The image of a cornfield is a metaphor for the way we use the earth. It is a planned field with one crop that predominates. The weeds, insects, and microscopic life, anything not corn, in and around the cornfield are just an after thought. The area as a whole is not even in the picture.
We are changing the environment for profit. Monsanto pioneered no-till farming with genetically engineered corn. Farmers using this system spray their fields with roundup (Glyphosate-based herbicides) to kill all the vegetation . The Glyphosate-based herbicides are supposed to degrade within two months and not stay in the soil. There is now evidence that this is not true and it builds up in the soil. Even more evidence suggests it is harmful to the smallest organisms at the base of the food chain. These crops, notably Corn, soybeans, and cotton have been genetically engineered to be unaffected by roundup.
These genetically engineered and patented crops are then planted as seedlings. Roundup is also used to keep the weeds from growing later in the planting season. Because Monsanto patented these genetically modified seeds, they strictly control their use. They do not allow farmers to keep some of the harvest for replanting the following season. They aggressively sue anyone who has “their” plants in the fields and have not purchased the seeds from them that year. Mostly they do this with aggressive Monsanto technology/stewardship agreements. These are contracts that the farmers are forced to sign in order to purchase seeds. These agreements provide for intrusive rights for Monsanto even into the third party agreement the farmers have with the r businesses. And Monsanto bullies smaller farmers and business who have limited funds to fight legal battles.
Should one company be able to patent a crop? Corn has taken thousands of years and millions of people to develop. It has been traced to a grass from central America named teosinte. Is this litigious big business model our future? Do we want our future generations to have this legacy? What happens when something goes wrong? Who is responsible? Who should have prevented this?