Does Monsanto Have the Right To Control Seeds?

Does Monsanto Have the Right To Control Seeds? post image

In the next few weeks a 75 year old soybean farmer will face off with Monsanto in front of the US supreme court. This lawsuit has been filed on Bowman’s behalf by sustainable food and farming organizations, the Center for Food Safety and Save Our Seeds. Mr. Bowman farms the land his father farmed in rural south-western Indiana for over 4 decades and has refused to settle with Monsanto after being accused of planting Monsanto seeds without paying for the privilege. Sort of sounds like paying for protection doesn’t it?

Monsanto Scatters Their Own Seeds

We have seen cases of Monsanto accusing farmers of planting their GM seeds and not paying the huge patent fees. Sometimes this happens simply because the seeds are blown on the wind from neighboring fields (or, it’s been intimated that Monsanto purposely sends trucks to drive past the land and scatter the seeds). The farmer is accused and sued by Monsanto.

In this business model, farmers cannot practice the prudent and age old tradition of seed saving. This forces them to purchase new Monsanto seeds each year. The company has filed lawsuits around the country to enforce its policy against saving the seeds for the future. Who let this happen?

The Right To Buy Seeds

Bowman claims he has the right to buy “junk grain” from local grain elevators for a second planting. Monsanto claims that they maintain patent rights on the GM seeds even if sold by a third party with no restrictions put on its use – even if the seeds are not even the original Monsanto GM seeds, but descendents.

Monsanto has sued Bowman for $84,456 and won. Bowman has now appealed all the way to the supreme court. he said,

I made up my mind to fight it until I could not fight it anymore… I thought: I am not going to play dead.

Who Controls the Right to Seeds Planted in the Ground

This is essentially the issue of modern farming today. Does a company who has invested billions of dollars in research and development get to dictate and control farmers by not allowing them to save seed?

Monsanto insists that fully protecting patent rights is vital to preserve a commercial incentive to develop and refine new products with innovative biotechnology.

Farm Groups to Examine Modern Seed Industry

Center for Food Safety Executive Director, Andrew Kimbrell said.

Mr. Bowman’s case represents a systemic crisis in US agriculture… through a patenting system that favors the rights of corporations over the rights of farmers and citizens, our food and farming system is being held hostage by a handful of companies.  Nothing less than the future of food is at stake.

The Center for Food Safety and Save Our Seeds will release a joint report examining the modern seeds industry. These groups believe that a victory for Bowman could open up the seed industry as a common resource, not a commercial enterprise.

Three Huge Corporations Control Seeds

This could be a huge win for all farmers. As it is, there are only 3 companies that control more than 50% of the global seed market. They are interested in preserving their patent rights, but also in their lucrative business model that requires farmers to agree to not save seeds.

Clearly Monsanto is unsupportive of even their conventional farmers like Bowman. Monsanto is focused on preserving their business model for an obvious reason.

In A Perfect World

In a perfect world we could get rid of Monsanto and the other companies like it, who claim to be feeding the world, when, in fact, they are destroying the earth, the soil and our heritage of seeds. We need to nurture small farmers who use heirloom seeds that have not been contaminated with genetic engineering.

Since it is not a perfect world, and since Monsanto recently bought up Seminis, the largest fruit and vegetable seed company, home gardeners need to be super careful about where to purchase the seeds for their gardens.

Read this very informative article at The Healthy Home Economist for more information about how to ensure that you do not buy seeds from a company associated with Monsanto.

Source and Source

This post is shared at: Thank Your Body Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Fresh Bites Friday, Fight Back Friday, Small Footprint Friday, Barnyard Hop, Hearth & Soul Hop, Real Food Wednesday, Mommy Club, Seasonal Celebration, Wildcrafting Wednesday, HomeAcre Hop

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Leave a Comment

  • Erin Ter Beest February 13, 2013, 11:27 pm

    Thanks so much for writing about this. I think it is such an important and over-looked issue in our food system. How can we ever hope to see people returning on a large scale to traditional foods if the entire food system is controlled by a handful of companies?

    Not only is Monsanto in the business of taking over the food system, but all seeds in general. I live in Wisconsin, and my husband and I took a short trip last summer to a local nursery that has been selling native prairie grasses for years. Upon arriving we found the man who had diligently collected and saved all the seeds that were sold at the nursery. He informed us that he had to shut down the business because of an “emergency” law passed by the state legislature that would force him to pay for private labs to test all of his seed varieties before he could sell them. The cost for testing the 300+ types of seed he had would be more than a year’s worth of income for him. We were greatly angered after talking to him and looked up the legislation when we got home. Guess what company was a major player in getting it passed? Yep…Monsanto!

