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

Matt Hopkins15 Best New Agriculture Apps Worth Downloading In 2014
December 16, 2013
These latest agriculture apps are sure to help ag professionals do their jobs more efficiently in 2014 and beyond. 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
Many new products were introduced to the ag retail marketplace this year. From this group, CropLife IRON and its consulting partners have selected five finalists for the Product of the Year award. 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
CropLife 100CHS To Build $3 Billion Fertilizer Plant In North Dakota
September 5, 2014
The fertilizer plant in Spiritwood will be the single largest investment in CHS history, as well as the single largest private investment project ever undertaken in North Dakota. Read More

Latest News

Seed/BiotechSyngenta Ranked A Top 10 Biotech Employer For Third tim…
October 20, 2014
Syngenta ranked in the top 10 among the world’s top biotech employers, according to an annual survey conducted by Science magazine. Read More
CropLife 100Wheat Growers Break Ground For New Facility At Kennebec
October 20, 2014
Wheat Growers has broke ground for a state-of-the-art shuttle loader grain handling, fertilizer and agronomy facility in Kennebec, SD. Read More
FertilizerVerdesian Life Sciences Signs Agreement With Los Alamos…
October 20, 2014
Verdesian Life Sciences has signed a licensing agreement with Los Alamos National Laboratory to develop and market LANL’s latest nitrogen enhancement technology for plants. Read More
MicronutrientsStoller Group Announces Groundbreaking At New Office Bu…
October 20, 2014
Jerry Stoller, founder and president of Stoller Group, announced the groundbreaking at the site of the company’s future headquarters in Read More
Crop InputsBioSafe Systems Opens New Production Facility In Nevada
October 20, 2014
BioSafe Systems has completed construction of a state-of-art production facility in Sparks, NV, for its line of activated peroxygen products. Read More
Crop InputsPlatform Specialty Products To Acquire Arysta LifeScien…
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/BiotechEPA Approves Dow’s Enlist Duo Herbicide
October 15, 2014
The Enlist Weed Control System, breakthrough technology to fight resistant and tough weeds, has received the long-awaited green light from federal regulatory authorities. Read More
MicronutrientsGypsum On Farms Could Help Keep Water Clean, Not Green
October 14, 2014
Gypsum, which has roots in the past as a farm soil treatment, also may have a bright future, and not just as a booster of crops but also as a protector of water. Read More
Photo credit: The United Soybean Board/The Soybean Checkoff.
Crop InputsVerdesian Grows Sales Staff
October 14, 2014
The new account managers will drive sales growth and support relationships with key customers in the plant nutrition and seed treatment and inoculants product categories. Read More
WebinarsUpcoming Webinars
October 14, 2014
Register for one of our upcoming Webinars or access our archive of past Webinars to view recordings of presentations that may be of interest to you. Read More
CropLife 100The Andersons Purchases Six Grain Elevators, Four Agron…
October 14, 2014
The Andersons has acquired Auburn Bean and Grain of Auburn, MI, which will increase the storage capacity of its Grain Group by about 13%. Read More
StewardshipThree Ohio Ag Retailers Honored With 4R Certification
October 13, 2014
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced its first three agriculture nutrient service providers to achieve certified status. Read More
Eric SfiligojEntering Agriculture’s New Phase
October 13, 2014
The market’s giddy ride the past few years might be coming to an end in 2015, warns one industry insider. Read More
Eric SfiligojWar And Green Peace
October 11, 2014
A one-time member of Green Peace recently explained why he left the organization after 15 years. Read More
StewardshipCover Crops Add To Farm Sustainability
October 10, 2014
Farmers nationwide find cover crops to be a tool that helps groundwater, prevents erosion, builds soil quality and complements existing best management practices. Read More
EquipmentMeeting Changing Liquid Storage Needs
October 10, 2014
Tank and containment choices are expanding with shifts in farming practices and the economy. Read More
StewardshipEDF Launches Initiative To Reduce Fertilizer Pollution …
October 9, 2014
The effort will engage farmers and businesses throughout the supply chain to transform the way fertilizer-dependent grain crops are grown and sourced. Read More
ManagementMACA 2014: The State Of The Agricultural Industry, And …
October 9, 2014
The trade association’s annual gathering featured speakers from across agriculture and beyond. Read More