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Monsanto Representatives To Discuss ‘The Future Of The American Food Chain’ At Southeast

Christian Senger Flickr

Southeast Missouri State University’s Horticulture Club has invited representatives of Monsanto Company to speak on campus on Dec.12 to discuss “The Future of the American Food Chain: Healthy Plants=Healthy Planet.”

A dwindling honey bee population is largely responsible for pollinating horticulture crops, which include fruits, vegetables, nuts, and herbs that are  high in nutritional value. Horticulture products are a third of the world’s food supply.

“Without the pollinators, about one-third of the world’s food supply becomes unavailable,” said Sven Svenson, Southeast Missouri State University professor of agribusiness and co-advisor to the Horticulture Club.

The European honey bee population is suffering from colony collapse disorder. There are several possible causes including physical attacks of the bees from the varroa mite, virus organisms infecting the bees, bacterial infections and pesticides.

“There’s fewer bees out there, and if there’s fewer bees, less plants are being pollinated and there would be less horticultural crop food available for all of us to eat,” Svenson said.

Svenson said the students of the Horticulture Club organized the program as a public service to the southeast Missouri region and decided to use their funding to bring Monsanto representatives to learn more about the future of the American food chain since their future jobs will be highly affected by the issue.

“The Horticulture Club students and all of our agribusiness students would like to hear direct, unfiltered information, and provide a venue for the University community and the general public to hear the same,” Svenson said.

Svenson hopes the program will be well received and appreciated.

“It’s designed for Monsanto to tell us as a professional company what are they doing that they think is beneficial and why they think it’s beneficial, and then we have the opportunity to respond to that and have a conversation,” Svenson said.

The free event is scheduled for 9a.m. to 12p.m. in Academic Hall Auditorium. Three 50-minute sessions are planned with question-and-answer sessions at the end of each.

Jami Black was an intern reporter for KRCU from 2013-2014.