Where to start with this part…
Imagine your neighbour has an apple tree and it drops its apples into your garden. In 99.9% of places the fallen apples belong to your neighbour not you. You can tidy them away or let them rot but not eat or sell them. Now imagine you brush them into a piece of waste ground in your garden and the fallen rotted apple starts to seed. You nurture it, feed it and water it and after many years it has its own crop of apples. You take the seeds from this tree and plant an orchard…
Now let us imagine Monsanto or another GM company was the neighbour and the apple fell from one of their GM apple trees. In Law they would own your apples, trees and seeds, forever …. as they have the intellectual property and patent on that tree and its fruit as they have genetically modified them.
Strange improbable story but this happened with Monsanto’s wind-blown GM Canola ( Rapeseed) seed that blew into Percy Schmeiser’s land and took root with his Canola crop.
So how do Monsanto make money?
They sell their own patented seed and also charge per acre for those crops grown on the land. So how does it work?
A sales person persuades you as a farmer to buy Monsanto seeds, either because the crop yield is going to be better, availability of your normal seed is not there or 101 other good reasons. You must sign a Technology/Stewardship Agreement before they will sell you seeds.
At this point you agree to:
o Use Monsanto seed for planting only a single commercial crop.
o Not recycle seeds from a previous crop and plant the seeds in a new crop. (known as ‘seed cleaning’)
o Not to sell or give seeds to any other person for planting.
o To pay annual technology fees (usually per acre) in addition to the price of the seed.
o Allow access to your records, receipts and documents of your business.
o Allow access to your land and allow the corporation to take ‘samples’
Failure to do this and you will be in default of your agreement and there will be legal penalties. With the nature of GM seed once it’s grown on land it is very difficult to 100% remove so if the farmer wants to revert to traditional seed the future crop will still not be 100% GM free.
Corporate expansion by court action.
Also like Percy Schmeiser and hundreds upon hundreds of other farmers, if GM seed enters your property it is likely you will be taken to court and once the legal power of a GM company is brought to bear it is more than likely you will lose … you will then have to pay the GM company and its attorney fees and all related court costs.
Before you embark on the legal journey to financial ruin, you will be made an offer you cannot refuse… to join the GM family.
So, as a farmer, if you don’t want to buy GM seed you need to buy traditional seed, and who would that be off?
Answer…Monsanto. It is the world’s largest supplier of traditional seed. When Monsanto moves into an area it buys the traditional seed sellers. Over the years Monsanto has acquired Burpee, De Ruiter, Seminis and Delta & Pine Land (developers with USDA of the infamous “Terminator” technology for sterilizing crops so that seeds can’t be saved) plus other smaller seed sellers.
How are farmers supposed to avoid contamination of their fields from GM-crops?
Answer … they can’t
How do farmers stop Monsanto from flying over their land and taking samples?
Answer … they can’t
How do farmers stop legal action if GM crop is found?
Answer … they can’t unless they sign a Technology/Stewardship Agreement
Once you sign a Technology/Stewardship Agreement you are no longer an independent farmer but a grower for one of the big 4 GM Corporations.
As such diversification of seed type is restricted and reduced, this variety in a crop is what nature provides to prevent one pest or disease wiping out part of our food supply, but worse than that a GM company is now in control of part of the food chain.
I’m all for protection of intellectual property but having a GM company provide by exclusivity what I eat is unacceptable. Not possible you think? Remember in the USA, 65% of all products in US supermarkets contain GM ingredients. Stop Press: Genetically modified fish on the way.
Part 3 is called Genetically Modified Black Ops for a reason
Part 4 the final part is called The GM Parties Speak, and in the interest of fairness Monsanto gets a voice as well.
If you missed Part 1 it can be found here.