QWhy does Monsanto feel it is necessary to threaten and intimidate farmers, like Mr. Schmieser and other farmers in Canada and the US?

Why does Monsanto feel it is necessary to threaten and intimidate farmers, like Mr. Schmieser and other farmers in Canada and the US?

AExpert Answer

Farmers are our customers, and our goal in all our dealings with farmers is to treat them with a high degree of integrity, respect and transparency.  We work hard to breed and grow seeds that help farmers produce abundant and healthy food. We also work hard to earn the trust of our farmer customers, and we’re honored when they choose to buy and plant our seeds.

 

Like many companies that sell high-value seed, we ask farmers to plant our seeds only once, and if they like them, to buy new seeds for their next planting. If you think about it, the way we sell seed is really no different than the way most of us purchase a phone, computer software, or credit card – the purchase and use of these products comes with an agreement specifying certain terms of use. Farmers have many different seed choices, they understand the value of different types of seeds, they are very smart in making the best choices for each field that they farm, and they freely sign an agreement if they choose to purchase specific seeds.

 

The vast majority of our farmer customers stick to their agreements, but some don’t.  This gives them an unfair advantage over other farmers, because everyone else is paying for technology that they’re getting for free. That is not fair to farmers, and when we ask our farmer customers about this, more than 90% tell us they expect us to keep farming fair for everyone.

 

When cases like Mr. Schmeiser’s are brought to our attention, we follow a strict set of ethical and transparency guidelines that you can view on our web site.  It is very rare for these situations to end up in court, and it is a last resort that we pursue with farmers who have intentionally planted seeds they did not purchase.  We have never sued a farmer when trace amounts of our seeds or traits were present in a farmer’s field as an accident or as a result of inadvertent means such as cross pollination.  We have publically made that commitment. 

 

Regarding your reference to Mr. Schmeiser, several courts (including the Canadian Supreme Court) have affirmed that he violated our patent.  As indicated by the trial court in Canada, the seed was not blown in on the wind nor carried in by birds, and it didn’t spontaneously appear. Schmeiser knowingly planted this seed in his field without permission or license. By doing so, he used Monsanto’s patented technology without permission. In fact, the courts determined this in three separate decisions.  More detailed information regarding the situation with Mr. Schmeiser is available on our website if you are interested in additional information.

Posted on March 8, 2018
GMOs will not “save the world,” however they are an important tool in the toolbox for food security and agriculture. Dr. Stuart Smyth, Assistant Professor in the Department of Bioresource Policy, Business and Economics at the University of Saskatchewan, explores this topic in depth in a similar question and response here. “No single crop or food production method is capable of feeding the world on its own, so no, GMOs by themselves will not feed the world. However, as part... Read More
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Posted on March 8, 2018
GMOs are made to achieve a desired trait, such as resistance to an insect or improvement to the ripening process, in order to better meet a customer’s needs. Posted below is a five minute video that offers a great visual illustration on how GMOs are made:     In this response you will also find videos demonstrating genetic modification, showing the basic process for making GM plants. We also encourage you to check out the videos: How Are GMOs Created? and GMO... Read More
Posted on November 27, 2017
Thank you for your question. Similar questions have been answered by a variety of experts on our site. Farmer Mary Mertz answered a similar question, “What are the problems with the seeds of GMOs.” She explains how this question can be answered in a variety of ways and also speaks to this topic firsthand, as she is a farmer herself. “In my opinion, the biggest problem with the seeds is the amount of misinformation that is being circulated out there.  GMOs have a... Read More