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Farmer Vernon H. Bowman Loses Supreme Court Battle with Monsanto After Replanting Seed

Sun May 19 2013 2:05 pm
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Indiana farmer Vernon H. Bowman, who lost Supreme Court battle with Monsanto speaks out. As a child, he heard advice that “progress leads to destruction” and it ignored it. No he’s beginning to wonder.

The United States Supreme Court ruled Monday in favor of biotech giant Monsanto, closing the door on a patent case that has pitted a smalltime Indiana farmer against a titan of the agriculture industry. That was the case with a 75-year old Indiana farmer who took on Monsanto in a Supreme Court matter over patent rights on genetically modified soybean seeds and lost. He was fined $85,000 — money the farmer says he doesn’t have and never will.

The Supreme Court unanimously sided with Monsanto, deciding that Vernon Hugh Bowman had broken patent agreements when he used GMO seeds to produce his own second and third generation crops.

Monsanto Company is a publicly traded American multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation with headquarters in Creve Coeur, Missouri.

Monsanto formerly manufactured controversial products such as the insecticide DDT, PCBs, Agent Orange, and recombinant bovine somatotropin.

Monsanto seed patenting model has been criticized as biopiracy and a threat to biodiversity. In 2009, Monsanto came under scrutiny from the U.S. Department of Justice, which began investigating whether the company’s business practices in the soybean markets were breaking anti-trust rules.

Monsanto has also been caught up in controversy over Genetically Modified Food (or GMO, Genetically Modified Organisms) Proposition 37 was a California ballot measure for a statute that would have required labeling of genetically engineered food, with some exceptions. The statute would have disallowed the practice of labeling genetically engineered food with the word “natural”. Proposition was rejected by a close vote in California at the state-wide election on November 6, 2012. The Grocery Manufacturers Association opposed Proposition 37 saying it was a deeply flawed measure that would have resulted in higher food costs, frivolous lawsuits, and increased state bureaucracies. Whole Foods Market supported California’s Proposition 37 because, according to their website, Whole Foods believes consumers have the fundamental right to know how their food is sourced, grown and produced.

Monsanto’s role in litigation, its seed commercialization practices, and its current and former agbiotech products, its lobbying of government agencies, and its history as a chemical company, have made Monsanto controversial.

Monsanto spent $8.1 million opposing the passage of Proposition 37 in California, which would have mandated the disclosure of genetically modified crops used in the production of California food products. Biotechnology labeling is not required by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but such labeling has been adopted by over 40 countries.

President Barack Obama signed the Farmer Assurance Provision into law on March 26 2013, which effectively voids the authority of the US Department of Agriculture, which oversaw and made decisions concerning the testing of genetically modified seeds; and the federal courts, which can prohibit the sale or planting of the seeds.

See also …
The United States Department of Justice Agriculture and Antitrust Enforcement Issues in Our 21st Century Economy

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