    I’m looking forward to reading Sarah’s post on how to keep Monsanto OUT of my garden! :)

    • Jill February 14, 2013, 7:56 am

      So sad, frustrating and infuriating!

  • Jill February 14, 2013, 9:02 am

    What I don’t understand is why Monsanto, if they REALLY don’t want anyone to save their seeds, doesn’t engineer their seeds to be sterile? That way no one could save their seeds even if they wanted to. If F1 hybrid seeds can’t reproduce, surely it would be a simple procedure to make GE seeds sterile in their second generations too, right? Unless….MAYBE they WANT them to spread (reproduce) to non-GE crops and for farmers to technically have the ability to save their seeds so that they (Monsanto) can have grounds for future law suits. They have created the perfect set up for obscene wealth for their company made off the misfortunes of farmers everywhere.

    • Jill February 14, 2013, 12:05 pm

      It IS obscene!

      • Laura @ Stealthy Mom February 18, 2013, 12:27 pm

        There is a gene called Terminator that makes a plant sterile. It’s in some GMOs like alfalfa, where a stand is sometimes planted once and reseeded occasionally. If your hayfield dies every year instead of becoming a permanent pasture you will be stick in the GMO loop.

        If your neighbour’s field’s pollen with the Terminator gene blows into your field, wouldn’t it kill off your pasture, too?

  • Linda February 14, 2013, 10:07 am

    I agree with you, Jill. They are ruining the earth in their quest to own all seeds. They are way too powerful, but I have hope that something will turn around and they will lose.

  • Jessica February 14, 2013, 12:49 pm

    If only farmers would not buy GM seed from greedy companies like Monsanto. If only Monsanto (and the others) would die a quick, painful death because ‘We The People’ refused to support them in all ways. I hope this lawsuit awakens other farmers to this nonsense, that I can’t believe is “legal”!

  • Laura @ Stealthy Mom February 18, 2013, 12:32 pm

    As a resident of rural Iowa, I can tell you that Monsanto, Bayer et al have brainwashed the masses. Our local grocery store cannot carry organic produce because no one will buy it even at a steep discount. When I proudly wear an “Eat No GMOs” shirt down the street I get hostile looks. “Greenie” is a derogatory term for anyone more concerned with the future of the planet than immediate profits.

  • Kristen February 19, 2013, 2:37 pm

    Seems to be the topic in many arenas. A friend posted this to Facebook this morning.

  • Lisa Lynn February 20, 2013, 7:51 pm

    I would love to have you link up to The HomeAcre Hop this evening!

  • Joan @ The Chicken Mama February 21, 2013, 12:54 am

    I can only say that Monsanto makes my head hurt. And my heart hurt. There’s so many things wrong with their evil empire. With bottomless money pockets, it’s hard to imagine how they will ever be stopped.

  • Kathy @ Mind Body and Sole February 21, 2013, 3:15 am

    Ugh! Monsanto. Vile. What more can I say. Thanks for spreading the message on Wildcrafting Wednesday.

  • April @ The 21st Century Housewife February 21, 2013, 9:27 am

    I still find it hard to believe that a multinational company has managed to convince the powers that be that saving seeds is a crime. Monsanto have a lot to answer for, and I am sure that one day, they will be made to answer! I’m praying for a victory for Mr Bowman.

  • Rob @ Bepa's Garden February 21, 2013, 4:31 pm

    Great post! I am a backyard farmer soon to be small organic farmer and it is getting harder and harder to find organic heirloom varieties. Over the past few years I have started saving my own seeds and building my own seed bank to try and preserve some of the varieties that I like growing. We are in the process of creating a school garden and are trying to promote only organic heirlooms, healthy eating and also bring awareness to the poor condition of our food supply. It’s scary.

  • Judy @Savoring Today February 23, 2013, 1:30 pm

    We were just talking about this at dinner last night with friends — yes, we decided we had in fact solved all the worlds problems in just 2 1/2 hours. 😉 Anyway, I’ll be sending this along to them this morning — thanks for such a great, informative post, Jill.

  • Preppy Pink Crocodile February 23, 2013, 7:52 pm

    Earlier in the week I was reading that the case in front of the Supreme Court this week seems to be siding, though no verdict has yet come out, with Monsanto. Just completely tragic. Food system bulleys!


  • Le Frank July 19, 2013, 7:09 pm

    Monsanto had no right to take the original seeds out of circulation and tamper with nature. The GM dictator supremacists are in with the bankers, multi-nationals, warmongers and world government groups. You cannot reason with these people they are driven by a fanatical drive for total power that few people understand. For centuries they have created divisions in society and set nation against nation so that they could divide and rule. It needs all people to unite against them and retake control of the world’s resources, and the many countries, and commerce that we have lost to them. White man get off your knees you have let yourselves and everyone else down.