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The Monopoly Called Monsanto

01.18.2010

Photo Credit: James Rickwood

Photo Credit: James Rickwood

Roger Nelson grew up on a farm and went out on his own to begin renting farmland in 1961. He and his family have continued their farming and had a reputation in their community of meticulous and ethical farming practices throughout the years. Their reputation, however, is now being tarnished as Monsanto (the world’s leading producer of the herbicide Roundup Ready and owner to most of the food seed companies around the world) is accusing the Nelsons of being thieves of their genetically modified soybeans. The Nelsons are among the hundreds of farmers Monsanto is suing, usually on the grounds of patent infringement. However, growers have begun to fight back in the courts, as they say Monsanto has no evidence of this claim.

About 9 out of 10 soybean seeds carry the Roundup Ready trait, as does cotton and corn. Monsanto sells 90% of the world genetically engineered (GE) seeds and exclusively produces Roundup Ready soybean seed for the commercial market. This monopoly over the seed market has become quite controversial as no seed company could survive without selling Roundup Ready seeds.  Monsanto has designed a system that literally traps farmers to continue using their product, Roundup Ready, as it is illegal to save patented seeds and the product is already well ingrained (so to speak) in their crop. This means, that every year the farmers must purchase all new seeds from the company, despite the fact that they have perfectly good seeds left over from their precious crop. With such a monopoly, the company can increase its prices, as they like. Just last year, alone, the cost of these seeds went up 50 percent!

Some farmers’ crops become contaminated with this patented gene without their own knowledge or doing from the birds or wind carrying the seeds. Wind can carry seeds to other farms where there are no GMO seeds in circulation and they start to grow and spread right under their noses! When Monsanto finds out, they often start an investigation and the farmer’s have to prove that they are not violating Monsanto’s patent. So Monsanto have become the bullies of the neighborhood. For farmers, like the Nelsons, this cycle can be very harmful because the farmers cannot risk the litigation that would follow if they were to replant the seeds. Every year, no matter the price, these farmers must continue to feed into Monsanto’s trap.

To read more on Monsanto, click here.



Devon Fisher

written by Devon Fisher

Browse other posts by Devon Fisher »

5 Responses to “The Monopoly Called Monsanto”

  1. Ann West says:

    I am so happy to see someone with the courage to write about the truth of Monsanto. I think if there was one corrupt corporation in this world I would love to see eliminated it is Monsanto.
    I dont think the public realize the depth of the evil this corporation deals in on a daily basis. Their ex workers hate them: read ‘Milk the deadly poison’ by Dr Robert Cohen, a scientist that once worked for Monsanto and left to tell the truth and save the public from the toxic poisons Monsanto are putting into our cow’s food / milk products and beef. 2 thumbs up to Devon Fisher for writing this article. I wish more were getting it like you. KEEP UP THE CONSCIOUS WORK DEVON. We really need it.

  2. Mary says:

    Buy organic – it’s your only way of avoiding GM, since there are no labelling laws. Organic certification guarantees it’s GM-free.

  3. Support for your local farmers cannot be more emphasized now. While more companies such as Monsanto and Pioneer are moving in they are taking precious agricultural lands and monopolizing the system.
    Great article :)
    Also– I highly recommend watching the movie: “Fresh”

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Great post…Monsanto’s business practices are truly frightening…here is a link to another article you may be interested in…”Monsanto’s GMO Corn Linked to Organ Failure”…it notes how Monsanto got it’s “approval for human consumption” of 3 varieties of it’s GMO corn (with two containing insecticides or herbicides) after a mere 90 day study! Definitely try to eat organic and if possible grow some of your own food!

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/12/monsantos-gmo-corn-linked_n_420365.html

  5. Ken and Loretta says:

    It is about time people are beginning to step up and talk about the evils of Monsanto–

    Great article

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