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Monsanto Takes Home $23m From Small Farmers According To Report

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the mine-now-I-sell-it dept.

The Courts 419

An anonymous reader writes "Seed giant Monsanto has won more than $23 million from hundreds of small farmers accused of replanting the company's genetically engineered seeds. Now, another case is looming – and it could set a landmark precedent for the future of seed ownership. From the article: 'According to the report, Monsanto has alleged seed patent infringement in 144 lawsuits against 410 farmers and 56 small farm businesses in at least 27 U.S. states as of January of 2013. Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta together hold 53 percent of the global commercial seed market, which the report says has led to price increases for seeds -- between 1995 and 2011, the average cost of planting one acre of soybeans rose 325 percent and corn seed prices went up 259 percent.'"

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419 comments

Well - so what? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42890025)

I took home your mom's ass last night LOL!

Monsanto takes .. (4, Informative)

OzPeter (195038) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890055)

And that's about all you have to say.

Re:Monsanto takes .. (4, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890089)

Yeah.. when they can charge people who never bought their product because it naturally spread...

Re:Monsanto takes .. (3, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890285)

Yeah.. when they can charge people who never bought their product because it naturally spread...

I am no fan of Monsanto, but this is a very one-sided statement. These farmers knew full well that they were planting GMO seed, they knew that Monsanto had a patent on it, and they took full advantage of the GMO by spraying their crops with glyphosate. To portray these farmers as poor victims of pollen spread by the wind is baloney.

Re:Monsanto takes .. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42890351)

Being able to patent seeds is more bullshit than being able to patent software.

Re:Monsanto takes .. (5, Informative)

jythie (914043) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890359)

That is, in this case, a good point. Here farmers were knowingly replanting seed they had purchased.

However, while I do not know if it has come up in US courts, there have been instances of Monsanto claiming that farmers who simply have their seeds in their field, even through natural spreading, owe them a fee. If nothing else, they can supply samples as evidence of theft simply because in most cases there is way to differentiate between something like theft or replanting from natural spreading, they only have to show the farmer was benefiting from their GMO.

So I will admit, I tangented from this particular case.

Re:Monsanto takes .. (3, Insightful)

zennyboy (1002544) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890449)

I'm not. If it grew on my land, it's mine... Case closed

Re:Monsanto takes .. (2)

happylight (600739) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890669)

You mean if I made something with my own materials in my own house I can't violate any patents?

I think you just found a loophole around every single patent there is out there.

Re:Monsanto takes .. (2)

zennyboy (1002544) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890697)

If "something growing alone by itself" is the same as you building it in your house :-)

Re:Monsanto takes .. (5, Informative)

xiando (770382) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890695)

I'm not. If it grew on my land, it's mine... Case closed

Sadly, no, not in the USA. Search and you'll find plenty of cases where farmers planted their own seeds and got their fields infected with GMO from the farm next to it or something like that. These are farmers who did not kill everything but GMO in their fields with Roundup.

If I was growing natural seeds and my land got infected by Monsanto then I would assume that Monsanto owed me for damages. But not in the USA

Re:Monsanto takes .. (0, Troll)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890549)

That is, in this case, a good point. Here farmers were knowingly replanting seed they had purchased.

When farmers purchase Monsanto seeds, they sign a contract and agree, in writing, not to save seed.

there have been instances of Monsanto claiming that farmers who simply have their seeds in their field, even through natural spreading, owe them a fee.

Citation please. There is plenty of mythology about Monsanto doing this, but what really happened is that some farmers intentionally saved seeds grown adjacent to GMO fields, saved and planted the seeds, sprayed them with glyphosate to kill the beans without the GMO gene, saved the resulting seeds again, planted the resulting "pure" GMO strain the following year, and treated their crops with glyphosate thus taking full advantage of Monsanto's patent. To portray these farmers as innocent victims is nonsense.

Re:Monsanto takes .. (5, Informative)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890607)

When farmers purchase Monsanto seeds, they sign a contract and agree, in writing, not to save seed.

No, when farmers purchase Monsanto seeds from MONSANTO they sign a contract like that. This case has nothing to do with that scenario.

This guy bought seed from the local grain elevator - seed that was sold on the open market without Monsanto's involvement and no advertising that the seed was monsanto tainted seed. He had no contract with Monsanto for those seeds or any of their precursors.

Re:Monsanto takes .. (4, Informative)

FrankSchwab (675585) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890649)

there have been instances of Monsanto claiming that farmers who simply have their seeds in their field, even through natural spreading, owe them a fee.

Citation

Sure. Let me google that for you:
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/12/25/percy-schmeiser-farmer-who-beat-monsanto.aspx [mercola.com]

Re:Monsanto takes .. (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890563)

> there have been instances of Monsanto claiming that farmers who simply have their seeds in their field, even through natural spreading, owe them a fee

Really? Every case like this I've dug into involved some action by the farmer to collect and select seed.

So I'd be interested if you have a concrete example.

Re:Monsanto takes .. (1, Redundant)

xiando (770382) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890755)

So I'd be interested if you have a concrete example.

Since you can't use a search engine or look in other posts in this thread.. here is a cut and paste for you:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/12/25/percy-schmeiser-farmer-who-beat-monsanto.aspx [mercola.com]

It's been years and years since I first saw a documentary about the criminal Monsanto which numerous examples, interviews, etc. This isn't news and I find it amazing that you are actually trying to dispute Monsantos criminal activity.

Re:Monsanto takes .. (4, Insightful)

theVarangian (1948970) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890125)

Monsanto takes .. And that's about all you have to say.

That's harsh, I'm sure they give generously to the politicians who enable their business practices.

"Do Evil". (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890577)

Some corporations have a slightly different version of the Google motto...

Re:Monsanto takes .. (2)

Blue Stone (582566) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890737)

Monstanto is to Farming as Scientology is to Religion.

New World Odor (5, Insightful)

jameshuckabone (2648439) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890071)

Why is it that today almost every story on Slashdot is about our frog-in-slowly-heated-water society.

Re:New World Odor (5, Insightful)

Verloc (119412) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890167)

Why is it that today almost every story on Slashdot is about our frog-in-slowly-heated-water society.

Because every once in a while the temperature rises a little more than usual and the frog notices.

Re:New World Odor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42890703)

Mmmmm. Frog soup.

Re:Yogi Frog (2, Funny)

hoboroadie (1726896) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890427)

/. is smarter than the average pond?

Monsanto = Umbrella Corporation (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42890079)

Need I say more?
No, I'm not saying they're going to bring about the zombie apocalypse, but what I am saying is that they're as evil as the Umbrella Corporation, and perhaps more so.

I googled "Umbrella Corporation" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42890301)

How cute.

Reality is much more evil.

Re:Monsanto = Umbrella Corporation (3)

hoboroadie (1726896) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890517)

Monsanto has control of most of the non-GMO seed market as well. If you want heirloom seed, chances are you'll be getting it from a subsidiary. [wikipedia.org]
A lot fucking scarier than Bill Gates.

I don't know much about this stuff... (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890087)

Is their engineered seed so much better that it's worth the 300% price hikes?

Re:I don't know much about this stuff... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42890183)

The price of gas has risen more than that between 1995 (when I started driving, $.93/gal) and today ($4.19/gal). Not defending Monsanto, just putting this in perspective.

Re:I don't know much about this stuff... (4, Informative)

dbc (135354) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890187)

Actually, it does pencil out. Hybred and genetically engineered seeds do produce signficantly higher yields, and in some cases reduce need for pestricides. They reduce risk by being drought resistant. Seed cost is just one of many costs of getting a crop into the ground and getting the harvest out. Fuel, fertilizer, pesticide, herbicide, land rent (paid or opportunity cost) and labor all need to be accounted for.

