Today NPR released an article, The Top Five Myths of Genetically Modified Seeds, Busted, by Dan Charles. OSGATA felt compelled to respond in order to set the record straight. Mr. Charles did not reach out to our organization, which is the lead plaintiff in OSGATA et al. v. Monsanto lawsuit, or any of our lawyers at the Public Patent Foundation for comment. The following rebuttal has been prepared by OSGATA President Jim Gerritsen.
On Myth 2, Mr. Charles completely adopts Monsanto’s argument on these points and ignores the evidence submitted by the plaintiffs in the OSGATA et al. v. Monsanto lawsuit, like me, that Monsanto has repeatedly accused those contaminated with its seed of patent infringement, including Troy Roush (as documented by the Associated Press) and Dawn and David Runyon (as documented by CBS). Monsanto has not denied these cases, and instead points to other cases where farmers were not contaminated. But just because Monsanto sometimes sues farmers who intentionally used their seed DOES NOT mean they’ve NEVER accused farmers who did not intentionally possess their seed.
Further, what’s the word “trace” mean when Monsanto says “We won’t sue farmers for possessing TRACE amounts of our seed.” Contamination is often unnoticeable unless/until someone tests their seed supply or is contaminated by RoundUp and then notices some of their field doesn’t suffer. Thus, contamination can be in much more than “trace” amounts. Lastly, we asked Monsanto to simply put in writing that they’d never sue us before we moved forward with the case. Our correspondence is available at the end of our Amended Complaint.
Instead of simply confirming they’d never sue us, since we want nothing to do with their GE seed, Monsanto instead hired a team of lawyers and accused us, the plaintiffs, of trying to pull a publicity stunt and being liars. I’d much rather be tending to the work on my seed farm than being involved in a lawsuit against one of the biggest, most aggressive companies in the world, but I have to protect myself and this case, where we’re only seeking the peace of mind that Monsanto could never sue us for patent infringement (and not a single dime), is the only way to do so.
If Mr. Charles really thinks its a “myth” that Monsanto would ever sue me or my co-plaintiffs or other organic, biodynamic and plainly non-GMO farmers for patent infringement, I’d gladly take an insurance policy from him offering to defend me from any potential accusations in the future. If he’s not willing to give me that insurance policy, then he’s not willing to put his money where his mouth is, which is exactly what I’m being forced to do today, put my money and my business and my family’s future on the line hoping and praying Monsanto never sues me for patent infringement when I get contaminated by their seed, something they do not even dispute will happen due to the prevalence of their seed in the marketplace.
Jim Gerritsen, President
Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association