Barbara H. Peterson
You! That’s right, you! Put your hands up and back away from the seed bag…
Taking off the gloves. Throwing down the gauntlet. Making an example. Use any cliche you like. Monsanto’s campaign to stamp out seed piracy could land you in hot water.
Just saving seed? No, you are committing an act of seed piracy, and that my friend, is illegal.
Chaney’s is just one of 475 seed piracy cases nationwide that Monsanto has generated from more than 1,800 leads. Included are growers in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.
But Monsanto says that the company rarely sues farmers:
Sometimes however, we are forced to resort to lawsuits. This is a relatively rare circumstance, with 145 lawsuits filed since 1997 in the United States. This averages about 11 per year for the past 13 years. To date, only 9 cases have gone through full trial. In every one of these instances, the jury or court decided in our favor.
So, which is it? 475 or 145? Could it be that farmers are simply settling out of court to avoid going bankrupt?
Several other farmers are settling with Monsanto. Their payments range from $10,000 to $25,000. The company says it’s pursuing seed piracy cases in order to maintain a level playing field for all growers.
These settlements, as Monsanto describes them, are tough. Along with the cash payments, producers have been asked to destroy the crop, and some must agree to several years of inspections to ensure that saved seed is not planted again.
The fix is in, the game is on. Just pay up or go to court and we win either way. But we rarely get to court because, well, you know, we’ve got connections and a bottomless pocketbook, and you don’t.
I guess that the only time a seed piracy case counts in the “Monsanto Playbook” is when sheer intimidation and coercion fail to accomplish the task and the company is forced to resort to the court system. Cases that culminate in a settlement when the bankrupt farmer can no longer afford to pay an attorney must not count. After all, according to Monsanto, the company rarely sues farmers for seed piracy. They are just trying to keep the playing field level as an advocate for all farmers. GMO farmers, that is…
”We believe most growers are honest business people who will not illegally save Roundup Ready soybeans,” Dorsey says. ”But growers have told us they expect us to keep the playing field level. If they can’t save Roundup Ready soybeans, they don’t want their neighbors to save them either. We view it as our responsibility to ensure there is a level playing field.”
So, just to be fair to everyone concerned, it is Monsanto’s civic duty to make sure that any and all farmers caught illegally saving seed, or illegally growing it on their property whether or not they actually planted it, are thoroughly disciplined, chastised and made to pay through the nose.
Therefore, if you happen to know of anyone who is illegally using Monsanto’s patented transgenic mutations, please report it to the Seed Snitch Hotline where there will be an operator available to take your calls and record your information.
Information on illegal saved or ‘brown bag’ genetically engineered seeds can be reported to Monsanto by calling this number: 1-800-523-2333
And remember, if it’s good for Monsanto, it’s good for you. A little transgenic DNA mixed with Glyphosate never hurt anyone. Just ask us!
Monsanto is watching…
©2014 Barbara H. Peterson