Photo by Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

After dueling reviews of research studies, scientific panels from the U.S. government and the World Health Organization are having a hard time agreeing whether glyphosate, the most common weed killer in the United States, can cause cancer. Known by the brand name RoundUp, glyphosate is sprayed on farm fields and lawns all across the country.

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

From Harvest Public Media:

A group of Nebraska farmers is suing the giant seed and chemical company, Monsanto, in federal court saying the company’s top-selling herbicide gave them cancer.

Farmers Larry Domina, Robert Dickey, and Royce Janzen, along with farm agronomist Frank Pollard, have each been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a type of blood cancer. They were exposed to Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller in their work on the farm.

The Environmental Protection Agency has apparently made a preliminary finding that glyphosate is unlikely to cause cancer in humans, though the report isn’t yet available, says Politico.

Jacob Byk / The Hutchinson News

From Kansas Agland:

With “bulletproof” weeds like palmer amaranth and kochia becoming ever more resistant across the Great Plains, farmers must focus on rotating modes of action, using pre-emergent herbicides and following the label when mixing products, experts say.

Derek Ramsey/Wikimedia

A new report from the environmental group The Center for Food Safety says a Monsanto herbicide is to blame for a vast decline in the monarch butterfly population.

The Glyphosate herbicide, commonly known as Roundup, destroys weeds, including the common milkweed. And that’s a problem for monarch butterfly caterpillars, which only eat the plant.

As milkweed has disappeared from Midwest farms, there’s been a steady decline in the number of monarchs overwintering in Mexico.

Getting off the chemical treadmill

Jan 4, 2015
Abby Wendle/Harvest Public Media

Farmers engaged in an epic struggle with “superweeds” – weeds that don’t die even when sprayed with herbicide – are looking for help from a new super chemical that’s about to hit the market.

Currently the last line of defense against weeds not felled by other herbicides, the new chemical could be defeated if it is overused and farmers could be left in even worse straits.  

Pigweed Problem

Herbicide-resistant Pigweeds are marching north into soybean and corn fields across the Midwest from the southern U.S. where they choked cotton fields so completely that the land cannot be farmed They can grow up to seven feet tall and produce more than half a million seeds per plant, per season.