By Richard D. Hartwell
Food Freedom News
Ed. Note: While about 95% of consumers want GMO foods labeled, Monsanto thinks otherwise, as reported by Richard Hartwell who listened in to yesterday’s annual shareholder meeting.
Results of Monsanto Board of Directors’ Meeting, 28 January 2014
Well, as I learned in the military, “If you can’t dazzle ‘em with brilliance, baffle ‘em with bullshit”! That was the connecting thread throughout this polite, but truly self-serving, annual corporate meeting. At the very end, after all the agenda points had been set to rest, a new advertising video was unveiled (although I could only listen, but it was easy to imagine the waving fields of grain and the ruddy-faced farm family).
The voice-over began talking about how we, yes the 98% who do not live on a farm or work agriculture, don’t understand the needs and wants of the 2%, the farmer and laborer and the requirement to use innovations of materials and methods to increase production to serve a burgeoning world, etc.,etc. Well, my take-away was a very slanted ‘You 98% just don’t understand what will happen to you (us) without us (Monsanto)!
I can’t help but add more vitriol; I admire tremendously the spokespeople from SumOfUS and FoodDemocracy for their polite, controlled deliveries and rebuttals. I’m great with words, but many of mine would have been four-letter ones. But onward –
1. I lost count of all the director, executive, financial, and legal introductions, but it was announced that more than 86% of the common stock was represented.
2. Four new directors were forwarded for election. Amazingly, each received 97% or more of the vote and were affirmed for the coming year.
3. The proposed auditing firm for the company for the coming year received more than 99% of the vote and was affirmed.
4. The report concerning executive compensation recommendations received more than 97% of the vote and will be forwarded to the compensation committee.
5. The vote to affirm a shareholder proposal to require GM labeling received only 4.16% of the vote and was NOT passed.
6. The vote to affirm a shareholder proposal to require a report on certain GMO items – such as costs, safety, distribution – as to the impact of GM products on Monsanto’s productivity received only 6.51% of the vote and was NOT passed.
7. Miscellaneous comments, mostly from Chairman Grant, these are either quotes or as close as I could copy them down:
- transparency matters to us
- we are a seed company
- we will continue to participate in an ongoing dialog
- we believe in a voluntary approach to labeling along with the FDA (yes, this was snuck in, but rebutted by SumOfUs)
- we oppose mandatory labeling; it will impose higher costs
- we used to do a better in informing the public; we apologize, I apologize, for not doing a better job in informing all
- we need to listen and engage in a robust dialog
- we have a commitment to transparency
- mainstream agriculture, supported by numerous science and medical organizations, all have verified the safety of our products
- it would be redundant to review the business plan or financial impact of our decisions as they have been accounted for to the FTC
- we all have a role to play in the food, feed, energy, and water sources and requirements of the future
- we need all manner of innovation to farm better in the future, to do more with less
- these are all the steps forward to our earnings growth (this one alone says so much)
- we made $14.9 billion in net sales last year, the third consecutive year of above 20% growth (I won’t bother to add anything)
- we will be expanding are research center in St. Louis next year
- these are the awards we have received this past year: etc., etc.
- this has been a year of good business performance.
I would present the counter arguments and statistics mentioned by Monsanto’s decriers, but these are already known to Forum members and apparently did nothing to sway the 94/95% of insiders. I could go verbosely on, all to no purpose, but I hope some of the foregoing has been insightful.
Originally published at Project Agent Orange Forum.