Hybred seeds have been around for ages, and with maize, there is natural intellecual property protection, because the hybred is 'unstable', that is, you can't replant the seeds from the crop that you grow because the resulting maize plants are sterile and/or deformed. Of course, they can be stabalized with a final cross, but seed producers don't do that. Soy beans, OTOH, can not be produced in an unstable hybred. So a farmer can keep part of his bean crop and plant that as seed next year. With the advent of genetically modified soy seed, Monsanto quit *selling* soy seed, and started *licensing* soy seed.

Re:I don't know much about this stuff... (1)

g1powermac (812562) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890551)

Hybrids are not the same thing as GMO crops. The hybrids are crosses from varying stable (ish) lines to produce a set of offspring that are generally more vigorous than the parent lines but generally that vigor doesn't survive further breeding. It's called heterosis [wikipedia.org] . It's a mostly natural thing and doesn't involve direct recoding of the genes. The GMOs on the other hand, are directly changed and only provide very certain benefits. This is usually only borer resistant (BT GMOs) or herbicide resistant (Roundup Ready). The GMO's do not provide any other advantage.

Re:I don't know much about this stuff... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42890673)

genetically engineered seeds do produce signficantly higher yields

Citation needed. That's been the sales pitch, but what is the reality?

http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/our-failing-food-system/genetic-engineering/failure-to-yield.html

Genetically altered seeds are primarily targeted to 1) allow for heavy herbicide use or 2) be their own pesticide. They generally allow for heavier use of chemicals (also a sales point). Either way, you'll be eating pesticides or herbicides. Don't believe that these are innocuous to humans.

Re:I don't know much about this stuff... (2)

g1powermac (812562) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890399)

Here's the thing with their seed. It does one of two things generally: one produces an insecticide internally so if any insect eats the plant, it dies. This is specifically the BT variant GMO. The other is resistant to Monsanto's other product, Roundup. That allows farmers to spray everything with this herbicide and everything is suppose to die except the resistant stuff. That's the marketed advantages. There's nothing about making the product better for _consumers_ outside of seemingly reduced prices via more production (and that is debated depending on who you talk to). There's also nothing on making the plants stronger and more resistant towards adverse conditions outside of borer insects which are targeted by the BT variant GMO.

Re:I don't know much about this stuff... (1)

Kaenneth (82978) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890509)

As a consumer, less bug parts in my beans sounds like a good thing.

Re:I don't know much about this stuff... (1)

Wild_dog! (98536) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890565)

Only if you don't want a good natural source of protein.

Re:I don't know much about this stuff... (1)

smegfault (2001252) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890595)

I think I prefer having bug parts in my food to having Roundup(R)(tm) remains. I mean, bugs are 100% natural and organic.

Re:I don't know much about this stuff... (1)

sunking2 (521698) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890417)

The price of seeds is pretty insignificant compared to the rest of hte operation. Which is why they have to use stats in %, because if they really told you the price you'd say, 'so what?'

Re:I don't know much about this stuff... (1)

smegfault (2001252) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890625)

Agreed, it would have to be offset against all the other costs (like fuel prices) and the (supposedly) increased yield per acre, otherwise this big percentage thing is pretty meaningless.

What can we DO? (5, Interesting)

anthony_greer (2623521) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890095)

I am sure most people are aware of and angry about monsanto's practices and products, but I am tired of just being angry and talking to my friends who all agree...what can we do about it? Even the progressive wonderland of Ca cant get a simple GMO labling law passed, is there anything anyone can DO to change it?

Letters to Congress - HAH, they are paid for already.
Stop buying their product - Cant, no way to tell what it is in...
Go Organic: and pay $15 / Lb for fruit at Whole Paycheck, er uh Foods? no thanks...

So what can we DO?

Re:What can we DO? (5, Insightful)

kheldan (1460303) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890123)

what can we do?

Surround Monsanto's corporate headquarters, drag all the top execs out, cut their heads off, stick them on pikes as a warning to all other corporations?

Re:What can we DO? (4, Funny)

lesincompetent (2836253) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890173)

I'll pick you up at nine next monday morning ~9am.

Re:What can we DO? (3, Informative)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890375)

No doubt you're on a list now. Better watch out for drones. But you are correct.

Re:What can we DO? (2)

siddesu (698447) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890395)

That won't help, they'll just grow themselves more heads. You need a political reform that would stop the interpretation of "right to petition" as an opportunity to buy the system wholesale.

Re:What can we DO? (1)

juliohm (665784) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890485)

CAKE! Everybody loves cake!

Re:What can we DO? (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890677)

When we can start?

Re:What can we DO? (2)

dbc (135354) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890213)

What exactly concerns you about GMO grains?

Re:What can we DO? (4, Insightful)

femtobyte (710429) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890309)

Perhaps the fact that their deployment is tied to concentrating control over the world food supply in the hands of a single viciously greedy corporation?

Re:What can we DO? (1)

anthony_greer (2623521) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890353)

Look around you? almost everyone in teh USA is carrying an extra 10-20 Lbs or more, look at the statistics, this wasn't the case a few decades ago, and the biggest change since the 80s? GMOs and fake sugar type stuff... It could be correlation without causality, but I have read (albeit a few years ago) that in Europe they dont allow GMO and don't have the obesity issues.

There are a lot of other calms on the net about this stuff and its other dangers as well...

Re:What can we DO? (3, Interesting)

femtobyte (710429) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890455)

Blaming this specifically on GMOs is a bit of a stretch. The issue is more that, while both Europe and the US control their food supplies through massive government subsidies, the US subsidies are strongly focused on supporting pure corn/soy monocultures (instead of subsidizing the broad variety of regional products necessary to support healthy diets). GMOs do contribute to this cycle, by making it easier than ever to produce huge volumes of a very limited number of crops (instead of supporting a slightly lower volume but more varied food supply).

Re:What can we DO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42890701)

The hippies tell us that the GMO Maize is linked to immunodeficiencies.

Re:What can we DO? (1)

g1powermac (812562) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890271)

Albeit not a practical solution for people with no land or time, but growing food yourself is definitely a way to make sure it ain't GMO and considerably cheaper than even non-organic produce. Even with people who have really limited land can produce quite a bit if they have enough determination. Check out these guys: http://urbanhomestead.org/ [urbanhomestead.org] Of course living in California with their great growing climate really helps, but it's still possible in more harsh climates.

Re:What can we DO? (1)

Brynath (522699) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890335)

Except for the fact that the farmers being sued in the article, didn't plant Monsanto seed. They are being sued due to having their plants pollinated by plants that were not in their control. What is to say that Monsanto doesn't next go after the home owners who plant food in their own gardens for the same thing?

Re:What can we DO? (1)

g1powermac (812562) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890441)

Most home owners don't grow the species that are currently GMO'd outside of corn, and usually home owners just grow sweet corn. I've yet to see much home owner interest growing soy beans, sugar beets, canola, cotton, etc.

Re:What can we DO? (1)

smegfault (2001252) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890645)

Are you saying that sweet corn isn't in fact a GMO?

Re:What can we DO? (1)

g1powermac (812562) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890709)

No, it also has been GMO'd but only fairly recently from what I can find. The majority of GMO corn is not sweet corn.

Re:What can we DO? (5, Interesting)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890401)

I live in Kansas and I for one have very little sympathy for these farmers. They hoist these corporations up on their shoulders and carry them to Washington to turn around and stiff their communities. Small towns all over the Midwest are evaporating because the citizens are inexplicably voting to peel back all of the liberal reforms from the Great Depression that protected their livelihoods. Now, all their kids are fleeing to the cities without the slightest notion of returning. There are small towns where the largest source of income is Social Security!

Re:What can we DO? (5, Insightful)

WWJohnBrowningDo (2792397) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890491)

What can we do about it?

Invalidate all genetic patents?

I don't get how /. can be so united against software patents and yet don't see the simple yet effective solution over GMOs.

Re:What can we DO? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42890591)

Unfortunately, there's nothing you can do about the AgriBusiness lobbyists. The problem is the House of Representatives. There are too many representatives with farm districts and the small farmers who are getting dicked over aren't the ones that write the big donation checks. It's big-time AgriBusiness. This is why high fructose corn syrup is in like 90% of the food on the market -- sugar tariffs make saccharose cost twice as much in the States as elsewhere. Farm subsides allow us to grow more maize than we need while price floors prevent it from becoming nearly worthless. Ethanol is a terrible fuel and almost all of our gasoline is diluted with it. AgriBusiness has had the House of Representatives under their thumb since FDR originally implemented farm subsides (I don't have a problem with that, there was a national emergency at the time -- the problem is the subsides didn't go away when the crisis did).

Here's what you can do: You can tell people that the U.S. Constitution is outdated trash and needs to be replaced with a parliamentary system. It won't do much, but until it's no longer taboo to suggest that our system of government is ineffective and fosters corruption, nothing can really be done. Taboos must be broken with great frequency to be removed. The U.S. House of Representatives is at the center of most of this country's problems -- a bill can't get passed through it without every committee member involved in the bill getting their (un)fair share of pork attached to it.

[AC b/c I modded]

Re:What can we DO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42890749)

You and your friends can grow your own food and swap amongst each other. The scary thing in the US (I'm not from there) is that authorities are trying to stop people from trading or serving up their own home grown foods. As much as people of your country have been taught to hate the Cubans, they have a great urban farming culture. Learn from them.

Also, be prepared to spend more on food, and less on other things. Quality air, water, food and land are critical for humans, yet we seem to have successfully lowered those below other distractions.

Here come the shills! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42890109)

Cue the GM industry shills who will explain why this is a good thing and the farmers are evil criminals.

When they aren't astroturfing for the fracking industry they do it for Monsanto.

What about the ACTUAL corn? (0)

superdave80 (1226592) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890111)

Here's what I don't get. Monsanto sold the original seeds for the purpose of growing corn. The corn is sold by the farmer. So, apparently the farmer has the right to whatever the seeds produce.

But then they turn around and claim ownership of the same corn, but only because it is used to plant more crops, rather than selling the corn for consumption. This seems ridiculously inconsistent, and I am amazed that ANY court has ruled in favor of Monsanto.

It seems that Monsanto screwed up by selling a self replicating product. Maybe they should have thought of a better business model, or written up some type of contract with the farmers for future crop plantings...

Re:What about the ACTUAL corn? (0)

El Puerco Loco (31491) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890257)

Saving seed for replanting is not standard farming practice. These guys knew exactly what they were doing.

Re:What about the ACTUAL corn? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42890391)

Excuse me? Since fucking when is a farmer saving seeds not SOP?

Re:What about the ACTUAL corn? (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890611)

> Since fucking when is a farmer saving seeds not SOP?

Since the invention of hybridization about 100 years ago.

Re:What about the ACTUAL corn? (1)

New Breeze (31019) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890721)

Go tell that to the Amish. Or any number of other groups that eschew a reliance on some outside entity to enable them to continue their livelyhood.

Yes, your general big grain farmer isn't doing this, but a lot of the folks selling produce down at your farmers market do.

Re:What about the ACTUAL corn? (2)

mspohr (589790) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890403)

Saving seed for replanting is standard practice in most of the world.
Only in "developed" countries do we have farmers who have been sold on the idea that they need to buy special "seed".
In the latest case, the farmer bought grain from the elevator (knowing that it likely would be GMO) and planted it.
The issue here is that now Monsanto is claiming ownership of the grain after the original farmer sold his crop to the grain elevator then the grain was bought by another farmer and planted.

Re:What about the ACTUAL corn? (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890435)

Yes, this will be an interesting case. Patent exhaustion usually makes this sort of thing outside patent coverage.

Re:What about the ACTUAL corn? (5, Insightful)

Abstrackt (609015) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890423)

Saving seed for replanting is not standard farming practice.

I grew up on a farm and we always saved at least some portion of each year's crop to plant the following year; you're pissing your money away otherwise. I can introduce you to any number of grain, bean or vegetable farmers who will tell you they do the same. Granted, certain varieties from large scale breeders won't grow as well the second year for any number of reasons but seed saving is very much a standard practice.

Re:What about the ACTUAL corn? (4, Informative)

wiredlogic (135348) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890373)

When you buy GM seed from Monsanto and others you sign a contract agreeing not to hold over seed for replanting. That take care of the legal responsibilities of Monsanto's customers.

In the case currently heading for the Supreme Court the farmer in question never planted GM seed purchased under contract. He unwittingly acquired GM seeds for use as a second planting by buying leftovers from local silos. Because all the granaries in the country are contaminated with GM seed it is effectively impossible to avoid buying product that doesn't "infringe" on someone's patents. That leaves a well meaning farmer with fields ready to be planted in a bit of a pickle if he doesn't want to pay the Monsanto tax.

Re:What about the ACTUAL corn? (1)

smegfault (2001252) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890679)

So this would actually have to be dealt with like someone who is handling stolen goods. Right?

Re:What about the ACTUAL corn? (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890443)

So, apparently the farmer has the right to whatever the seeds produce.

This is where you are wrong. Because when a farmer purchases Monsanto seeds they sign a contract and agree, in writing, not to save and replant seeds. So unless you are arguing that we should no longer have legally enforceable contracts, the rest of your statements make no sense.

There was at least one case where the farmer did not sign a contract, and instead planted soybeans directly next to his neighbors field, and saved the cross-pollinated beans, planted them again the next year, sprayed them with glyphosate to isolate the GMO gene, saved the seed again, and used it to plant the rest of his acreage. The courts, obviously, found that to be willful patent infringement.

Re:What about the ACTUAL corn? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42890663)

It seems that Monsanto screwed up by selling a self replicating product.

The same could be said of software. Of course, this is why open source will one day eradicate most proprietary software companies (or force them to drastically change the way they do business).

Monsanto is capitalism gone bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42890145)

Monsanto' marketing is bullshit covering lies and shows just how dumb humans are when it comes to short term thinking...

A few years after they cornered the market, their product's main feature of reducing the need for pesticides has gone away as more weeds have picked up the round-up resistance. If anything, all the farmers should sue for false marketing as the product is now requiring just as much or more pesticides to kill the superweeds that it has created.

Any good lawyers out there want to make money?!?!

Kill them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42890155)

Can't someone just assassinate the Monsnto execs and be done with it?

Re:Kill them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42890531)

It wont work because there is an endless supply of pigs in the empire. They might even hire more.

... there will eventually be (1)

drankr (2796221) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890161)

a revolution.

Re:... there will eventually be (1)

tiberius0 (2826763) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890289)

yes, the wheel will go around again but then we will be in the same shit position we are already in. Why does anyone want that to happen? Revolution, revolution, revolution, ad nausea...

I would prefer no more revolutions, let's start something not even they can stop from happening. Who's up for starting the singularity and building some robots? This will require some post-singularity thinking if you want to survive the AI revolution but heck it'll be fun stuff to see how many people survive the first and second phases of the AI designed robots designed to wipe out the pesky rodents and other mammals getting in the way of its industrial resource grab and energy resource acquisitions, and you thought having a company acquire your company was messy, just wait til you see what the robots to the labor resource market.

Monsanto profitable but bankrupting farmers. (1)

musixman (1713146) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890181)

One word for this: disgusting.

Constant dollars (0)

ChrisMaple (607946) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890229)

Between 1995 and 2011 the prices of gold has risen 310%. In other words, the price of planting an acre has remained constant in terms of real money.

Re:Constant dollars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42890699)

Between 1995 and 2011 the prices of gold has risen 310%. In other words, the price of planting an acre has remained constant in terms of real money.

Sorry Ayn Rand, gold ain't money. It's a commodity just like any other metal. Go cry about it with Ron Paul.

