Crisis in Seeds
This is the Story of
one farmer and his
nightmare with the GE
food seed giant Monsanto.
This story is from the site
of the group that defeated
GE foods in their County.
Many more counties
can outlaw GE Foods
if we work together.
Date: 6/18/2005 12:47:10 PM ( 16 y ) ... viewed 1482 times
Mendocinco County last year
was the first county in the USA
to outlook GMO Foods being grown.
This is from the website of the
group that came together
to defeat GMO Foods in their county.
Last night at a showing of the film
"The Future of Foods"
we learned that no money that opposed
the measure to defeat the GMO's in that county
came from local farmers. It was all from
interests outside the state.
I wrote about the underlying issues
on my Blog here:
Watch the Trailer to the film
"The Future of Foods" here:
This film tells the story of Percy
and his plight.
MONSANTO-ED! ONE FARMER'S STORY
Percy Schmeiser, a 73-year-old farmer lives with his wife Louise in Saskatchewan, Canada. He has five children and 14 grandchildren. Percy Schmeiser is world-renowned for his resistance to the legal attacks and harassment of Monsanto. Monsanto accused him of "theft" of its intellectual property rights because traces of its "Roundup Ready" canola were found in Schmeiser’s crop. In fact, Monsanto's genetically-altered canola, released into the environment, polluted his fields, ruining a lifetime of work.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Laura Hamburg/cell (707) 621-0906
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Feb. 10, 2004
She wrote this story:
PERCY SCHMEISER: IN HIS OWN WORDS
What follows are edited remarks from Percy Schmeiser's
December 10, 2003 speech at Vancouver's central library.
I've been farming since 1947 when I took over from my father. My wife and I are known on the Prairies as seed developers in canola and as seed savers. Hundreds of thousands of farmers save their seed from year to year.
I was also a member of the provincial legislature. I was on many agricultural committees, both on the provincial level and representing the province on the federal level. I was mayor of my community and a councilor for over 25 years. So, all my life I've worked for the betterment of farmers and rules, laws and regulations that would benefit them and make their farming operations viable.
In August 1998 I received a lawsuit document from Monsanto. Up to that time I never had anything to do with Monsanto's GM canola. I'd never bought their seed or gone to a Monsanto meeting. I didn't even know a Monsanto rep.
There were a number of items in the lawsuit. First of all, they said I had somehow acquired Monsanto's GM canola seed without a license, planted it, grew it and therefore infringed on their patent. They went on to say that it was 80 or 90 percent contamination that I had in a roadside ditch and so on.
When we were sued my wife and I immediately realized that 50 years of research and development on our pure canola seed that was suitable and adaptable to certain conditions on the Prairies, climatic and soil conditions and especially diseases that we had in canola, could now be contaminated. We said to Monsanto at the time, "Look, if you have any of your GMOs in our pure canola seed you are liable for the destruction of our property and our pure seed." So, we stood up to them.
It took two years of pre-trial and in those two years Monsanto withdrew all allegations that I had ever obtained seed illegally. They even went so far as to admit the allegations were false.
But, they still found that the fact that they had found some of Monsanto's GM canola plants in the ditch along my field, not even in the field, meant I violated the patent. So, it became a patent infringement case.
That ruling is what brought my case to international attention. These are some of the main points:
1. It does not matter how Monsanto's GM canola or soybeans or any GM plant gets into a farmer's field. The judge went on to specify how this could happen: cross-pollination and direct seed movement. Believe me, that's a primary cause - wind, birds and bees, because we have a lot of wind on the prairies.
The judge said it doesn't matter how it gets into a farmer's field, destroying or contaminating your crop, it all becomes Monsanto's property. You no longer own your crop. That's what startled people all over the world; how an organic or conventional farmer can lose a crop and seeds or plants overnight. He also went on to say that all the seeds and plants that my wife and I had developed over half a century go to Monsanto.
2. The other issue was that my entire crop from all our canola fields in 1998 goes to Monsanto. He also ruled that I was not allowed to use my seeds or plants again. So, all our research and development was gone and Monsanto got our crop for nothing.
Another issue that you never hear about in GMOs is the issue of corporate control of contracts that exist on the Prairies of North America.
These are some of the main points in a contract with Monsanto:
1. A farmer can never use his own seeds.
2. You must always buy seeds from Monsanto.
3. You must only buy your chemicals from Monsanto.
4. If you commit some violation of this contract, and they fine you, you must sign a non-disclosure statement that you cannot talk to the media or to your neighbours about what Monsanto has done to you.
In the 2003 contract they've added another clause - you can no longer sue Monsanto for whatever reason. You can never take Monsanto to court. That is their contract.
Another important issue, you must permit Monsanto's detectives to come onto your land or look in your granaries for three years after you sign this contract, even though you may only grow it one year. And who is Monsanto's police force? In the US it's the Pickerton Investigation Services.
In Monsanto's advertisements they say that if you think your neighbour is growing GM canola or soybeans without license you should inform on them. If you do this you get a free leather jacket from Monsanto. Believe me, there aren't many people on the prairies now wearing a new Monsanto jacket.
What happens when Monsanto gets this tip or rumour? They immediately send out two of their detectives. We call them gene police on the Prairies. They'll go to the farmer's home or farmyard and say to him or his wife that they have this tip. It's a form of intimidation.
Now what do you think happens when these detectives leave the farmer's home? The farmer will wonder which neighbour caused him the trouble. So, now we have the breakdown of farmers not trusting one another and afraid to talk to one another. We have the breakdown of our rural farm culture and society where farmers are not working together or trusting one another.
My grandparents came from Europe in the late 1890s. I'm a third generation farmer and our families had to work together to build our society, our infrastructure, our schools, our roads and our hospitals. Now you have that breakdown of working together and I think this is one of the worst things that could happen with the introduction of GMOs.
The other means of control is what can be considered extortion letters.
The letters state: we have reason to believe that you might be growing Monsanto's GM canola or soybeans without a licence. We estimate you might have 200, 300 or 500 acres. In lieu of us not taking you to court send us $100,000 or $200,000. I've got one here for $190,000. This one here is for $30,000 because they think someone might be growing GM canola.
Can you imagine the fear in a farm family when they get a letter from a multibillion dollar corporation asking for many thousands of dollars so the company might not take them to court?
If they can't find a farmer at home and they don't know his mailing address, they can go to the local municipality and get the location of his land. They will then use a small airplane or helicopter and drop a Monsanto Roundup herbicide spray bomb on the field. It covers about 30 feet in diameter, in the centre of a canola or soybean field.
About 12 days after Roundup has time to activate, they'll fly back. If the crop, which was hit by the spray, has died they'll know the farmer has not been using Monsanto's Roundup, but if it hasn't died, God help the farmer.
First, with the introduction of GMOs always remember there is no such thing as containment. Once you introduce a life form, a life-giving form, into the environment there is no calling back. You cannot contain the wind. You cannot contain the seed movement through cross-pollination - birds, bees, and other animals. You cannot contain it and it will spread as it has on the Prairies.
The other important issue is there is no such thing as co-existence.
Believe me, as a farmer for half a century, I know that once you introduce a GMO gene into the environment, into any seed or plant, it's a dominant gene. It will eventually take over whatever species of plants it gets into. You can't have GMOs in the country and have organic or conventional farmers.
It will all eventually become GMOs. That is the danger. There is no more choice left. Believe me, organic farmers on the Prairies no longer can grow soybeans or canola. All our seed supply is now contaminated with GMOs. Those choices have been taken away for both conventional and organic farmers.
I get asked a lot why farmers ever started to grow GMOs when they were introduced in 1996. At that time Monsanto told farmers, among other things, that it would be a bigger yield, that it was more nutritious and used less chemicals. I think the third point is really what caught the farmers' ears because on the prairies since 1946-47, after the Second World War, farmers started using chemicals by the hundreds of tons each year. A lot were highly potent and farmers realized the damage being done to the environment, human health and animals.
There were other things Monsanto said and you'll hear the same thing today: We'll now be able to feed a hungry world. We'll always have sustainable agriculture. Well, believe me, to feed a hungry world doesn't take the Monsantos of this world. What it takes to feed a hungry world is politics, transportation and economics.
When I speak to farmers in Third World countries - Africa, India, Bangladesh and so on - I tell them at least they have a choice left. We don't have a choice left for many of our grains in Canada. It's all contaminated. And we didn't have anybody to come and tell us what could happen. We believed Monsanto, but worst of all we believed our own federal government and they let us down on the introduction of GMOs.
A farmer in North Dakota, who they also had a lawsuit against, said they even followed his children to school as a means of intimidation and harassment to bring people down. As I said, this is what's happening in North America.
In conclusion, why did we stand up to Monsanto? My wife and I are 72 and 73. We don't know how many good years we have left and we look at it this way: as a grandfather I ask what kind of legacy I want to leave to my grandchildren. My grandparents and parents left a legacy of land. I don't want to leave a legacy to my children of land, air and water full of poisons. I'm sure all of you tonight feel the same way.
So, we will go on fighting for the rights of farmers all over the world to be able to use their own seed.
The Woman face second to the right on this Medicino
Measure that defeated GMO in their county
is Katrina Frey, of the Frey Organic/Biodynamic
To read more about the Frey Winery,
the Wine I will be celebrating at the Forthcoming
6th International Feng Shui Conference,
please go to:
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