Farmers Sue Monsanto

A coalition of more than 82 farmers and seed growers organizations were represented in federal court earlier this week in the latest chapter in a long running legal battle between organic farmers and agricultural giant Monsanto.

For the past decade, Monsanto has stood at the forefront of biochemical agricultural production, developing several strains of genetically modified crops capable of withstanding extreme temperature, drought, and pesticides. Monsanto’s biochem work, however, has put them in conflict with some organic farmers who argue that the company’s research is threatening their organic businesses.

In March 2011, a coalition of small and organic farmers sued Monsanto over their patents on genetically modified crop seeds. The lawsuit challenges the validity of patents on some modified crops and also seeks to protect farmers whose fields have been cross-contaminated by neighboring Monsanto crops. The lawsuit seeks to protect organic farmers from being sued in the event of cross-contamination and seeks to block some application of Monsanto GMOs where their use could prevent organic farmers from meeting the USDA standards of organic production.

“It’s a landmark legal action, an effort to protect [the] organic community from the inevitable contamination risk from the biotech industry that seems to be unconcerned about restricting their pollution and contamination of those farmers’ crops who want nothing to do with their technology,” said one of the lead plaintiffs in the case.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer