270,000 Organic Farmers Sue Monsanto (Updated)

270,000 Organic Farmers Sue Monsanto (Updated)

Dec 24

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UPDATES:

Farmers vs. Monsanto: Family Farmers File Brief in Final Appeal to U.S. Supreme Court
Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association
December 24, 2013

Farmers Determined to Defend Right to Grow Food File Appeal in OSGATA vs. Monsanto
Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA)
March 28, 2012

Judge Sides With Monsanto: Ridicules Farmers’ Right to Grow Food Without Fear, Contamination and Economic Harm
Food Democracy Now!
February 27, 2012

Will Farmers Receive Justice?
Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA)
February 2, 2012

Whole Foods Sells Out to Monsanto
By Ronnie Cummins
Organic Consumers Association
January 27, 2011

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Farmers vs. Monsanto: Family Farmers File Brief in Final Appeal to U.S. Supreme Court
Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association
December 24, 2013

Original Link

The Public Patent Foundation recently filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in the landmark case, Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association et al v. Monsanto, in the hopes that the court would hear and reinstate the case of 73 American organic and conventional family farmers, seed businesses and public advocacy groups. Plaintiffs are seeking protection for America’s farmers from Monsanto’s patent infringement lawsuits, while also seeking to invalidate the patents on 23 of Monsanto’s GMO crops.

Earlier this month, Monsanto filed their opposition brief with the Supreme Court.

“In opposing our request that the Supreme Court take, and then reinstate, our case, Monsanto makes the same lame and untrue assertions that it made before,” said Daniel Ravicher, Executive Director of the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) and lead counsel to the plaintiffs in OSGATA et al v. Monsanto. “In our reply brief filed with the Supreme Court we point out precisely why Monsanto is wrong and that the case should be allowed to proceed,” said Ravicher.

In a June 10th ruling earlier this year, a three-judge panel at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C., issued the ruling that plaintiffs are not entitled to bring a lawsuit to protect themselves from Monsanto’s transgenic seed patents “because Monsanto has made binding assurances that it will not take legal action against growers whose crops might inadvertently contain traces of Monsanto biotech genes” as stated anonymously on the company’s website.

Farmers find this ruling inconclusive and insufficient to protect their future economic interests since the Appeals court readily admitted that contamination from Monsanto’s genetically engineered crops is “inevitable.”

Despite dismissing the farmers’ and seed growers’ case, the Court of Appeals ruling found the likelihood of contamination significant enough to order by estoppel that Monsanto make good on its promise not to sue farmers that are “inadvertently contaminated with up to one percent of seeds carrying Monsanto’s patented traits.”

“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 in Maine and OSGATA President. “The appeals court ruling fails to protect my family and our farm and has only complicated matters,” said Gerritsen.

Farmers expect to hear whether or not the U.S Supreme Court will hear their case next year and eagerly await their day in court.

Read the full press release here.

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JUDGE SIDES WITH MONSANTO:
RIDICULES FARMERS’ RIGHT TO GROW FOOD WITHOUT FEAR, CONTAMINATION AND ECONOMIC HARM

Food Democracy Now!
February 27, 2012

Original Link

On February 24, Judge Naomi Buchwald handed down her ruling on a motion to dismiss in the case of Organic Seed Growers and Trade Assn et al v. Monsanto after hearing oral argument on January 31st in Federal District Court in Manhattan. Her ruling to dismiss the case brought against Monsanto on behalf of organic farmers, seed growers and agricultural organizations representing farmers and citizens was met with great disappointment by the plaintiffs.

Plaintiff lead attorney Daniel Ravicher said, “While I have great respect for Judge Buchwald, her decision to deny farmers the right to seek legal protection from one of the world’s foremost patent bullies is gravely disappointing. Her belief that farmers are acting unreasonable when they stop growing certain crops to avoid being sued by Monsanto for patent infringement should their crops become contaminated maligns the intelligence and integrity of those farmers. Her failure to address the purpose of the Declaratory Judgment Act and her characterization of binding Supreme Court precedent that supports the farmers’ standing as ‘wholly inapposite’ constitute legal error. In sum, her opinion is flawed on both the facts and the law. Thankfully, the plaintiffs have the right to appeal to the Court of Appeals, which will review the matter without deference to her findings.”

Monsanto’s history of aggressive investigations and lawsuits brought against farmers in America have been a source of concern for organic and non-GMO farmers since Monsanto’s first lawsuit brought against a farmer in the mid-90′s. Since then, 144 farmers have had lawsuits brought against them by Monsanto for alleged violations of their patented seed technology. Monsanto has brought charges against more than 700 additional farmers who have settled out-of-court rather than face Monsanto’s belligerent litigious actions. Many of these farmers claim to not have had the intention to grow or save seeds that contain Monsanto’s patented genes. Seed drift and pollen drift from genetically engineered crops often contaminate neighboring fields. If Monsanto’s seed technology is found on a farmer’s land without contract they can be found liable for patent infringement.

“Family farmers need the protection of the court,” said Maine organic seed farmer Jim Gerritsen, President of lead plaintiff OSGATA. ”We reject as naïve and undefendable the judge’s assertion that Monsanto’s vague public relations ‘commitment’ should be ‘a source of comfort’ to plaintiffs. The truth is we are under threat and we do not believe Monsanto. The truth is that American farmers and the American people do not believe Monsanto. Family farmers deserve our day in court and this flawed ruling will not deter us from continuing to seek justice.”

The plaintiffs brought this suit against Monsanto to seek judicial protection from such lawsuits and challenge the validity of Monsanto’s patents on seeds.

“As a citizen and property owner, I find the Order by the Federal Court to be obsequious to Monsanto,” said plaintiff organic farmer Bryce Stephens of Kansas. ”The careless, inattentive, thoughtless and negligent advertisement Monsanto has published on their website to not exercise its patent rights for inadvertent trace contamination belies the fact that their policy is in reality a presumptuous admission of contamination by their vaunted product on my property, plants, seeds and animals.”

“Seeds are the memory of life,” said Isaura Anduluz of plaintiff Cuatro Puertas and the Arid Crop Seed Cache in New Mexico. ”If planted and saved annually, cross pollination ensures the seeds continue to adapt. In the Southwest, selection over many, many generations has resulted in native drought tolerant corn. Now that a patented drought tolerant corn has been released how do we protect our seeds from contamination and our right to farm?”

A copy of Judge Buchwalds ruling is located here (pdf)

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ORGANIC V. MONSANTO
By Danielle Magnuson
Utne
July 18, 2011

Original Link

More than 270,000 organic farmers are taking on corporate agriculture giant Monsanto in a lawsuit filed March 30. Led by the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, the family farmers are fighting for the right to keep a portion of the world food supply organic — and preemptively protecting themselves from accusations of stealing genetically modified seeds that drift on to their pristine crop fields.

Consumers are powerful. For more than a decade, a cultural shift has seen shoppers renounce the faster-fatter-bigger-cheaper mindset of factory farms, exposéd in the 2008 documentary Food, Inc. From heirloom tomatoes to heritage chickens, we want our food slow, sustainable, and local — healthy for the earth, healthy for animals, and healthy for our bodies.

But with patented seeds infiltrating the environment so fully, organic itself is at risk. Monsanto’s widely used Genuity® Roundup Ready® canola seed has already turned heirloom canola oil into an extinct species. The suing farmers are seeking to prevent similar contamination of organic corn, soybeans, and a host of other crops. What’s more, they’re seeking to prevent Monsanto from accusing them of unlawfully using the very seeds they’re trying to avoid.

“It seems quite perverse that an organic farmer contaminated by transgenic seed could be accused of patent infringement,” says Public Patent Foundation director Dan Ravicher in a Cornucopia Institute article about the farmers’ lawsuit (May 30, 2011), “but Monsanto has made such accusations before and is notorious for having sued hundreds of farmers for patent infringement.”

Even as the megacorporation enjoys soaring stock, the U.S. justice department continues to look into allegations of its fraudulent antitrust practices (The Street, June 29, 2011):

“Monsanto, which has acquired more than 20 of the nation’s biggest seed producers and sellers over the last decade, has long pursued a strict policy with its customers, obligating them to buy its bioengineered seeds every year rather than use them in multiple planting seasons. Farmers who disobey are blacklisted forever.”

It’s a wide net Monsanto has cast over the agricultural landscape. As Ravicher points out, “it’s actually in Monsanto’s financial interest to eliminate organic seed so that they can have a total monopoly over our food supply.” Imagine a world devoid of naturally vigorous traditional crops and controlled by a single business with a appetite for intellectual property. Did anyone else feel a cold wind pass through them? Now imagine a world where thousands of family farmers fight the good fight to continue giving consumers a choice in their food — and win.

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FARMERS AND SEED PRODUCERS LAUNCH PREEMPTIVE STRIKE AGAINST MONSANTO
The Cornucopia Institute
March 30th, 2011

Original Link

Lawsuit Filed To Protect Themselves from Unfair Patent Enforcement on Genetically Modified Seed

Action Would Prohibit Biotechnology Giant from Suing Organic Farmers and Seed Growers If Innocently Contaminated by Roundup Ready Genes

NEW York: On behalf of 60 family farmers, seed businesses and organic agricultural organizations, the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) filed suit today against Monsanto Company challenging the chemical giant’s patents on genetically modified seed. The organic plaintiffs were forced to sue preemptively to protect themselves from being accused of patent infringement should their crops ever become contaminated by Monsanto’s genetically modified seed.

