by Steffan Browning
Monsanto’s busy lawyers
Last Monday the US Supreme Court found in favour of Monsanto over yet another small farmer. Indiana soybean farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman bought some seeds from a grain company, where other farmers drop off their seed. He only wanted to sow cheap seed so bought what he called ‘junk grain’. It was a mixture of whatever grain had been dropped off at the store but some was Monsanto Roundup Ready Soybean.
Bowman’s lawyer argued that Bowman acquired the Monsanto seeds innocently enough and that his small operation never would threaten the company’s monopoly. But Monsanto won, winning a settlement of $84,456 for infringing Monsanto’s patent rights.
This is yet another demonstration of Monsanto’s determination to squash any small farmer that doesn’t sign up to their way of doing things.
What got him into hot water was that he saved seed from this ‘junk grain’ to plant again next season. Monstanto want to hold rights to generations of seeds forever, and we think that’s wrong.
We can avoid this happening to New Zealand farmers
By not allowing the growing of GE crops here we can ensure that New Zealand farmers aren’t exposed to risk of legal action from Monsanto on these types of issues.
But we can do more. I am gathering support for my amendment to the Patents Bill currently moving through Parliament. This amendment clarifies that patents must not be held over life.
We can all take action against Monsanto
On the 25th of May there is a global action to march against Monsanto.
There are already events organised around the New Zealand, join them or organise a march in your city.