Monsanto vs Farmer 2005 - pdf
20 January 2005
Dear friends and colleagues,
RE: MONSANTO VS US FARMERS
We wish to bring to your attention a new report by the Center of Food Safety entitled "Monsanto vs. US Farmers" which documents the extent to which American farmers have been impacted by litigation arising from the use of patented genetically engineered crops produced by Monsanto.
In general, Monsanto's efforts to prosecute farmers can be divided into three stages: investigations of farmers, out-of-court settlements, and litigation against farmers Monsanto believes are in breach of contract or engaged in patent infringement. The report notes that, to date, Monsanto has filed 90 lawsuits against American farmers in 25 states that involve 147 farmers and 39 small businesses or farm companies. Monsanto has set aside an annual budget of US$10 million dollars and a staff of 75 devoted solely to investigating and prosecuting farmers.
"Monsanto would like nothing more than to be the sole source for staple crop seeds in this country and around the world," said Joseph Mendelson, Center for Food Safety legal director. "And it will aggressively overturn centuries-old farming practices and drive its own clients out of business through lawsuits to achieve this goal."
The largest recorded judgment that was found thus far in favor of Monsanto as a result of a farmer lawsuit is US$3,052,800.00. Total recorded judgments granted to Monsanto for lawsuits amount to US$15,253,602.82. Farmers have paid an average of US$412,259.54 for cases with recorded judgments. Many farmers have to pay additional court and attorney fees and are sometimes even forced to pay the costs Monsanto incurs while investigating them.
Farmers even have been sued after their fields were contaminated by pollen or seed from someone else's genetically engineered crop; when seed from a previous year's crop has sprouted, or "volunteered," in fields planted with non-genetically engineered varieties the following year; and when they never signed Monsanto's Technology Agreement but still planted the patented crop seed. In all of these cases, because of the way patent law has been applied, farmers are technically liable. It does not appear to matter if the use was unwitting or if a contract was never signed.
The Executive summary of the report is attached below. The full report can be downloaded here.
Also please find an IPS report related to the new study.
With best wishes,
Lim Li Lin and Chee Yoke Heong
Third World Network
121-S Jalan Utama
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