A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Minnesota and Iowa State University links Monsanto’s genetically modified crops to a drastic decline in monarch butterfly populations. According to the study’s authors, the number of monarch eggs in the Midwest declined by approximately 81 percent between 1999 and 2010, a period during which genetically modified crops became standard in the agricultural industry. Researchers say the rise of herbicide-resistant corn and soybean crops has enabled farmers to eradicate weeds easily—including milkweed, which serves as the host plant for monarch eggs and caterpillars. In light of these findings, some conservationists are proposing an increase in cultivating monarch habitats in pastures, gardens, and other areas outside agricultural fields.
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