Farmers across the country want to stand up to Monsanto once and for all, and, last week, a brief was filed to the U.S. Supreme Court that would reinstate 73 cases of organic and conventional farmers, seed companies, and public advocacy groups that “seek protection for America’s farmers from Monsanto’s frivolous patent infringement lawsuits, and their promiscuous genetically engineered pollen while also seeking to invalidate the patents on 23 of Monsanto’s GMO crops.”
The case, titled Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) et al v. Monsanto, has been subject to opposition – both from Monsanto and from courts. Earlier this month, Monsanto filed an opposition brief, and, in June, a panel from the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C. ruled that plaintiffs were not permitted to file a lawsuit to protect their crops and themselves from Monsanto because, according to Monsanto, “Monsanto has made binding assurances that it will not take legal action against growers whose crops might inadvertently contain traces of Monsanto biotech genes.”
However, according to reports from Wood Prairie Farm via EcoWatch, farmers found this ruling lacking because the Court of Appeals has also disclosed that they are aware that contamination from Monsanto’s GMO crops is “inevitable.” For many farmers, this confirms the farmers’ fear of crop corruption and the possibility that they could actually be sued for “using” the seed when their own crops become contaminated.
“As a seed grower, who has spent the past 37 years of my life protecting and maintaining the integrity of my seed stock to provide clean, wholesome food to my customers, I find it unconscionable that Monsanto can contaminate mine or my neighbors’ crops and not only get away with it, but potentially sue us for patent infringement,” said Jim Gerritsen, an organic seed farmer on Wood Prairie Farm and OSGATA’s president.”The appeals court ruling fails to protect my family and our farm and has only complicated matters.”
Contamination from nearby Monsanto crops has forced farmers across the country to test their crops (at high costs, often times), or “actually forgo planting of certain crops in order to maintain seed purity.” And contamination fear is in place for good reason — Monsanto’s GMO wheat and alfalfa has been found in neighboring farms this year.
This movement has had attempts to go to trial in the past, and this summer’s dismissal and essential ruling in favor of Monsanto was strange enough. The Supreme Court needs to at least hear the case that would allow for organic and conventional farmers to protect themselves from the bully that is Monsanto. “It’s time to end Monsanto’s campaign of fear against America’s farmers and stand up for farmers’ right to grow our food without legal threats and intimidation. America must no longer allow Monsanto to contaminate our food supply and destroy the livelihoods of farmers. Farmers deserve protection from these abuses,” said Dave Murphy of Food Democracy Now!, an advocacy group.
The U.S. Supreme Court will soon decide whether or not the farmers’ case will be heard in the new year.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons