Monsanto Announces Layoffs, Low Earnings -- Could The Ag Giant Be Suffering From The Anti-GMO Movement?

Dawn Papple

Monsanto's profits are slipping and the agriculture giant best known for its GMO Roundup Ready seeds announced Thursday that restructuring will occur, including layoffs. Monsanto missed its fourth quarter earnings and is offering share buybacks, according to Seeking Alpha. The revisions come after the company lost 19 cents per share when they were expected to break even in the fourth quarter.

Monsanto announced that it will cut about one-eighth of its workforce, according to Seeking Alpha, though according to U.S. News & World Report, and others, the percentage of workers who will lose their jobs with Monsanto is closer to 12 percent of the current workforce. The company is also expected to buy back nearly $3 billion in stock, which is nearly eight percent of outstanding shares, according to analysts. Monsanto's stock has fallen nearly 26 percent this year.

All total, Monsanto plans to lay off 2,600 workers, according to U.S. News & World Report. The St. Louis-based ag giant hopes that the new plan will generate between $275 million and $300 million in yearly savings by the end of the fiscal year in 2017.

The last time Monsanto announced a major layoff was in June of 2009, when around 900 workers lost their jobs. This time, CEO Hugh Grant blames the unfortunate impact of foreign exchange rates and falling crop prices for the lower-than-expected earnings.

"Despite weakening global currencies and commodity prices we continue to view this as a time of opportunity," Grant said.

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"Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum herbicide, currently with the highest production volumes of all herbicides. It is used in more than 750 different products for agriculture, forestry, urban, and home applications. Its use has increased sharply with the development of genetically modified glyphosate-resistant crop varieties. Glyphosate has been detected in air during spraying, in water, and in food. There WAS limited evidence in humans for the carcinogenicity of glyphosate.

"Glyphosate has been detected in the blood and urine of agricultural workers, indicating absorption. Soil microbes degrade glyphosate to aminomethylphosphoric acid (AMPA). Blood AMPA detection after poisonings suggests intestinal microbial metabolism in humans. Glyphosate and glyphosate formulations induced DNA and chromosomal damage in mammals, and in human and animal cells in vitro. One study reported increases in blood markers of chromosomal damage (micronuclei) in residents of several communities after spraying of glyphosate formulations."

"Glyphosate has been detected in the blood and urine of agricultural workers, indicating absorption. Soil microbes degrade glyphosate to aminomethylphosphoric acid (AMPA). Blood AMPA detection after poisonings suggests intestinal microbial metabolism in humans. Glyphosate and glyphosate formulations induced DNA and chromosomal damage in mammals, and in human and animal cells in vitro. One study reported increases in blood markers of chromosomal damage (micronuclei) in residents of several communities after spraying of glyphosate formulations."

What do you think? Will Monsanto bounce back with the layoffs, restructuring and stock buy-backs, or has the ag giant actually been brought to its knees?

[Photo credit: Infoeco]

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