Re:Constant dollars (1)

femtobyte (710429) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890723)

And the price of labor has remained approximately flat, and Compact Flash camera memory has fallen by 99.95%...
You're an idiot if you think gold is any more "real money" than any other commodity, especially given how strongly the price is driven by the whims of investor speculation.

Great business model! (4, Insightful)

kawabago (551139) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890231)

Develop and patent gene. Release gene into wild. Sue hapless farmers who's crops are infected with Monsanto's patented jumping genes. Soon no one will be able to grow anything without a multinational giving consent and taking a big cut. That is a world I don't want to live in. It's needs to stop right now!

Re:Great business model! (0)

El Puerco Loco (31491) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890315)

Farmers do not save seed for replanting. Unless of course there's a good reason to do so, such as getting monsanto's product for free.

Re:Great business model! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42890447)

Bullshit. For thousands of years, humans known as farmers saved a portion of their crops to plant the next year. Only in recent times has it been more profitable to sell everything and buy the seeds anew the next year. Very recently, it has returned back to being more profitable to save the seeds but now you can't due to the patent Monsanto holds on the genes.

Re:Great business model! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42890647)

No, it's still more profitable to repurchase the seeds for corn and soybean. Do you have any other crops?

You can still save your seed, Monsanto doesn't sue over accidental contamination. That's an old myth.

Re:Great business model! (4, Insightful)

hibiki_r (649814) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890751)

It depends on the crop: Replanting corn, while possible, will get you way worse yields than not. Pretty much every commercial seed you can buy, whether GMO or not, is a hybrid, so a second generation will not have the same genetic makeup as the previous generation. So replanting corn is not exactly good business proposition, even without any licensing issues: You just get worse plants.

With, say, soybeans, it's not that case at all. Soybeans have perfect flowers, so they self pollinate. This makes it relatlively expensive to try new crosses, as you have a very small window to manipulate the flowers manually, and even then, you won't have a very high success rate. But once you have a cross you like, going from a plant to a field's worth is very cheap. In that way, soybeans are a bit like software.

Therefore, without licensing agreements and IP, it'd make very little sense to spend money developing soybeans specifically, since everyone that you sell a seed to becomes instantly able to compete with you, just like if you tried to sell GPL derived software: You better make all the money you expect on that first sale. So it'd only make sense to do development for the same reasons it makes sense to develop GPL apps: Mainly because you are a user too, and distributing your work makes it more valuable to you than keeping it. In agricultural terms, that'd only happen if you planted your own crops for sale, and you had the majority of the market.

So really, remove IP protection, and development would drop like a rock. Whether that'd be a good or a bad thing, or whether there's a different balance of IP that would provide more utility to society is a different story.

Re:Great business model! (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890497)

You're one of those people who thinks milk comes from a factory, aren't you?

Re:Great business model! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42890545)

There is actually a suit going through about organic farms getting contaminated by monsanto products. It was common to seed save long before monsanto existed. There are portable machines specifically designed for it. You astroturfing sod.

Re:Great business model! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42890771)

What are you talking about? I have family that farm (corn). you sell a lot of your crop. Some of your crop does not look nice. You use that for your own food and seeds.

Re:Great business model! (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890387)

That business model goes to other industries too. We are a fertile field for memes like the music and stories from movies. And if we try to do what is in our nature to do, like spreading that meme in any way, we got sued or forced to buy the permission to use that meme from them.

That's ok (1)

amightywind (691887) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890243)

I bought Monsanto stock back in 2010 and I'm up over 80%! As for the farmers, pay up suckas!

Re:That's ok (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42890377)

When Monsanto an others dictate food prices, I hope you are still as happy.

Inflation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42890329)

between 1995 and 2011, the average cost of planting one acre of soybeans rose 325 percent and corn seed prices went up 259 percent.

Doesn't that average out to about 10% increase a year? How much of that is normal inflation and how much is Monsanto being greedy?

Re:Inflation? (1)

fnj (64210) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890747)

between 1995 and 2011, the average cost of planting one acre of soybeans rose 325 percent and corn seed prices went up 259 percent.