Monsanto has sued farmers in the United States and Canada, in the past, when their patented genetic material has inadvertently contaminated their crops.

A copy of the lawsuit can be found here (pdf).

The case, Organic Seed Growers & Trade Association, et al. v. Monsanto, was filed in federal district court in Manhattan and assigned to Judge Naomi Buchwald. Plaintiffs in the suit represent a broad array of family farmers, small businesses and organizations from within the organic agriculture community who are increasingly threatened by genetically modified seed contamination despite using their best efforts to avoid it. The plaintiff organizations have over 270,000 members, including thousands of certified organic family farmers.

“This case asks whether Monsanto has the right to sue organic farmers for patent infringement if Monsanto’s transgenic seed or pollen should land on their property,” said Dan Ravicher, PUBPAT’s Executive Director. “It seems quite perverse that an organic farmer contaminated by transgenic seed could be accused of patent infringement, but Monsanto has made such accusations before and is notorious for having sued hundreds of farmers for patent infringement, so we had to act to protect the interests of our clients.”

Once released into the environment, genetically modified seed can contaminate and destroy organic seed for the same crop. For example, soon after Monsanto introduced genetically modified seed for canola, organic canola became virtually impossible to grow as a result of contamination.

Organic corn, soybeans, cotton, sugar beets and alfalfa also face the same fate, as Monsanto has released genetically modified seed for each of those crops as well.

Monsanto is currently developing genetically modified seed for many other crops, thus putting the future of all food, and indeed all agriculture, at stake.

“Monsanto’s threats and abuse of family farmers stops here. Monsanto’s genetic contamination of organic seed and organic crops ends now,” stated Jim Gerritsen, a family farmer in Maine who raises organic seed and is President of lead plaintiff Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association. “Americans have the right to choice in the marketplace – to decide what kind of food they will feed their families.”

“Family-scale farmers desperately need the judiciary branch of our government to balance the power Monsanto is able to wield in the marketplace and in the courts,” said Mark A. Kastel, Senior Farm Policy Analyst for The Cornucopia Institute, one of the plaintiffs. “Monsanto, and the biotechnology industry, have made great investments in our executive and legislative branches through campaign contributions and powerful lobbyists in Washington.”

In the case, PUBPAT is asking Judge Buchwald to declare that if organic farmers are ever contaminated by Monsanto’s genetically modified seed, they need not fear also being accused of patent infringement. One reason justifying this result is that Monsanto’s patents on genetically modified seed are invalid because they don’t meet the “usefulness” requirement of patent law, according to PUBPAT’s Ravicher, the plaintiffs’ lead attorney in the case.

“Evidence cited by PUBPAT in its opening filing today proves that genetically modified seed has negative economic and health effects, while the promised benefits of genetically modified seed – increased production and decreased herbicide use – are false,” added Ravicher who is also a Lecturer of Law at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York.

Ravicher continued, “Some say transgenic seed can coexist with organic seed, but history tells us that’s not possible, and it’s actually in Monsanto’s financial interest to eliminate organic seed so that they can have a total monopoly over our food supply,” said Ravicher. “Monsanto is the same chemical company that previously brought us Agent Orange, DDT, PCB’s and other toxins, which they said were safe, but we know are not. Now Monsanto says transgenic seed is safe, but evidence clearly shows it is not.”

The plaintiffs in the suit represented by PUBPAT are: Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association; Organic Crop Improvement Association International, Inc.; OCIA Research and Education Inc.; The Cornucopia Institute; Demeter Association, Inc.; Navdanya International; Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association; Northeast Organic Farming Association/Massachusetts Chapter, Inc.; Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont; Rural Vermont; Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association; Southeast Iowa Organic Association; Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society; Mendocino Organic Network; Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance; Canadian Organic Growers; Family Farmer Seed Cooperative; Sustainable Living Systems; Global Organic Alliance; Food Democracy Now!; Family Farm Defenders Inc.; Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund; FEDCO Seeds Inc.; Adaptive Seeds, LLC; Sow True Seed; Southern Exposure Seed Exchange; Mumm’s Sprouting Seeds; Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co., LLC; Comstock, Ferre & Co., LLC; Seedkeepers, LLC; Siskiyou Seeds; Countryside Organics; Cuatro Puertas; Interlake Forage Seeds Ltd.; Alba Ranch; Wild Plum Farm; Gratitude Gardens; Richard Everett Farm, LLC; Philadelphia Community Farm, Inc; Genesis Farm; Chispas Farms LLC; Kirschenmann Family Farms Inc.; Midheaven Farms; Koskan Farms; California Cloverleaf Farms; North Outback Farm; Taylor Farms, Inc.; Jardin del Alma; Ron Gargasz Organic Farms; Abundant Acres; T & D Willey Farms; Quinella Ranch; Nature’s Way Farm Ltd.; Levke and Peter Eggers Farm; Frey Vineyards, Ltd.; Bryce Stephens; Chuck Noble; LaRhea Pepper; Paul Romero; and, Donald Wright Patterson, Jr…

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32 comments

  1. Tuzy Wall

    How can I as an individual help you? Other than not buying these Monsanto impaired food products. If there is something I can join, sign or donate to help — let me know. How about sanctioned t-shirts, grocery bags to print and sell to help the cause?

    • happyone

      That’s the spirit Tuzi!! Let’s hope it’s catchy. If people truly understood what is going on with our food, and the pushing of this genetic junk, there would be riots. One can hope.
      @David – joining Organic See Growers and Trade Association. Thank you for this info.

  2. Hi Tuzy. Probably one of the most helpful things you can do is to join the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association:

    http://www.osgata.org/membership-info

    Monsanto definitely needs to be reeled in and this is one of the most hopeful movements I have heard of to do that…

  3. Clint Summer

    This is one of the most important articles I’ve seen here. I will spread it far and wide and urge everyone to support the Public Patent Foundation in their lawsuit against Monsanto.

  4. Thanks, Clint. Me, too.

  5. Shekinah

    Maybe getting a petition started is a start.I ‘ve known of this for some time , really glad It’s coming out into the public arena. These guys have their own police force and go to farmers houses encouraging them to dob each other in if their using Monsantos contaminated seed stock so they can destroy their lives just for a buck. It’s like a scene from Lord of the Rings , no joke these guys are on the wrong side.They produce carcenogenic chemicals and sell chemo machines to hospitals. Big fight …well worth it ..I’m in *** Power to the people xxxx oooo

  6. ronnie

    Suggestion: change the typeface in your header. It’s very difficult to read on the left side of your logo. It takes away from the page. I make this comment not to post, but I don’t see a “contact” link.

  7. Anonymous

    Wikileaks Exposes US Govt. a Puppet for Monsanto

    http://www.ufo-blogger.com/2011/01/wikileaks-exposes-monsanto.html

    And even Anonymous Warns GMO Manufacturer Monsanto – Expect Something “More Serious Than A Simple DDOS Attack”

  8. Anonymous, thanks for the heads up — and the link!

  9. Titia van Doorn

    Hi, I’m from Holland and this is the best news ever!!! On Dutch Television we saw not that long ago a documentary on Monsanto’s “practices” in India….. It’s a b… shame… This must be stopped..
    Keep up the good work in the meantime!!!!

  10. Al

    270,000 people vs. billions Monsanto has invested and available to purchase justice and politicians; wonder how this one will turn out. Sort of like Hope and Change. Our hopes and Monsanto’s pile of change.

  11. Athina Oraia

    Hello. I am in Greece and am so happy to be reading this article. This is the best news I have read in a long long time. Thank you so much for your efforts. It is about time some action is taken to preserve our right to consume authentic foods. Thank you again!! I hope to be able to follow the progress of this story on line.

  12. Rafael Espericueta

    It’s always nice to read GOOD news for a change! If genetically modified foods were clearly labeled as such, most people would choose non-GMO options. Let people know what they are buying, and the free market will put an end to this GMO nonsense once and for all. Very few would choose to eat Monsanto’s toxic frankenfoods.

  13. please check out this website for help and more support against monsanto!

    http://www.causes.com/causes/search?q=gmo

    another helpful site is

    http://newhope360.com/non-gmo/gmo-timeline-1976-2011

    anything we can do to help spread the word about this pls let us know.

    we already emailed our local and state newspaper to ask them to follow your case.

    and passed on this website to many folks.

    together we can be stronger than the corporate giants!

    kayt

  14. Thank you for posting! This information just made my day! I am the web dude for the http://www.parkcityfarmersmarket.com. If there’s anything I can do to help by further promoting on the site, our fb/parkcityfarmersmarket, twitter @pcfarmersmarket or @NewEyeMedia let me know! :)))

  15. Alan Foos

    Join Chemtrails Global Skywatch group on Facebook, there’s far more to all this than just GM foods, but I’ll keep this brief. We are all under major bio attack from the fed/med/Gates/Rockefeller/Monsanto/CFR upper caste. Believe it, people, time is short, your lives and the fate of your family line is in the balance, start getting involved, especially start banging pans over these chemtrails.

