Bowman vs Monsanto- David vs Goliath

Monsanto is a little bit worried about this decision. I think they have stacked the court pretty well in their favor, but the most critical aspect that is apparent to me is that if you, as Monsanto has done, create a new life form, can you lay  claim to their progeny? It would be like parents having the ability to contractually control their great grandchildren. We shall soon see what happens! Here’s a Reuters article on the case:

U.S. agriculture wary as Monsanto heads to Supreme Court

Supreme Court next week in a patent battle that could have ramifications for the biotechnologyindustry and possibly the future of food production.

The highest court in the United States will hear arguments on Tuesday in the dispute, which started when soybean farmer Vernon Bowman bought and planted a mix of unmarked grain typically used for animal feed. The plants that grew turned out to contain the popular herbicide-resistant genetic trait known as Roundup Ready that Monsanto guards closely with patents.

The St. Louis, Mo.-based biotech giant accused Bowman of infringing its patents by growing plants that contained its genetics. But Bowman, who grows wheat and corn along with soybeans on about 300 acres inherited from his father, argued that he used second-generation grain and not the original seeds covered by Monsanto’s patents.

A central issue for the court is the extent that a patent holder, or the developer of a genetically modified seed, can control its use through multiple generations of seed.

The Supreme Court’s decision to hear the dispute has sparked broad concerns in the biotech industry as a range of companies fear it will result in limits placed on their own patents of self-replicating technologies.

At the same time, many farmer groups and biotech crop critics hope the Supreme Court might curb what they say is a patent system that gives too much power to biotech seed companies like Monsanto.

“I think the case has enormous implications,” said Dermot Hayes, an Iowa State University agribusiness and economics professor who believes Monsanto should prevail. “If Monsanto were to lose, many companies would have a reduced incentive for research in an area where we really need it right now. The world needs more food.” (full article here)

Monsanto IS Evil on a Stick!

One of the most important cases regarding Monsanto and their monopolistic and unethical control of our seed supply, and therefore our food supply, is coming before the SCOTUS next week. This will be a hugely important ruling for food freedom, farm freedom and environmental concerns.

I wanted to share two things with you on this subject, and have two articles that are inextricably intertwined below:


New CFS Report Exposes Devastating Impact of Monsanto Practices on U.S. Farmers

Today, one week before the Supreme Court hears arguments in Bowman v. Monsanto Co., the Center for Food Safety (CFS) and Save our Seeds (SOS) launched our new report, Seed Giants vs. U.S. Farmers.

The report investigates how the current seed patent regime has led to a radical shift to consolidation and control of global seed supply and how these patents have abetted corporations, such as Monsanto, to sue U.S. farmers for alleged seed patent infringement.

Seed Giants vs. U.S. Farmers also examines broader socio-economic consequences of the present patent system including links to loss of seed innovation, rising seed prices, reduction of independent scientific inquiry, and environmental issues.

Among the report’s discoveries are several alarming statistics:

  • As of January 2013, Monsanto, alleging seed patent infringement, had filed 144 lawsuits involving 410 farmers and 56 small farm businesses in at least 27 different states.
  • Today, three corporations control 53 percent of the global commercial seed market
  • Seed consolidation has led to market control resulting in dramatic increases in the price of seeds. From 1995-2011, the average cost to plant one acre of soybeans has risen 325 percent; for cotton prices spiked 516 percent and corn seed prices are up by 259 percent.

Additionally, Seed Giants vs. U.S. Farmers reports a precipitous drop in seed diversity that has been cultivated for millennia. As the report notes:  86% of corn, 88% of cotton, and 93% of soybeans farmed in the U.S. are now genetically-engineered (GE) varieties, making the option of farming non-GE crops increasingly difficult.

While agrichemical corporations also claim that their patented seeds are leading to environmental improvements, the report notes that upward of 26 percent more chemicals per acre were used on GE crops than on non-GE crops, according to USDA data.

At the launch of the report via teleconference today, experts from the Center for Food Safety and Save our Seeds were joined by Mr. Vernon Hugh Bowman, the 75-year-old Indiana soybean farmer who, next week, will come up against Monsanto in the Supreme Court Case.  When asked about the numerous comparisons being drawn between his case and the story of David and Goliath, Mr. Bowman responded, “I really don’t consider it as David and Goliath. I don’t think of it in those terms. I think of it in terms of right and wrong.”

In December of 2012, the Center for Food Safety and Save Our Seeds submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court on behalf of Mr. Bowman, which supports the right of farmers to re-plant saved seed. Arguments in the case are scheduled for February 19th.

Download the report here: http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Seed-Giants_final.pdf 

75-year-old soybean farmer sees Monsanto lawsuit reach U.S. Supreme Court

 

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Who controls the rights to the seeds planted in the ground? A 75-year-old farmer takes the agricultural giant to court to find out

As David versus Goliath battles go it is hard to imagine a more uneven fight than the one about to play out in front of the US supreme court between Vernon Hugh Bowman and Monsanto.

On the one side is Bowman, a single 75-year-old Indiana soybean farmer who is still tending the same acres of land as his father before him in rural south-western Indiana. On the other is a gigantic multibillion dollar agricultural business famed for its zealous protection of its commercial rights.

Not that Bowman sees it that way. “I really don’t consider it as David and Goliath. I don’t think of it in those terms. I think of it in terms of right and wrong,” Bowman told The Guardian in an interview. (click here to read the full story)