www.globalresearch.ca - February 18th, 2013
Arguments are scheduled to begin next week before the U.S. Supreme Court about whether an Indiana farmer is right when he claims that the seeds he planted should not be considered under the control of Monsanto, the giant transnational chemical and seed monopoly, through its patenting of the seeds.
Some are calling it a “David versus Goliath” contest but the farmer, Vernon H. Bowman, of southeastern Indiana, told The Guardian that he sees it as a question of right and wrong. In that, he is up against the power of Corporate America and the various parts of that power are arrayed against Bowman.
A lower court heard the case against Bowman v. Monsanto, one of the most powerful corporations (St. Louis, Mo.-based) in the most powerful nation in the world, and found in favor of Monsanto. The U.S. protects its corporations like it protects nothing else. It does not protect the individual in the same way and, in this case it is protecting the right of corporate hegemony over a single farmer.
Bowman, 75, who works the same land as his father, bought soybean seed from a local dealer, and the seed contained some of Monsanto’s patented “Roundup Ready” soybean seed, mixed in with other seeds. Monsanto maintains that such seeds can be used for feed, but cannot be used to plant a second crop, which is what Bowman was doing. Farmers who buy Monsanto’s patented seeds must sign an agreement that they will not save seed for planting in a subsequent year, but will buy new seeds every year from the company. They also pay a per-acre “royalty” for using the company’s seeds.
Monsanto typically enters a farmer’s land (some would call it trespassing) and takes samples (some would call it stealing), and then has the samples DNA-tested for their patented genes. If any appear, they sue the farmer and, since farmers are notoriously outgunned, legally and financially, they end up settling for an undisclosed amount with the company. The amount is undisclosed because, along with the settlement, there is a gag order and the farmer is coerced into agreeing not to discuss the case with anyone. Few farmers have enough money to take on the corporation.