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September 02, 2008

Comments

Monsanto is only out to make as much money as he can. When farmers have to put out more and more money for seeds they have to pass it on to the consumer. It already costs to much for the average consumer just to make it from day to day. For him to go after farmers for doing what they have done for centuries is wrong. These lawsuits are utterly rediculous. The rich get richer. As always. Maybe they did break the agreement. Monsanto has probably broken laws or agreements also. He just hasn't been caught yet. It would serve him right if all of the farmers banned together and refused to buy any of his patented seeds or any thing that comes form him or his companies. I knew Loren David from years ago. He is a fabulous person. He is small town and we need more people like him.

Although it is true that powerful companies like Monsanto would always have an advantage over small individual farmers, farmers need to understand that Monsanto created their seed technology. On the other hand, Monsanto is part of a process moving away from biodiversity. I am not sure this is healthy given the climatic pressures and population growth. A movement is needed where farmers embrace biodiversity and organic agriculture moving towards a system where food is produced locally for local consumption. Such networks would ensure the survival of farms and be better for the environment.

Dear Jessie:

One thing to keep in mind is that the opportunity for Monsanto to make money on these seeds is limited - the patents on them will expire in less than 20 years and then the seeds will be freely available. The contract Monsanto now uses to restrict replanting should be unavailable as protection.

While you have the right to prefer Loren David and other small farmers to Monsanto (it's easy to hate the corporate giant), if herbicides like Roundup increase yields and thus farm income, doesn't it make sense that Monsanto and other companies who make that profit possible should share in the increased profits? The difficulty non-farmers have in sympathizing with farmers found liable for infringement is that they knew the bargain they were making from the start. No one made them buy these seeds; they could have gone on the old-fashioned way and owe Monsanto nothing. Instead, they received the benefit of the technology and then reneged on their promise not to replant.

Thanks for the comment. Since you dislike Monsanto so much, you will enjoy tonight's post (they lose occassionally, too).

Dear Baltazar:

You describe the utopian ideal, but the question is whether the yield would be high enough to sustain the global population. Of course, discouraging growth of that population might be a good idea, but I'm not comfortable doing that by starvation.

Interestingly, there was an article in the NY Times (I think) about urban farmers, people who grow on whatever space they have. I think it was a very interesting piece that showed that folks, even in a place like NYC, can impelement your goals.

Thanks for the comment.

Kevin,

The idea is not utopian and it is not even something I created. It has been said and written before. And even practiced before. I am not proposing population control by starvation and neither is such a crazy thing needed. The issue of yield becomes an issue only when a handful of farms produce for a global market. But when you produce for local markets, yield is less of an issue. Also, remember that we have a far better understanding of agriculture and biology than say 30 yrs ago, so we know how to improve yield with little or no herbicides or insecticides. Also, I don't think that monoculture is good at any level. I don't see organic agriculture and local farm markets as necessarily impossible or difficult. The hard work is to convince governments to do something.

As always, I enjoy your blog.

Dear Baltazar:

I generally agree with your comments. I do know that my European friends say that what they dislike about America (on the food front) is that our vegetables and fruits are not as flavorful as the ones in Europe. I suspect this might be the result of monoculture and "factory farming," which I also suspect is less prevalent in Europe.

Glad you enjoy the blog. Thanks for the comments.

As a business, they'll do what ever it takes to protect their profit. And they have so diligently done so and allowed more breathing room with it also inducing a scare tactic. The newest news on the front about the Monsanto is that it has monopolized the soy bean industry.

When you say they had an option - this may be true in a sense. But internally - the heart of the matter, was Monsanto was making strides to dominate the market and FORCE farmers to purchase there products. With the patent laws, they create a 100% controllable market that allows them to control more then just the seeds.

I'm not saying that the farmers are right to break the patent laws. Every business needs it's protection. BUT, Monsanto needs to supply more options if they are going to be the dominant seed supplier.

Monsanto is wrong because they only do care about money - and not the well being of our earth and society. We should all be striving towards one goal, instead of standing at the top of the mountain and smacking down anyone who comes to the top.

My two cents to open up a old article.

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