Monsanto: Why We Sue Farmers Who Save Seeds

Monsanto patents many of the seed varieties it develops. Patents are necessary to ensure that Monsanto is paid for its products and all the investments it puts into developing products. This is one of the basic reasons for patents. A more important reason is to help foster innovation. Without the protection of patents there would be little incentive for privately-owned companies to pursue and re-invest in innovation. Monsanto invests more than $2.6 million per day in research and development that ultimately benefits farmers and consumers. Without the protection of patents, this would not be possible.

When farmers purchase a patented seed variety, they sign an agreement that they will not save and replant seeds produced from the seed they buy. More than 275,000 farmers a year buy seed under these agreements in the U.S. Other seed companies sell their seed under similar provisions. They understand the basic simplicity of the agreement, which is that a business must be paid for its product. The vast majority of farmers understand and appreciate Monsanto’s research and are willing to pay for inventions and the value they provide. They don’t think it’s fair that some farmers don’t pay.

A very small percentage of farmers do not honor this agreement. Monsanto does become aware, through its own actions or through third-parties, of individuals who are suspected of violating its patents and agreements. Where violations are found, typically Monsanto will settle most cases without ever going to trial. In many cases, those same farmers remain Monsanto customers. Sometimes however, Monsanto is forced to resort to lawsuits. This is a relatively rare circumstance, with 145 lawsuits filed since 1997 in the U.S. This averages about 11 per year for the past 13 years. To date, only 9 cases have gone through full trial. In every one of these instances, the jury or court decided in Monsanto’s favor.

Whether the farmer settles right away, or the case settles during or through trial, the proceeds are donated to youth leadership initiatives including scholarship programs.

Monsanto pursues these matters for three main reasons. First, no business can survive without being paid for its product. Second, the loss of this revenue would hinder its ability to invest in research and development to create new products to help farmers. Monsanto currently invests over $2.6 million per day to develop and bring new products to market. Third, it would be unfair to the farmers that honor their agreements to let others get away with getting it for free. Farming, like any other business, is competitive and farmers need a level playing field.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

13 comments on “Monsanto: Why We Sue Farmers Who Save Seeds

  1. I'd like to know how many growers they've sued and put out of business for cross-pollination because their field sits next to a Monsanto field and the wind blows the wrong direction? Because my understanding is that THAT number is substantially higher than 145.

  2. What a load of crap. Monsanto ought to be sued for trespassing and ruination of crops when their products blow into a non-Monsanto field. Instead, they sue the farmer whose farm they have trespassed. Every time we eat beef or chicken or turkey that has been fed GMO grain, we are ingesting pesticides and herbicides into our bodies. Do we really want that? Worse, they continue to do their work in our cells. Monsanto is slowly killing America with their patents.

  3. OMG! Monsanto is the most evil company in the world. and with each passing day it is getting more evil! They are doing this damage since 1910.. DDT.. PCBs.. Agent Organge.. GMOs.. terminator seeds.. god knows what more they are going to do.. Govts are with them.. policy makers are with them.. Money is with them.. The only that are against them are the people..

  4. This from the company that designed the most perverse and (one would hope, because the opposite would be incalculably evil) short-sighted terminator seed. A company that has produced some truly horrendous chemicals. A slightly more paranoid mind would say it's by design. Monsanto should be sued for at the very least pollution, if not crimes against the future of humanity.

  5. It is difficult to think of what to say after reading the first 5 comments. You people don't believe anything in this article cause its from Monsanto. So what do you believe? where do your facts come from? oh yes, a youtube video called 'the world according to monsanto'. Certainly, that sounds like a credible source of scientific information…?!*#!??? GET A GRIP PEOPLE!!! QUIT BELIEVING PROPAGANDA AND START LISTENING TO THE FACTS!!! DO SOME RESEARCH ON YOUR OWN!!! If you don't believe the peer-reviewed scientific proof that shows GMO foods are no more harmful than our 'normal' food supply, that is your own problem. BUT, that does not give you the right to point fingers and assign blame when your only source is un-proven propaganda. so… provide facts to back up your accusations or SHUT UP!!! 'NUFF SAID.

