A case between organic farmers and Monsanto Corporation is currently working its way through a federal appeals court in Washington D.C., a case that could radically alter the future of genetically modified crops and the future of major agribusinesses.
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.
According to the Center for Food Safety, Monsanto has launched 136 lawsuits against farmers for patent infringement. 70 of these suits have been ruled in Monsanto’s favor totalling more than $23 million in settlements.
According to one of the plaintiffs in the Monsanto case, “Once the court rules that we do have standing, that farmers do meet the requirements of the law to sue Monsanto, we want to achieve protection for our farms. Right now, should Monsanto patented seeds trespass on to our farms and contaminate our crops, a couple of things happen. One, if you are a seed grower like my family, the value of our seed crop is extinguished because of that contamination. Beyond that, we are open to legal jeopardy of being accused of patent infringement for virtue of that contamination incident. ”
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer