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Friday, February 24, 2012

ORGANIC FARMERS THREATENED WITH THEIR LIVELIHOOD SUE MONSANTO OVER GMO SEEDS




Organic farmers are fighting for their livelihoods against the GMO seed giant Monsanto. Monsanto's pollen, from their GMO field crops, infect non-- GMO crops through wind and animal dispersal. Many times this results in the conventional  farmer's crops to fail. In what is an unfair playing board -- Monsanto then turns around and slaps a lawsuit on the farmer, who inherited the  GMO contaminated crops unbeknownst to him/her, for growing Monsanto patented seeds.  Monsanto sues the farmer for  thousands of dollars and usually wins. Many times bankrupting the farmer. 

The Union of Concerned Scientists has this to say about genetically engineered seeds (GMOs) in agriculture; "  (it) has failed to deliver on many of its promised benefits, and has produced some serious unintended consequences. Yet the USDA seems determined to regulate GMOs as little as possible."


Today about 90 percent of conventionally grown soybeans, corn, canola and sugar beets are grown with GMO seeds. 70 percent of food in grocery stores have GMO ingredients.  The Triple Pundit  blog is a storehouse of information on Mansanto and their infamous seeds. 


At the bottom of this post is a press release issued by the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association that outlines the lawsuit against Monsanto genetically modified (GMO)  seeds by American farmers. 


REFERENCES:


Farm Aid
Activist Willie Nelson is part and parcel of this organization. 


The World According To Monsanto
This is one of the best videos I have viewed about Monsanto and its history of industrial chemicals. I wish that everyone could take the time to watch it. It is well documented and presented. 

PRESS RELEASE:
Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association
OSGATA v. Monsanto 
2/2/2012
For Immediate Release
Contact:
Jim Gerritsen
(207) 429-9765

Will Farmers Receive Justice?
New York, New York - February, 2 2012 - It was standing room only as family farmers from around North America filled Federal Court Judge Naomi Buchwald's courtroom in Manhattan on Tuesday, January 31.  The topic was the landmark organic community lawsuit OSGATA et al v. Monsanto and the oral argument Monsanto's pre-trial motion to dismiss which it filed last July. Plaintiffs from at least 21 States and Provinces were in the courtroom including Oregon, California, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Saskatchewan, Missouri, Iowa, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine.


Citizen's Assembly. Courtesy of Simran Sethi
Meanwhile, outside the courthouse in Foley Square, hundreds turned out for the Citizen's Assembly of support for family farmers, an action organized by several 
groups including Occupy Food Justice.  A depiction of Monsanto's infamous 100 year history including Agent Orange, Dioxin, PCBs and now gene-spliced food was presented.  Speakers addressed topics ranging from sustainable agriculture to risks associated with GMOs to issues of good food and food justice. After the conclusion of the courtroom oral argument, the plaintiff farmers and their legal team from the Public Patent Foundation provided details and comments on the courtroom proceedings, to supporters at the Citizens' Assembly.

"We were very pleased that the court granted our request to have oral argument regarding Monsanto's motion to dismiss our case today," said Daniel Ravicher of the Public Patent Foundation, lead lawyer for the Plaintiffs.  "The judge graciously permitted both parties to raise all the points they wished in a session that lasted over an hour.  While Monsanto's attorney attempted to portray the risk organic farmers face from being contaminated and then accused of patent infringement as hypothetical and abstract, we rebutted those arguments with the concrete proof of the harm being suffered by our clients in their attempts to avoid such accusations.  The judge indicated she will issue her ruling within two months.  We expect she will deny the motion and the case will then proceed forward.  If she should happen to grant the motion, we will most likely appeal to the Court of Appeals who will review her decision without deference."

