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Monsanto, seed-corn companies continue use of contractors despite allegations of migrant labor abuses

A two-year investigation by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting found repeated allegations of labor violations over the past decade against Monsanto, its counterpart in GMO corn production, DuPont Pioneer, other seed companies, and the companies’ contractors.

A review of federal documents, lawsuits and Monsanto records – and interviews with advocates and experts – shows repeated allegations of broken recruiting promises, minimum-wage violations, improperly withheld pay and substandard living conditions in seed-corn production of Monsanto and Pioneer.

Announcing our first-ever audience engagement fellow, Anna Casey

Illinois Humanities and the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting jointly announced today that Anna Casey has been named their first-ever Audience Engagement Fellow. During the 12-month term of her Fellowship, Casey will work full-time with the Center, a Champaign-based nonprofit investigative newsroom focused on agriculture and agribusiness, to build dialogue with the community members and involve them more deeply in the reporting process.

Migrant farm workers file class action lawsuit against Monsanto

A federal class action lawsuit on behalf of two migrant farm workers was filed in federal court last week accusing Monsanto of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Agricultural Workers Protection Act in its treatment of farmworkers who help produce seed corn.

Lawsuits against seed-corn companies shed light on rising use of labor contractors

A two-year investigation by the Midwest Center of Investigative Reporting found, Monsanto and its counterpart in GMO corn production, DuPont Pioneer, have faced repeated allegations of labor violations over the past decade related to a growing use of farm labor contractors.

Here’s a look at some of the complaints.

Foreign investment in U.S. farmland on the rise

Over the past decade, foreign companies have been investing in agricultural land in the United States at a record pace, according to a Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting analysis of USDA data. The data was compiled from 1900 to 2014 under the Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act (AFIDA).

Lack of irrigation reporting leaves uncertain future for Illinois groundwater

Almost 1,000 pivots have been installed in counties statewide in the past four years as a result of higher crop prices and the demand of seed corn companies, an almost 20 percent increase in overall irrigation that equals the use of more than half a million people each year.