Doesn't that average out to about 10% increase a year? How much of that is normal inflation and how much is Monsanto being greedy?

The consumer price index (a common definition of inflation) rose by 45.75% [westegg.com] total between 1995 and 2011. So for 325%, Monsanto was a greedy bastard to the tune of 279.25%. For 259%, Monsanto was a greedy bastard to the tune of 213.25%.

Monsanto share holders wanted more dividends (2, Funny)

sunking2 (521698) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890337)

So God made a farmer to sue.

In other news... (1)

sparkeyjames (264526) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890357)

Monsanto is still evil. More on this and other stories after this commercial break.

farmers should sue monsanto (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42890369)

Farmers should sue MONSANTO because their seed contaminate farmers seed, they should keep control of their modified seeds.
Oils companies have to pay when they contaminate water, sea, soil, etc.

MONSANTO must pay because their seeds contaminate farmer's farms.

PD. englihs is not my native language, I hope you understand the point.

bullies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42890461)

There is a documentary on Netflix on this worthless company named Monsanto. Monsanto is nothing but worthless Bullies that need castrated.

he used the seed as Roundup-Ready (5, Informative)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890465)

Better story at npr, please stop linking to RT.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/10/15/162949288/farmer-tackling-monsantos-seed-policy-gets-a-day-in-supreme-court [npr.org]

'He also took advantage of the gene. It allowed him to spray Roundup (or a generic version of the same weedkiller), which made controlling weeds relatively cheap and easy.'

If you are buying leftover seed and harvested seed it's one thing. If you spray it with Roundup, you are using it as Roundup-ready seed and you are thus utilizing the value of Monsanto's invention. Why should you not pay for the enhanced features of Monsanto's seed if you use them?

If you don't use them, the Monsanto doesn't sue. So you can buy and harvest seed, just use it as regular seed, not Roundup-ready seed.

Re:he used the seed as Roundup-Ready (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42890719)

Dumb cunts like you really do damage to society.

Natures way is to polinate (Often by air).

If you recieve said genes naturaly, They should be yours. Like it has always been in the past.

I'm not sure why farmers don't test for Monsanto genes and sue for damaged lines.
And do it everytime there is a breech (Which is always). Because Monsanto is
obviously liable for the genetics they can not contain.

But.. but... (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | about a year and a half ago | (#42890587)

socialism!

Perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42890601)

So US Corn production was ~10bln bushels last year, and sold at $8/bushel. That's $80 billion dollars. Or 80,000 million dollars. That's last year alone. This article counts multiple years for those lawsuits and that $23million. That's 23/80000. This doesn't include soybean(The article does include soybean in that $23million).

Also, Corn is not saved and replanted. Why? Because you get inbreeding depression. You lose a lot of bushels per acre, and purchasing new seed is a better business option. Also, new hybrid varieties come out every so many years that are genetically resistant to pests, usually coming from a low-producing but resistant variety that has been back-crossed into the elite performing line(this takes many generations and several years). This is especially important for things you can't spray for (viruses, fast acting bacteria on sensitive days, such as flowering). So for multiple reasons you don't save seed.

Soybean is easier to save, but not done as often because it is not packaged the same if you save it. Saved seeds are usually coated with fungicide and other protective chemicals(they even have organic versions coming out for organic seed production, hopefully in the next few years, organic agriculture is big business now and increasing crop yield is as high on their list as it is on any industrial farm, and many organic farms are industrialized now).

Soybean does have inbreeding depression, but it is not as severe as corn for a variety of reasons I won't go into here.

As far as accidental contamination and being sued by Monsanto? 81 organic farmers sued to prevent this, but since all the violations before had been due to consciously planting Monsanto seed without an existing agreement, and 0 had been for accidental insect or wind based contamination, the judge threw it out. That's right, Food Inc lied to you. Most of that movie has been debunked, actually. There are better ways to learn about organic farming, sustainable farming, and industrial farming than a highly biased documentary.

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