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Monsanto Versus Farmers

Monsanto Versus Farmers

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Published by Redza
Feudalism has returned to farming in the US and Canada, according to the US Center for Food Safety’s report detailing the domination over American staple crops by the corporations and their ruthless prosecution of farmers.
ISIS Report 28/04/05 http://www.i-sis.org.uk/MonsantovsFarmers.php
Feudalism has returned to farming in the US and Canada, according to the US Center for Food Safety’s report detailing the domination over American staple crops by the corporations and their ruthless prosecution of farmers.
ISIS Report 28/04/05 http://www.i-sis.org.uk/MonsantovsFarmers.php

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Published by: Redza on May 13, 2009
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Monsanto versus Farmershttp://www.i-sis.org.uk/MonsantovsFarmers.php1 of 55/14/2009 12:06 AM
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ISIS Report 28/04/05
Monsanto versus Farmers
The world’s biggest genetically engineered seed owner destroystime-honoured traditions of seed saving and drives Americanfarmers to destitution and bankruptcy 
.Sam Burcher
Odds stacked against farmers
Feudalism has returned to farming in the US and Canada,according to the US Center for Food Safety’s report detailing thedomination over American staple crops by the corporations andtheir ruthless prosecution of farmers.Once the ink is dried on the "technology agreements" signed bythe farmers buying genetically modified (GM) seed, they enterinto contracts that effectively relinquish to Monsanto their rightto plant, harvest and sell the GM seed. From that moment on,they are also vulnerable to harassment such as having theirproperty investigated, litigations and out of court settlementsthat are part and parcel of licensing a Monsanto patentedproduct.No grower is safe from this onslaught as third generationCanadian farmer Percy Schmeiser discovered when he lost toMonsanto in court for failing to pay royalties on GM canola seedthat had contaminated his non-GM canola crop. "Thecorporations are becoming the barons and lords, which are whatmy grandparents thought they had escaped." Schmeiser said.To-date, Monsanto has filed 90 lawsuits against Americanfarmers; and 147 farmers and 39 small businesses or farmcompanies have had to fight for their lives to avoid payingadditional court costs, attorneys’ fees, and in some cases, costsincurred by Monsanto while investigating themThe Center for Food Safety estimates that Monsanto has beenawarded over $15 million for judgments granted in their favour.The largest recorded single payment received from one farmerwas US$3 052 800 (Farmer Anderson, Case no. 4:01: CV-01749).
Monsanto controls US staple crops by licence
For the first time in history, one company has unprecedentedcontrol of the sale and use of crop seed. They have
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Monsanto versus Farmershttp://www.i-sis.org.uk/MonsantovsFarmers.php2 of 55/14/2009 12:06 AM
accomplished this in three main ways: control of germplasmthrough ownership of seed companies; domination of genetictechnology and seeds through patent acquisitions; and breakingage-old farming tradition by forcing farmers to buy new seedeach year rather than saving and re-planting seed.Buying or merging with most of the major seed companies,including their recent acquisition of the giant fruit andvegetable seed company Seminis, has made Monsanto’s thelargest GM seed vendor in the world, providing 90% of the GMseed sown globally. It has also cornered most of the soybeanmarket and 50% of the corn germplasm market in the US. Andif Monsanto doesn’t actually own the seed purchasingcompanies, it has been known to impose the condition that aminimum of 70% (reduced from 90% by governmentregulators) of its patented seeds are sold by subsidiarycompanies. This ensures that its seeds are the most readilyavailable to farmers.American farmers are hard pushed to find high quality,conventional varieties of corn, soy and cottonseed. Anecdotalevidence supports this. Troy Roush, an Indiana soybean farmersays, "You can’t even purchase them in this market. They arenot available." Similar reports come from the corn and cottonfarmers who say, "There are not too many seeds available thatare not genetically altered in some way."Over the last 10 000 years, diverse genetic pools have beencreated and preserved by plant breeders. Monsanto has putthese diverse gene pools at risk by contaminating certified andtraditional seed