From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 15:
After 5-Year Absence, Monsanto Is Back In Wheat
"Monsanto, the biggest seller of genetically modified seed, agreed [this week] to pay $45 million for WestBred LLC and could introduce new wheat varieties within a few years. WestBred specializes in wheat germplasm, the seed's genetic material.They're not the only biotech company interested in wheat:
Monsanto abandoned the wheat business after years of research and development ... citing a declining market for the variety it was developing. ... Critics contend the decision was less about economics than stiff opposition. The Canadian Wheat Board in March 2004 said the 10 largest customers for Canadian Western Red Spring wheat, including the U.K., Japan and Mexico, had rejected the possibility of genetically modified wheat."
"Monsanto's return to wheat follows a similar move by Dow AgroSciences, which last month announced plans to develop genetically modified wheat in collaboration with World Wide Wheat LLC."The wheat industry is ecstatic:
"The National Association of Wheat Growers hopes Monsanto's return to wheat means an infusion of research dollars into a business that remains mostly the domain of public land-grant universities. "We're excited to see Monsanto stepping up," said Joe Kejr, who chairs a joint biotech committee of the National Association of Wheat Growers and U.S. Wheat Associates, a group trying to develop export markets. "We have got to have that investment for the industry to be sustainable." "