Missouri Minute: Migrant labor abuse allegations against Monsanto; more cuts to UM System budget

Here are today’s top business headlines from across Missouri:

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

Each year, seed-corn companies like Monsanto bring in thousands of laborers to produce their hybrid corn seeds, most of which are genetically modified. The companies sell the seeds to farmers worldwide, in what has become an $11-billion GMO corn industry. In a two-year investigation of GMO seed-corn production, the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting found repeated allegations of labor violations over the past decade against Monsanto, its counterpart DuPont Pioneer, other seed companies and the companies’ contractors. Read more

With more cuts to UM System, programs under review

University of Missouri System and campus leaders will spend the coming weeks reviewing the future of two planned partnerships and developing a long-term budget strategy that will address $11 million in cuts to core funding. The review is a response to withholdings ordered by Gov. Eric Greitens last week. Greitens announced on Friday that $251 million was being withheld from the state budget, $11 million of which would be cut from the UM System budget and $12 million from Department of Higher Education cooperative programs. Read more

Controversial St. Louis ordinance targeted by Greitens seen as largely symbolic

The main bill working its way through Missouri Legislature during the special session Gov. Eric Greitens called over abortion regulation puts tougher restrictions on abortion clinics in the state and also includes language that would protect agencies that promote alternatives to abortion. But experts say the bill’s effect on an anti-discrimination ordinance St. Louis passed earlier this year is not entirely clear. Read more

St. Louis negotiating with Uber, Lyft over Lambert Airport pick-up fees

A plan outlining rules for ride-hailing companies at St. Louis Lambert International Airport has been delayed amid negotiations with industry leaders Uber and Lyft on the fees their drivers should pay. A proposed $6-a-trip pickup fee was removed from the agenda for Wednesday’s Airport Commission meeting because of the behind-the-scenes talks between the two companies and Mayor Lyda Krewson and her top legal adviser, city officials said. Read more

Why do women get such a small share of venture capital?

Women account for about 40 percent of founders of U.S. companies but get only 2 percent of the nation’s venture capital investments. It’s long been proffered that women tend to start “lifestyle businesses” with lower growth paths and thus seek less money, but an academic study to be presented in August at the annual Academy of Management conference suggests the funding disparity also lies in questions entrepreneurs are asked by potential investors. Read more

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