stocks, and by not permitting farmers to saveseeds. A feudal system of seed ownership destroys perhaps thekey privilege of a farmer as the guardian of societies’ cropheritage. And it has turned agriculture into an industry wherethe corporations consolidate their hold over costly seeds andchemicals that increase farmers spending on inputs. Meanwhilemonopolies are created in corporate manipulated markets thatinclude fewer buyers who demand the lowest possible prices forthe outputs produced by farmers, forcing them into a debtspiral. In 2003 Monsanto made $3.1 billion in pesticide salesand $1.6 billion in seed sales.Farmers are under pressure to confirm their identity as modernagriculturalists, particularly in developing countries. Butreplacing the traditional strategy of saving and replanting seedsfrom diverse varieties by a patented seed with all its restrictionsthreatens food security at household and global levels.
Patents place the burden on farmers
Over the past twenty years, Monsanto has voraciouslyaccumulated collected patents on engineered plants, seeds andgenetic engineering techniques, perhaps most importantly, thecauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV) 35S promoter, the commonestcomponent in the genetic engineer’s toolbox. Along withCaMV35S, which other biotech companies pay exorbitant fees tolicense, Monsanto owns 647 plant biotech patents and a 29%share of all biotech research and development.Patents have changed the face of farming because the farmer
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Monsanto versus Farmershttp://www.i-sis.org.uk/MonsantovsFarmers.php3 of 55/14/2009 12:06 AM
has lost control of seeds. Once farmers paid royalties on seed tothe US Plant Variety Protection Act or Canada Plant BreedersRights Act licensees who allowed seed saving. Since the 1980s,the US Patent and Trademark Office began issuing patents forGM organisms and seeds and have granted more than 2 000since 1985. Professor Lawrence Busch of Michigan StateUniversity estimates the saving of soybean seed dropped from31% in 1991 to just 10% in 2001 after the introduction of theGM soybean; this translates into an additional $374 million inseed industry profits in 2001.Robert Schubert, the author of 
Farming’s New Feudalism
believes than an important strategy in saving independentfarmers is to remove agriculture, food and water from thecontrol of the WTO. His message is no "free" trade wherefarming is concerned and no patents.When Monsanto suspects that saved seed containing a"Monsanto genetic trait," have been grown, documentation isrequested from the farmers to confirm that the crop wasplanted from newly purchased seed. If proof is not forthcoming,then all of the growers’ fields may be tested and inspected todetermine if saved seed was used. Even after the farmer hasextricated himself from Monsanto technology agreements, if volunteer plants sprout up in his fields from transgenic seedspurchased and sown from previous years, he is still vulnerableto allegations of patent infringement.
Farmers intimidated by Monsanto
Here’s what typically happens to US farmers who fall undersuspicion of planting saved seed. Private investigators from thePinkerton agency hired by Monsanto arrive on the farm withoutwarning, sometimes accompanied by local police. They thenproceed to take samples and photographs over the course of afew hours to a few weeks, without the farmer being present.One Mississippi farmer who runs a farm shop from hisfarmhouse was subjected to constant surveillance by Monsantoinvestigators who watched the family coming and going,warned off customers, and even rented an empty lot across thestreet from where to position their cameras.Monsanto used entrapment to file a lawsuit against anotherfarmer, when one of their investigators begged seeds from himto help solve an erosion problem too late in the season to plantcrops. If personal intimidation fails, Monsanto resorts to anotherviolation of privacy by sending a registered letter threatening to"tie the farmer up in court for years" if he refuses to settle outof court for patent infringement. One farmer who challengedthis intimidation had his name blacklisted on thousands of seeddealers’ lists. He concedes, "It is easier to give into them than itis to fight them."A further example is seed dealers who sell seeds in plain brownbags so farmers sow them unknowingly. This happened toFarmer Thomason who was harassed into court by Monsantoand sued for over a million dollars. He had no choice but to filefor bankruptcy despite never intending to plant Bt cotton.

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