[A2k] Deal With the Devil: Monsanto vs Own Growers
Riaz K Tayob
riaz.tayob at gmail.com
Thu Oct 11 01:37:54 PDT 2012
Deal With the Devil: Monsanto vs Own Growers
By Tim McCoy, Natural Society
09 October 12
he case of Vernon Bowman v Monsanto is headed to the Supreme Court, a
case in which Monsanto is fighting against one of its own GMO farmers.
Mr. Bowman is a farmer from Indiana who grows soybeans, and has
challenged the biotech giant over its official agreement. Bowman started
buying Monsanto's GMO soybeans in 1999 and signed the Monsanto
Technology Stewardship Agreement (MTSA), which is detailed below. Bowman
adhered to the MTSA for these seed purchases and did not save the seeds
for replanting in subsequent years, per the contract.
However, in 2007 Bowman bought some seeds from a grain elevator that
contained Monsanto's GMO soy seeds in the mixture that he used for a
late-season second planting. Bowman did save and replant the Monsanto
GMO seeds from this second generation batch.
Monsanto does authorize growers to sell their second-generation seed to
grain elevators as a commodity and does not require restrictions on
grain elevators' subsequent sales of that seed.
From Monsanto's Technology Stewardship Agreement:
* To plant and/or clean Seed for Seed production, if and only if,
Grower has entered into a valid, written Seed production agreement
with a Seed company that is licensed by Monsanto to produce Seed.
Grower must either physically deliver to that licensed Seed company
or must sell for non-seed purposes or use for non-seed purposes all
of the Seed produced pursuant to a Seed production agreement. Grower
may not plant and may not transfer to others for planting any Seed
that the Grower has produced containing patented Monsanto
Technologies for crop breeding, research, or generation of herbicide
Despite Monsanto allowing seed to be sold to grain elevators and
restriction-free sales of those seeds by the grain elevators, a lower
court ruled that growers who buy second generation seeds and plant them
infringe on Monsanto's patent when new seeds self-replicate, creating
new genetic material, seeds and plants.
Bowman contends that Monsanto's patent is exhausted after seeds have
been sold to a grain elevator and that it is foreseeable and natural
that seeds would be used for their intended purpose of planting.
If Bowman wins, Monsanto will suffer an economic blow because farmers
will be able to buy cheaper second generation GMO seeds that they can
save and re-plant. If Monsanto wins, 'patent exhaustion' legal
definitions and rulings will be turned on their head and will have to be
modified for self-replicating products.
Either way it works out, the proliferation of GMO crops will likely
increase --- a major problem from the citizens of the world. That is why
it is essential that we continue to push for Prop 37, the GMO labeling
bill centered in California. Meanwhile, this Supreme Court case is an
open display in how Monsanto will even turn on its own growers for profits.
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