And we wonder why GMO foods and seeds are becoming the de facto standards on farms across the United States…
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Monsanto in the Bowman v. Monsanto case, filed against 75 year old farmer Vernon Bowman from Indiana. Monsanto sued over supposed violations of a patent protection on a type of soybean, stating that Bowman used the company’s GMO seeds without purchasing a license to do so. However, the facts don’t read that straightforward to me.
In 1999, Bowman bought grain in bulk from someone and it was not identified as being Monsanto’s Roundup Ready genetically modified seed. For all he knew, it wasn’t anything other than natural seed. Once he started using the seed, he reproduced them each year and continued to use them over and over again, as farmers are like to do (when they aren’t busy getting sued). Somehow Monsanto found out he was saving and reusing their seed technology and sued Bowman in 2007, stating that he was stealing their technology instead of buying new seeds each year directly from the company.
Obviously, Bowman fought the company on this because not only did he buy the seed not knowing it was Roundup Ready but he also bought it second-generation from someone else – and not from Monsanto. In their decision, Justice Elena Kagan said that such a habit could “lead to less incentive for innovation than Congress wanted.” Well, glad we know who’s in charge of what farmers do on their fields.
This company is patenting and trademarking our food supply – the very thing all creatures on earth have been growing and consuming since life began. The U.S. government is protecting them against lawsuits and The Nature Conservancy gladly takes their millions. Monsanto is quickly becoming a corporate owner of our food and our genetics, and no one is seemingly able to stop them. At this point, I am not sure that anyone can. If you want to try to help, check out Millions Against Monsanto.
Bowman must pay nearly $85,000 to Monsanto for infringing on the patent. That’s money that otherwise could be reinvested in his farm and our future. Shame on Monsanto.