The large group of 83 Plaintiffs in OSGATA v. Monsanto is comprised of individual family farmers, independent seed companies and agricultural organizations. The total number of members within the plaintiff group exceeds 300,000 and includes many thousands of certified organic farmers.  The Plaintiffs are not seeking any monetary compensation.  Instead, the farmers are pre-emptively suing Monsanto and seeking court protection under the Declaratory Judgment Act,  from Monsanto-initiated patent infringement lawsuits 

President of lead Plaintiff, Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, Maine organic seed farmer Jim Gerritsen was in the courtroom and witnessed the oral argument. Gerritsen had this to say, "Our lawyer did a good job explaining the current injustice farmers face. We have a right to be secure on our farms and to be free from Monsanto's GMO trespass. If we become contaminated by Monsanto, not only is the value of our organic seed crop extinguished but we could also be sued by Monsanto for patent infringement because their contamination results in our 'possession' of their GMO technology. We have farmers who have stopped growing organic corn, organic canola and organic soybeans because they can't risk being sued by Monsanto. It's not fair and it's not right. Family farmers need justice and we deserve the protection of the court."

Early on in the legal process, Monsanto was asked by lawyers for the Plaintiffs to provide a binding legal covenant not to sue. Monsanto refused this request and in doing so made clear that it would not give up its option to sue contaminated innocent family farmers who want nothing to do with Monsanto's GMO technology.

In a remarkable demonstration of solid support by American citizens for family farmers, co-plaintiff Food Democracy Now! has collected over 100,000 signatures on it's petition supporting the rights of family farmers against Monsanto. "For the past 12,000 years farmers have saved the best seeds each year to increase yields and improve traits for the food we eat," said Dave Murphy, founder and Executive Director of Food Democracy Now! "In 1996, when Monsanto sold its first patented genetically modified (GMO) seed to farmers, this radically changed the idea of how farmers planted and saved seed. Less than two decades later, Monsanto's aggressive patent infringement lawsuits have created a climate of fear in rural America among farmers. It's time for that to end. Farmers should not have to live in fear because they are growing our food."

    A complete 36 page transcript of the Oral Argument is available here.
   Further information on OSGATA v. Monsanto is available at osgata.org and pubpat.org

16 comments:

  1. In the face of the overwhelming cloud of Menstanto what can an individual do but beat his chest and wail. I suppose one could move to the Australian outback and probably starve.

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    1. June -- Don't move to Australia -- they are heavily into GMO agriculture. I would suggest buying certified organic to avoid GMOs. Also support the CA bill in Nov. to force Monsanto to start labeling GMOs. I still believe France does not allow GMOs or maybe it is that it has to be labeled. How would you like to live in France? -- barbara

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  2. Thanks for publishing this Barbara. I only learned about what Monsanto has been up to a couple of months ago and certainly had no idea, at all, the amount of GMO's in the stores. I was still thinking it would be a thing of the future. My guess is many people aren't aware of how prevalent GMOs are today.

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    1. Rubye Jack -- Well Monsanto doesn't help the situation of publicly informing folks that many foods have GMOs in the foods they buy. They have worked with the USDA to make sure that the word GMO does not appear on the label when it is contained in the product. Thanks -- barbara

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  3. Hear hear, Barbara. Can't shed enough light on this incorporated darkness...

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    1. Thanks Robert. I tried to get into your Mansanto page but it was closed for some reason. CA is attempting that GMOs be labelled in their state -- don't know if you are aware of that. It is going to be on the Nov 2012 state ballot. Of course Monsanto is fighting it tooth and nail. Again thanks -- barbara

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  4. I watched this on Food, Inc. A great documentary, which I do suggest. I side with organics all the way.

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    1. Michelle -- I was not familiar with the documentary until recently. It sure was well put together. Glad to hear you are an organics family. -- barbara

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  5. Big business is big business whether its is in GMO or in other brqanches. Only the consequences grow larger and larger.

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  6. You are certainly right -- the consequences do grow larger and larger -- thanks Rune -- barbara

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  7. This is such a mistake -- you may be sure I'll look carefully when I order seeds.

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    1. Vicki -- The best way to be assured that you are not getting GMO seeds is to buy organic seeds as they are not allowed to to put GMOs in organics. Otherwise since their is no label requirement on regular seeds -- you have no way of knowing if they contain GMOs.

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    1. Birdman -- Mansanto's next drive is to put GMOs in corn for consumers. -- barbara

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  9. So glad to be back :) missed being here.

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    1. Nice that you are back -- you posts are always lovely -- barbara

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