    Alan Foos
    BA Botany, MS Soils

  16. You people live in a fantasy world, if censoring the truth is your only way of coping with reality. You will go the way of Darwin’s Law, aberrations that are the product of a sick, mutant society and doomed to be naturally selected for oblivion.

    Robert S. Finnegan
    Jakarta, Indonesia

  17. Emma

    Monsanto , Gates , Chemtrails have got to be stopped to even begin to start saving the human race.

  18. Uncle B

    American Dream in real trouble now! American government pulling a “Hegelian Principle” play right from Adolph Hitler’s play book on the poor dumb unsuspecting Yanks as we speak! Little lawsuits in corporate owned courts, before corporate owned judges, tried by corporate dependent lawyers, are ‘window dressings’ to the masses. expensive “lip-service” to the democratic notions promoted to control the ignorant masses, by the Coca Cola Corpocracy’s huge Hollywood style propaganda machines. It seems to have worked! Some innocent ass-holes will waste personal fortunes feeding the lawyers who will lie on their behalf, fully knowing they are in a “fixed” game, standing before Judges totally dependent on Corp[rate support for their own very elections. USA! USA! they cried, and they got the Iraq fiasco, a broken economy, higher taxes, and they still pay world prices at the gasoline pumps, Chumps!

  19. Margot

    As a farmer (and a blogger at populist.com) I’ve been following this issue and I’m thrilled that the issue is getting out there! Maybe we can bring these dang pirates DOWN… Monsanto now owns seed companies (including garden seed companies, all you home gardeners) and consolidation is never a good thing. So keep covering this issue, PLEASE!

  20. Deborah

    And what about the bees. I am a hobby bee keeper and with the farmers around here the chemical issues for the bees increases. Monsanto has been effecting more than the seed. Reading the domino effect can make you ill. I wish everyone good luck in this fight. They need to be held accountable and stopped.

  21. n zeigler

    monsanto needs to be taken down. they are ruining the farmers, and the natural food.the only way anything can hold up is for all of us to band together. thank you to whom ever started this and i will pass the word along. and thanks to all the farmers etc who are willing to put their names on the line for justice.

  22. blah

    Monsato needs to be destroyed.

  23. Katie

    I admire the organic movement because of how interested people have become in what they are putting in their bodies. However, as someone tied intrinsically to the American agriculture industry – I am a sixth generation cattle raiser -, I ask that you all remember that our agriculture industry does not just feed America. Some day it is my hope that everyone will truly care about where their food is coming from and be proud of the industry’s achievements. World agriculture MUST double its production capacity within fifty years to ward off world-wide starvation; how can we do that by slowing down production?

    • Clint Summer

      If you believe that GMO crops help increase production, I urge you to seriously question that belief. Even if they did, at what cost do they do so? Research the effects of glyphosate (Roundup) on soil micro-organisms and on the reproductive capabilities of cattle and other livestock.

      Production can and must be increased by more people growing in more places, not by increased industrial agriculture.

  24. Crystal griffin

    I’ve started raised beds for our organic garden. Carrots are easy, also cucumbers, beets, lettuce, raspberries, squash & celery. Throw in parsle, rosemary, sage & other herbs. It’s worth the time & cost for health!

  25. Eric

    I was just wondering why the farmers aren’t taking a more aggressive approach by suing Monsanto for damages from the pollen that has destroyed their organic crops and or the ability to produce organic crops.

    • Bonnie Parmenter

      I have thought the same thing, but I think this is part of what they were trying to do, by stopping Monsanta from sueing them. What justice. I personally have not much faith anymore in our legal system. I have been in a couple of lawsuits similiar in the past couple of years where a companies financing ours writes up a contract with a non-compete and then sues us for the non-compete being to restrictive.

  26. Bonnie Parmenter

    We all need to support these farmers against Monsanto; we are just now realizing the havoc of what their seed are doing. We how have super bugs that can only be killed with more powerful pesticides. Science is also seeing the effects on the health. Mice that eat genetically modified foods have become sterile in higher percentages. We are wondering why are children are having such an increase in health issues. I am quite confident that genetically modified foods play a large part in this.

  27. Dave

    Related news and updates to this story can also be found at

    http://supplement-facts.org/

    It is amazing how much deception is going on!!

  28. stephen webster

    monsanto and my 77 yearold farmer are in court when father never bought any seed from monsanto but the bees brought roundup ready gene in to my father soybeans

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