It is beyond my comprehension that any farmer would want to sow Monsanto seeds after this report on how many farmers they have sued, how much each farmer loses, and how every farmer in the world is exposing him/herself to this insane treatment from Monsanto whether they are aware of it or not! Why??????
This article is data from 2005. By now it’s likely ten times as bad, and this is bad enough for me to reconsider farming. (Except for the fact that I understand and use publicity and have no fear of Monsanto in that regards.)
Prosecuting American Farmers:
Monsanto’s Investigations, Coerced Settlements & Lawsuits
|Monsanto investigates at least 500 farmers
each year for possible patent infringement.
Monsanto has devoted significant resources to its prosecution of farmers accused of violating the company’s seed patents. It has built a department of 75 employees and set aside an annual budget of $10 million for the sole purpose of investigating and prosecuting farmers for patent infringement.28 Monsanto promotes a toll-free telephone number that allows farmers and businesses to place confidential calls to the company and to report suspected “infringement” activities by neighbors and customers. The company says it receives hundreds of calls and letters each year about these potential patent infringement cases.29 If Monsanto suspects someone, for instance, of planting saved seed, it will hire a private investigation firm, such as Robinson Investigations or Pinkerton, to pursue the farmer.30
In general, Monsanto’s prosecution efforts can be divided into three stages: investigations of farmers, out-of-court settlements, and litigation against farmers. Far more farmers have been investigated than have been sued by Monsanto, but depicting the full scope of Monsanto’s pursuit of farmers is nearly impossible. Nonetheless, public pronouncements and past reports paint a vivid picture of widespread investigation of farmers.
In 1998, Monsanto reported in a press release that there were some 475 patent violation cases, generated from over 1,800 leads, being investigated nationwide.31 In 1999, The Washington Post reported that the number of investigations had reached 525 in the United States and Canada.32 Monsanto confirmed this high level of investigative activity in an article published in 2003: “Monsanto has reviewed thousands of anonymous leads of growers allegedly breaking the rules, and will follow up on other leads as they develop.”33 In a 2004 publication, Monsanto claimed that, “Nearly 600 new seed piracy matters were opened in 2003.”34
More recently, in an Omaha World-Herald article from November 2004, it is mentioned that Monsanto will investigate 500 farmers this year, “as it does every year.”35Drawing from these sources, it is reasonable to speculate that the number of farmers who have been investigated reaches into the thousands. CFS has spoken to several farmers who have confirmed Monsanto’s aggressive actions. One farmer told CFS he was one of eight in his community to be investigated, and two others said they were among 25 in each of their communities to be investigated.36
For more of this article go to: Prosecuting American Farmers