I’ve got a new company slogan for Monsanto, “PROFESSIONAL THIEVES & LIARS”
By: S.D. Fields
The warning signs have been around for years, so have the predictions. When I was a kid I remember a conversation between my dad and two neighbors. It was spring planting season during the mid 1970’s and we were standing along the road visiting. The focus of these men was the PVPA label on the bags of soybean seed. One remarked “You wait, one of these days those bastards will end up stealing this from us!” At the time and for several years to follow I had no clue what they where talking about; but I do now.
The PVPA was not a totally welcome event. Our genetic infrastructure had been loaned to private industry to enhance & market under their label. The fears were soothed by the exemption from infringement of “farmers’ right to save seed”.
Fast forward twenty five years. The ignorance of Congress to foresee the future when designing a reward system for plant breeders has been exploited. The introduction of biotechnology brought about an entirely new set of language. What was once referred to as enhancement by the “Plant Variety and Protection Act, (PVPA) is now called intellectual property. The checks and balances established and honored by the PVPA has been deleted by the use of patent law. Added expense and “no seed saving” restrictions also followed. The public was furious, along with farmers and seed companies alike.
Farmers were slow to warm up to this new concept. Yield drag, arrogant company reps, a confusing document to sign and an added $5.00 per unit technology fee (a fee which has increased substantially many times since) were common complaints. The added expense was soothed by a promise it would go away when the development investment was recouped. This turned out to be a predatory lie. The only reason the concept took off was purely coincidental.
The chemical event farmers relied on was called” Pursuit”. Its effectiveness wore out almost overnight; weeds became immune, and farmers were thirsty for something to work with. Seed companies took potshots in the media against this new marketing behavior. The use of our genetic infrastructure to deliver a patented chemical event was more than competitors could handle.
The developer of this technology was a company named Monsanto. Almost overnight all was quiet from the seed community. Monsanto said, ”Hey be quiet, come over here. We’ll license this technology to you, and keep farmers from saving seed. You’ll get rich!’
Seed companies were now willing to prostitute themselves because of greed. They completely ignored the past behavior of their new friends and the possibility of becoming victims was completely off the radar.
There was still unfinished business in the arena of legal authority. The people wouldn’t allow legislation to get past them. Monsanto’s buddies, Pioneer Hi-Bred International aided in orchestrating an opinion from the Supreme Court.
Opposing arguments were made by a completely untalented attorney by the name of Bruce Johnson. The case completely lacked merit; the arguments deviated way away from the alleged particulars and the Justices were lost. Not wanting to admit their confusion, they agreed to vote on their opinion, as opposed to referring the issue to Congress to be resolved.
Clarence Thomas wrote the opinion on behalf of the Justices. And, why not?
Although Thomas was a former corporate attorney for Monsanto (1977-79) when appointed to the Supreme Court by George W. Bush, the lawsuit singled out only Pioneer Hi-Bred. Thomas claimed no need to remove himself even though he clearly was in a unique position to have intimate knowledge of his former employer’s agenda and knowing full well any decision or opinion he rendered would have a direct impact on Monsanto’s conduct and would be conducive to their long term goal of monopolizing the seed industry. As a result, an overly broad opinion was written, clearly benefiting companies such as Monsanto and thus, creating law as opposed to ruling upon the validity of law; the genetic gold rush was on.
Seed companies raced to our Land Grant Universities and pulled nearly a century of public funded research off the shelves, committing a fraud by patenting something they neither developed nor owned. This event halted all free flow of germ-plasms. No more complete genetic diversification for the public good. Individual companies only had a few parent lines to work with now and any exchange was kept hush.
Monsanto’s predatory licensing targeted seed cleaners specifically. Not wanting their no.1 competitor to have access was an important goal. Initially most lost a significant portion of their customer base and many more lost their families income completely. By eliminating this industry and hi-jacking our genetic infrastructure, no new seed companies could enjoy the same humble beginnings as today’s consolidated giants.
Just as important was the goal of being in a position to bypass the wealth of the land from the seed cleaner’s respective communities, to their own corporate banks. In today’s money the average seed cleaner has the ability to pump over $13,000/per hour into the economy. Those numbers are expected to climb to $15,000/per hour, or more, in coming seasons. Combine these numbers with the thousands of cleaners forced out of business and it is easy to identify with how a community becomes depressed.
This same predatory behavior put competing seed companies in jeopardy also. They had to discontinue their non-gmo lines, give up their customer records and report any seed cleaner activity in their area. But those agreements were so expensive many seed companies couldn’t cross the financial threshold and became consumed in a leveraged takeover.
Farmers often opted not to sign these documents only to learn many times, their signatures had been forged later as was documented in the Center for Food Safety report, “Monsanto vs US Farmers” in 2005. Today’s user agreement is activated when they open a bag; the full text of the contract more than 30 pages long is not available for viewing at the time of purchase. The contract calls for an electronic signature whereby the farmer accepts responsibility for pollen drift and essentially forfeits their Constitutional rights and exposes complete indiscriminate access to land and any USDA and personal individual financial records. Essentially everyone has to get naked in front of this new beast.
Organizations & associations that claim to represent the public also lost their credibility because of well placed moles that interfered with potential policy & action. This commonly occurs within the upper commands. The Soybean Assn. lobbied very hard against new policy in Ill Farm Bureau. This policy called for the PVPA to be the exclusive statute governing all germ plasm propagation. But the real battle occurred from the paid staff of IFB. Once the policy was adopted, the national level was to pick it up & run. This is where the real dead end occurred. Too many with their fingers in the corporate money jar.
Never mind the media. Soybean Digest, Agri-News, CBS, NBC & others. Everyplace you turn,advertising dollars are being blown putting a spin on how great Monsanto has been for agriculture. Fantastic PR claims confuse everyone but those of us that know better. Their feed the word campaign is nothing more than a chemical event being consumed by the masses. Recently claims have surfaced linking GMOs to organ failure in livestock. If this were to be proven in humans, wouldn’t this this be the ultimate in population control?
Essentially the same thing is happening in agriculture that happened in 1913 with the Federal Reserve. Thomas Jefferson gave us a stark warning during his era….”The central banks & the corporations that grow up around them are more dangerous than any standing army”.
I’ve got a new company slogan for Monsanto: “PROFESSIONAL THIEVES & LIARS”
Thanks to the PPJ Gazette