  6. @ SRHUEN: on your comment "Because my understanding " so where did you get your understanding? Monsanto has sued one farmer for cross-pollination. this was because the farmer claimed that cross-pollination contaminated his field. Upon further examination, investigators found that 90% of his crop had GMO in it. if you know anything about plants and pollen and cross-pollination, it is impossible to get 90% from cross-pollination. What had actually happened, is the farmer saved or stole seed without signing a contract to do it. Monsanto won, obviously cause the farmer stole the seed. and i know this is gonna bring up the issue of saving seed… and if you know anyting about production agriculture, you know that there are reasons to buy new seed every year, which depend on the crop… for corn, farmers grow hybrid seed. why? cause hybrid seed yields way more than self-pollinated seed. for soybean, which is self-pollinated, you could save seed and get an acceptable yield. so why can't farmers do that? because seed companies invest a ton into their products and need to make money to pay for that. yes, they need to make money to stay in busines. when you go to a movie in the theater, do you pay once and then get to watch the movie as many times as you want? no! you pay each time if you want to see it again. why? cause it cost MONEY to make the movie. or you can wait til it comes out on DVD and buy it and watch it as many times as you want. same thing with seed, you can wait for patent to expire and you can then keep the seed. if you want to keep seed, then farmers can buy seed from a company or public institution and keep it. why don't they do that? cause they don't perform as well as the products from private companies who have invested millions into developing the product.

  7. @ Cris: your comment " we are ingesting pesticides and herbicides into our bodies". ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND???? what proof do you have of this? (credible proof). GMO is not pesticide. do you realize this? do you even know what GMO is/means? look it up and read about it! Herbicides and pesticides were used way before GMO's came about (and they were more toxic, like atrazine for example). so were you eating pesticides and herbicides then???? give me a break…

  8. since i mention credible sources, thought i would help out and provide some info on that. and i don't normally consider Wikipedia as a credible source, but its a starting point. the URL below will have 362 references on the topic of GMO controversies… this is a good starting point to find real facts and not propaganda. some are biased (from both sides of the issue) others are true peer-reviewed scientific journals. Best of Luck to you- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_food_controversies

  9. So if my pit-bull goes in to my neighbor’s yard and tares him to shreds according to this law which works for Monsanto it would be his fault for not having a fence! Is that the way the law works?

  10. […] plan to wrangle an asteroid may get shot down.. Must read: 50 worst scam charities revealed.. Monsanto: Why we sue farmers who save seeds Explain this dieters: We eat 600 fewer calories a day than 30 years ago but weight 30 pounds more […]

  11. @DH You might try to deny it, but I’m thinking that you must work for Man-satan-o. Why else would someone champion a company that does such evil things?

Seed/Biotech Stories

Seed/BiotechSyngenta Delivers Two New Winter Wheat Varieties To Eastern Corn Belt
August 6, 2014
Adding to its portfolio of AgriPro brand wheat varieties, Syngenta introduces SY 007 and SY 474 soft red winter wheat varieties. Read More
Seed/BiotechWater Optimized Seed Flowing Freely
April 1, 2014
As the demand for ag to diminish its water use while maintaining high yields and crop quality increases, three companies are leading the movement to grow more with less water. Read More
Seed/BiotechBayer Applies For Seed Treatment That Protects Against Sudden Death Syndrome
February 26, 2014
If approved, ILeVO seed treatment would be the first product to provide breakthrough protection for soybean seedlings from the soil borne pathogen Fusarium virguliforme, the fungus that causes SDS. Read More
Seed/BiotechSeed Still Central
November 1, 2013
Advancing genetics continue to make seed the crop variable that calls the shots for the season. Read More

Trending Articles

InsecticidesNew Research Study Shows The Value Of Neonics
October 29, 2014
The study evaluated seed treatment, soil and foliar uses of neonicotinoid insecticides in the U.S. and Canada. Read More
Crop InputsPlatform Specialty Products To Acquire Arysta LifeScience
October 20, 2014
Once the acquisition is complete, Platform Specialty Products will combine Arysta LifeScience with previously acquired companies Agriphar and Chemtura Crop Solutions. Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Offers New Support For Ferguson, Area Communities
October 8, 2014
Monsanto Co. has committed $1 million in new support for several collaborative efforts in Ferguson, MO, and surrounding communities in North St. Louis County. Read More
Seed/BiotechUnapproved Genetically Modified Wheat Found In Montana
October 3, 2014
USDA reports that one year after discovery of Monsanto's unapproved wheat in a single Oregon field disrupted U.S. wheat export sales, the GMO wheat has again been found in Montana. Read More
Equipment2014 Product Of The Year Voting
September 19, 2014
The deadline to vote for the 2014 CropLife IRON Product of the Year is October 31. Please cast your vote today to help us determine the winner. Read More
FertilizerFall Fertility 2014: Forecasting Fertilizer Use
September 7, 2014
Great crops this year have tapped the soil, and fall work is definitely called for, but how challenging will that get? Read More

