After years of withering criticism by Neil Young, culminating with the upcoming release of his album The Monsanto Years, the agrochemical company Monsanto has responded to the singer in a statement to Billboard.
"Many of us at Monsanto have been and are fans of Neil Young," they wrote. "Unfortunately, for some of us, his current album may fail to reflect our strong beliefs in what we do every day to help make agriculture more sustainable. We recognize there is a lot of misinformation about who we are and what we do – and unfortunately several of those myths seem to be captured in these lyrics."
"The farmer knows he's got to grow what he can sell, Monsanto, Monsanto / So he signs a deal for GMOs that makes life hell with Monsanto, Monsanto," Young sings on the title track. "Every year he buys the patented seeds / Poison-ready they're what the corporation needs, Monsanto."
The Monsanto Years (which comes out on June 29th) also takes on Starbucks for their use of GMOs. "Starbucks has not taken a position on the issue of GMO labeling," the company said. "As a company with stores and a product presence in every state, we prefer a national solution."
Chevron refused to comment on Young's lyrics, though Walmart did bite. "As you might have seen recently, Walmart raised its lowest starting wage to $9 an hour," they told Billboard. "We’re proud of the opportunity we provide people to build a career and have a chance at a better life."
Young's new album was recorded with Promise of the Real, featuring Willie Nelson's sons Micah and Lukas. In a recent interview, Micah said it was "too late in the game for subtle lyrics" and took to Facebook to clarify his thought.
"I never said they aren't powerful," he wrote. "I never said they don't evoke the thought-provoking imagery any true Neil fan would expect. Quite the opposite — these songs are extremely emotional and sung with an urgent passion that only Neil could convey. In fact, I find the raw bluntness of the lyrics to be that much more potent and refreshing, especially in these foggy times of confusion, misinformation, and ever-pervading bullshit."
Neil Young and Promise of the Real kick off their North American summer tour July 5th at the Marcus Ampitheater in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.