Monsanto Protection Act: Separating Fact From Fury

It makes an interesting narrative, worthy of a B grade movie script. A secret provision protecting big corporations is slipped into a federal budget bill in Congress. With the shutdown of the federal government looming, the bill is quickly passed, with no questions raised about the secret provision. The President signs the bill. Big corporations win.

Interesting narrative, yes. The only problem is that it’s untrue, invented by various groups for purposes we can only guess at.

In this case the Farmer Assurance Act, a section of HR 933 dubbed the “Monsanto Protection Act,” has been around at least as long as last summer. Last summer, groups protesting the idea gave it the name “Monsanto Protection Act,” and caused a stir on social media for a short time.

Virtually none of the people protesting actually read the provision itself. Those who did found a surprise: it contains no reference to Monsanto, protection of Monsanto, or benefit to Monsanto. It does seek to protect farmers, and we supported the provision. Also supporting it were the American Farm Bureau Federation, the American Soybean Association, the National Corn Growers Association, the National Sugarbeet Growers Association, the National Wheat Growers Association, the American Seed Trade Association, the American Retailers Association, National Cotton Council, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, and many others.

One of the best discussions we’ve seen on the bill came from Jon Entine at the Genetic Literacy Project at George Mason University: Monsanto Protection Act? Separating the Facts from the Fury. The article was also posted at the American Enterprise Institute.

Fictional B grade movie script, yes. Reality, no.

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