Latest News

Seed CareSeed Care Success Stories: Hefty Seed And Monsanto BioA…
November 1, 2014
Growers in the Dakotas have always looked for extra ways to boost crop nutrients to their seeds, with plenty of help from their ag retail partners. Read More
Seed CareThe Growing Importance Of Seed Care
November 1, 2014
Ag retailers continue to value the seed treatment portions of their businesses — as do their grower-customers. Read More
Seed CareGrowing The Future Of Seed Treatment Equipment
November 1, 2014
Seed treatment equipment manufacturers are focusing on flexibility and customer stewardship. Read More
Soybean Field
Seed CareState Of Seed Care Study: Top 8 Key Findings (Infograph…
November 1, 2014
Results from our survey of ag retailers provide valuable insight into the state of the seed care industry. Read More
StewardshipTFI Recognizes Michigan, Maryland Farms For 4R Stewards…
October 31, 2014
As farming practices increasingly attract interest from the general public, two farmers are ensuring they meet public approval. Read More
Eric SfiligojBig Brother Is Already Watching
October 31, 2014
Opponents to UAVs seem to think they could be used to spy on other people. But spying is already taking place, through the Internet. Read More
StewardshipAsmark Institute’s New Training Center Focused On…
October 31, 2014
The newly dedicated Ford B. West Center for Responsible Agriculture will be used as a national training and education center for professionals in the ag input industry. Read More
StewardshipCTIC Tour Dives Deep Into Everglades
October 31, 2014
The most recent Conservation In Action Tour (CTIC) hit South Florida recently to tour the Everglades Agricultural Area. Read More
StewardshipResponsibleAg Begins Auditor Training
October 31, 2014
ResponsibleAg auditor training is now underway at the Ford B. West Center for Responsible Agriculture in Owensboro, KY. Read More
CropLife 100ValueAct Buys Stake In Fertilizer Dealer Agrium
October 30, 2014
ValueAct has bought 8.2 million shares in Calgary, Alberta-based Agrium, making them the second largest investor in the fertilizer dealer. Read More
InsecticidesNew Research Study Shows The Value Of Neonics
October 29, 2014
The study evaluated seed treatment, soil and foliar uses of neonicotinoid insecticides in the U.S. and Canada. Read More
StewardshipUSDA To Provide $4 Million For Honey Bee Habitat
October 29, 2014
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that more than $4 million in technical and financial assistance will be provided to Read More
Crop InputsValent Launches New Low VOC ProGibb LV Plus Plant Growt…
October 29, 2014
ProGibb LV Plus PGR is a high-potency, liquid gibberellic acid formulation designed to comply with California’s new air quality standards for high volatile organic compound agricultural products. Read More
Crop InputsBayer CropScience Acquires Certain DuPont Crop Protecti…
October 29, 2014
Bayer CropScience and DuPont Crop Protection have signed an agreement for Bayer to purchase certain DuPont Crop Protection Land Management assets in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand. Read More
ManagementWest Central Names New President
October 29, 2014
West Central’s board of directors have announced their unanimous decision to name Milan Kucerak President and CEO-elect following Jeff Stroburg’s retirement at the end of the fiscal year. Read More
InsecticidesValent U.S.A., MGK Form Marketing Agreement
October 24, 2014
Valent has formed an agreement with Minneapolis-based MGK to manage the marketing and sales of MGK’s crop protection line of insect control products within the U.S. beginning April 1, 2015. Read More
StewardshipFlorida’s 4R Advocate Keeps Improving
October 24, 2014
Florida farmer Alan Jones uses the 4R principles of nutrient stewardship as the core of his fertility program, which allows him to maximize production and keep costs in check. Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Named One Of The World’s Best Multinational …
October 23, 2014
Monsanto ranked No. 8 in the world’s largest annual study of workplace excellence that identifies the top 25 best multinational companies in terms of workplace culture. Read More