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An Illinois Monsanto facility on May 19, 2015.

A billionaire and a senator turn their attention to Monsanto, Syngenta

As news of a possible Monsanto-Syngenta merger keeps rolling out, multiple media outlets are reporting that two noteworthy figures have gotten involved with the process. Billionaire investor John Paulson of Paulson & Co. has took on a large number of shares in the Swiss chemical company Syngenta, according to reports from Bloomberg Business. The moves could signal support of a takeover.

An Illinois farmer holds GMO soybean seeds on Jan. 26, 2015. U.S. Department of Agriculture data shows that roughly 90 percent of all soybean acres are planted with GMO seeds.

U.S. House of Representatives moves on GMO labeling bill

A bill that would prohibit state-level legislation on GMO labeling took a step forward in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday. Known as the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015, the bill seeks to create overarching federal legislation that only makes labeling optional. The bill was originally introduced in March by republican Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas.

The BP gas station on Philo Road in Urbana, Ill., on March 5, 2015.

Farmers, advocates rally against renewable fuel cuts

Hundreds of farmers and industry advocates used a Kansas hearing in late June to rally against recent cuts in ethanol mandates. The Environmental Protection Agency proposed to cut billions of gallons from renewable fuel mandates for 2014 through 2016. Corn ethanol cuts alone total nearly 4 billion gallons.

Apgar Farms representative Tom Austin demonstrates some of the data available on the Climate Corporation app used at the farm's operation near Tuscola, Ill., on June 10, 2015.

Monsanto’s Climate Corporation using big data to inform farmers

Monsanto is predominately in the seed business, but the St. Louis-based company has dabbled in the data business, as well. Its Climate Corporation allows farmers to use cell phones and laptops to analyze hyper-local weather data and monitor weather trends. Farmers say the improved data service has helped become more efficient in a changing climate.

A storm hovers over an Illinois rural landscape on May 29, 2015. Extreme weather is likely to become more common in the Midwest under climate change conditions, according researchers and federal reports.

GMOs, Monsanto and the fight against climate change

Two decades ago, less than 10 percent of corn and soybean acres were planted with genetically engineered seeds. Last year, nearly every single acre of corn and soybean was planted with GMOs. U.S. Department of Agriculture data shows St. Louis-based seed company Monsanto has propelled that rapid increase.

Severe weather in Champaign County, Ill., on May 30, 2015.

Sneak peek: GMOs, Monsanto and the fight against climate change

Highlights from the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting's package on GMOs and climate change. In the last 20 years, U.S. farmers have widely turned to genetically engineered seeds to help counter more prevalent pests and other climate change consequences. U.S. Department of Agriculture data on genetically engineered crops shows which companies have fueled that trend.