Tag Archives: seeds

Seed Saving –Janisse Ray

Janisse Ray wrote the book on seed saving, and will talk about that at South Georgia Growing Local 2014:

From her book, The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food,

“If you haven’t heard what’s happening with seeds, let me tell you. They’re disappearing, about like every damn thing else…. But I’m not going to talk about anything that’s going to make us feel hopeless, or despairing, because there’s no despair in a seed.”

Her book bio, with picture by Raven Waters: Continue reading

Monsanto FUD about seed ownership: Farmer Bowman could win back natural seed rights

Monsanto is always hiding behind something, starving children (while selling their parents crops that fail all at once), the Great God Efficiency, or now, medical research. Will Clarence Thomas recuse himself this time on this Supreme Court seed patent, Bowman v Monsanto? Will Monsanto manufacture enough Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) to win anyway, or will the other SCOTUS judges rule wisely this time?

Andrew Pollack wrote for the New York Times 13 February 2013, Farmer’s Supreme Court Challenge Puts Monsanto Patents at Risk,

Monsanto says that a victory for Mr. Bowman would allow farmers to essentially save seeds from one year’s crop to plant the next year, eviscerating patent protection. In Mr. Bowman’s part of Indiana, it says, a single acre of soybeans can produce enough seeds to plant 26 acres the next year.

Such a ruling would “devastate innovation in biotechnology,” the company wrote in its brief. “Investors are unlikely to make such investments if they cannot prevent purchasers of living organisms containing their invention from using them to produce unlimited copies.”…

The decision might also apply to live vaccines, cell lines and DNA used for research or medical treatment, and some types of nanotechnology.

Yeah, yeah, it could. But it would be quite easy for SCOTUS to say this ruling is about seeds.

Many organizations have filed briefs in support of Monsanto’s position — universities worried about incentives for research, makers of laboratory instruments and some big farmer groups like the American Soybean Association, which say seed patents have spurred crop improvements. The Justice Department is also supporting Monsanto’s argument.

And the American Soybean Association represents big growers who plant Monsanto seeds. Too bad they don’t realize they’d make more profits if they didn’t have to pay for those seeds every year even when Monsanto jacks up the price ( 43% in 2009), plus pay for the expensive pesticides that go on them, and the expensive huge tractor equipment to farm at the scale Monsanto demands. Another group that should know better weighs in:

Continue reading

Monsanto Fined $2.5 Million

Jimmy Mengel EPA Slaps Monsanto with Record Fine, Million Dollar Settlement the Largest in Series of Penalties:
The agricultural giant was found to have been selling genetically modified cotton seeds without labeling them as such. Between 2002 and 2007, Monsanto’s seeds were illegally sold in several Texas counties where the seeds are explicitly banned.

The seeds — known as Bollgard and Bollgard II — were genetically engineered to produce the insecticide Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), and Texas officials were concerned that using the seeds would lead to pest resistance.

But that didn’t stop Monsanto from bamboozling buyers into purchasing the illegal seeds.

Here’s the bad news: Monsanto’s market cap is $29.5 billion, so the fine is less than a hundredth of a percent of that.

Still, the fines keep going up. Maybe eventually they’ll get big enough to sting.

Or we could just trust the company that made Agent Orange and DDT.

Or we could remember this: Continue reading

Monsanto under investigation by at least 7 US States

According to The Organic and Non-GMO Report, April 2010 :
At least seven US state attorneys general are investigating whether Monsanto Company has abused its market power to lock out competitors and raise prices on seed. Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, Texas, Virginia, and two other unidentified states are in a working group to investigate the biotech giant.

The states are probing whether Monsanto violated laws by offering rebates to seed distributors for excluding rival seeds, imposing limits on combining the product with other genetic modifications, or offering cash incentives to switch farmers to more expensive generation of seed varieties.

The state investigations add to pressure on Monsanto. The US Justice Department is investigating the company’s marketing practices, and DuPont Company has accused Monsanto of anti-competitive practices in licensing litigation.

And Monsanto’s stock price is down more than 30%, from $93.35 in May to a 52 week low of $63.75 Friday.

Interesting developments.

Who Owns Monsanto?

The answer in 1939 turns out to be about the same as in 2010: minority shares by its own executives, and the majority by, well:
Last week’s survey of stockholders—lavish to the point of including pictures of “typical” Monsanto stockholders in the “typical” city of Cincinnati—was frankly designed to prove that Monsanto is not owned or run by any of “America’s 60 Families.”

Outstanding as of June 1, 1938, were 1,241,816 common shares held by 4,300 men, 4,084 women, 2,708 trusts, groups, institutions. Mr. Queeny holds only 3.4% has beneficial interest in about 4.5% more through relatives and trusts. One officer of the company owns 1.47%, no others own more than .25%.

The magazine named as “stockholders, once removed,” students in 42 universities which together own 1% of Monsanto and the 25,000,000 policyholders in 72 insurance companies which together own 3%. Tucked away in a graph was the fact that 81% of the company’s shares is owned in blocks of 101 or more shares ($102-to-$104 a share last week).

So, mostly funds in 1939. And 71 years later, it’s even more so. Continue reading

DoJ vs. Monsanto

Well, it’s a start, as reported by Jack Kaskey for BusinessWeek, Monsanto’s Roundup Ready Soybeans Probed by Justice (Update4),
Jan. 14 (Bloomberg) — Monsanto Co., the world’s largest seed producer, said the U.S. Justice Department formally requested information on its herbicide-tolerant soybean seed business as part of an investigation.

The Justice Department issued a civil investigative demand seeking confirmation that competitors and farmers will have access to first-generation Roundup Ready soybean seeds following patent expiration in 2014, St. Louis-based Monsanto said today in a statement. The company has provided access to “millions of pages of documents” as it cooperates with inquiries into its business and the industry.

After Monsanto’s stock price fell, analysts tried to put a good spin on this:
The department’s focus on Roundup Ready soybeans “likely indicates no DOJ interest in the remainder of Monsanto” operations, Vincent Andrews, a New York-based analyst at Morgan Stanley, said today in a report. He rates the shares “overweight.“
He wishes.

Meanwhile, it’s not just DoJ: Continue reading