis Queeny named Monsanto Chemical Works after his wife, Olga Mendez Monsanto. Queeny’s father in law was Emmanuel Mendes de Monsanto, wealthy financier of a sugar company active in Vieques, Puerto Rico and based in St. Thomas in the Danish West Indies.
Over Monsanto’s 110-year history (1901-2013), Monsanto Co (MON.N), the world’s largest seed company, has evolved from primarily an industrial chemical concern into a pure agricultural products company. MON profited $2 billion dollars in 2009, but their record profits fell to only $1 billion in 2010 after activists exposed Monsanto for doing terribly evil acts like suing good farmers and feeding uranium to pregnant women.
Monsanto, best know today for its agricultural biotechnology GMO products, has a long and dirty history of polluting this country and others with some of the most toxic compounds known to humankind. From PCBs to Agent Orange to Roundup, we have many reasons to question the motives of this evil corporation that claims to be working to reduce environmental destruction and feed the world with its genetically engineered GMO food crops. Monsanto has been repeatedly fined and ruled against for, among many things: mislabeling containers of Roundup, failing to report health data to EPA, plus chemical spills and improper chemical deposition.
The name Monsanto has since, for many around the world, come to symbolize the greed, arrogance, scandal and hardball business practices of many multinational corporations. A couple of historical factoids not generally known: Monsanto was heavily involved during WWII in the creation of the first nuclear bomb for the Manhattan Project via its facilities in Dayton Ohio and called the Dayton Project headed by Charlie Thomas, Director of Monsanto’s Central Research Department (and later Monsanto President) and it operated a nuclear facility for the federal government in Miamisburg, also in Ohio, called the Mound Project until the 80s.
Monsanto Company History Overview
Monsanto is a US based agricultural and pharmaceutical monopoly, Monsanto Company is a producer of herbicides, prescription pharmaceutical drugs, and genetically engineered (GMO) seeds. The global Monsanto corporation has operated sales offices, manufacturing plants, and research facilities in more than 100 countries. Monsanto has the largest share of the global GMO crops market. In 2001 its crops accounted for 91% of the total area of GMO crops planted worldwide. Based on 2001 figures Monsanto was the second biggest seed company in the world, and the third biggest agrochemical company.
Historically Monsanto has been involved with the production of PCBs, DDT, dioxins and the defoliant / chemical weapon ‘Agent Orange’ (sprayed on American troops and Vietnamese civilians during the Vietnam War). Originally a chemical company, Until the late 1990s Monsanto was a much larger ‘lifesciences’ company whose business covered chemicals, polymers, food additives and pharmaceuticals, as well as agricultural products.
All of these other chemical business areas have now been demerged or sold off. Monsanto sold its chemical business in 1997 to build a presence in biotechnology, developing NON-ORGANIC GMO soybeans and corn (classified as a pesticide and banned in the EU) to resist the poisonous effects of its Roundup herbicide. Monsanto’s key business areas are now agrochemicals, seeds and traits (including GMO crops), Monsanto also produced NutraSweet, a GMO sugar substitute. Monsanto recently sold it’s GMO bovine growth hormones monopoly to Eli Lilly, and sold it’s aspartame business to Pfizer.
Monsanto’s business is currently run in two parts: Agricultural Productivity, and Seeds and Genomics. The Agricultural Productivity segment includes Roundup herbicide and other agri-chemicals, and the Animal Agriculture business. The Seeds and Genomics segment consists of seed companies and related biotechnology traits, and a technology platform based on plant genomics. In reality of course these two segments are inseparable, since the agri-chemicals are becoming increasingly dependent on the seeds segment for sales.