By Summer Tierney | Natural News
As if its costly genetic tampering with the whole natural world weren’t brazen enough, Monsanto continues to bully and intimidate farmers across the United States, hoping this time to push its agenda through the highest court in the justice system.
The Supreme Court agreed last week to hear an appeal regarding Monsanto’s case against Knox County, Indiana soybean farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman. Monsanto has pursued a lawsuit against the 74-year-old claiming Bowman made unauthorized use of its patent-protected Roundup Ready seeds.
Bowman reportedly purchased additional, cheaper seed from a local grain elevator and used it to plant a late-season crop. He repeated this activity over a period of eight years beginning in 1999, continually saving and planting the new seeds generated by the commodity elevator crop.
Though Bowman was saving seeds from only the elevator crop, nature was doing what nature does best. With the Monsanto variety in the 90-percent majority over the other crop on Bowman’s 299-acre farm, it was only a matter of time before contamination occurred. When it did, and Monsanto learned of Bowman’s seed harvesting activities, they sent their well-funded attorneys after him for patent infringement.
Bowman lost his case in the lower courts in 2009 and was ordered to pay Monsanto more than $84,000 in damages and costs. Then came a subsequent decision last year from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which ruled that “once a grower, like Bowman, plants the commodity seeds containing Monsanto’s Roundup Ready technology and the next generation of seed develops, the grower has created a newly infringing article.”
The ruling fully supported the policies of Monsanto, the chemical company that also genetically engineers seeds to be either pesticide-producing (to kill pests, by breaking open their stomachs) or pesticide-resistant (to encourage the spraying of crops with more chemicals).
The company prohibits farmers who purchase and grow their genetically modified seeds from saving or reusing the seeds for future planting, thereby forcing those farmers to purchase new seeds each year. It’s a business model that so far has allowed the chemical giant to increase sales of both its Roundup pesticide and its GM seeds, while simultaneously putting small, struggling farmers out of business.
But Bowman’s team would not surrender. Having come this far in a longstanding battle against the biotech giant, he and opponents of genetic engineering hope the Supreme Court will overturn the appellate decision when it hears the case this winter.