OSGATA’s Online Press Room
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The Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association is a not-for-profit agricultural organization made up of organic farmers, seed growers, seed businesses and supporters. OSGATA is committed to developing and protecting organic seed and it’s growers in order to ensure the organic community has access to excellent quality organic seed free of contaminants and adapted to the diverse needs of local organic agriculture. OSGATA is lead plaintiff in the landmark organic community lawsuit OSGATA et al. v. Monsanto which challenges the validity of Monsanto’s patents on genetically engineered (GE) seed and seeks Court protection for family farmers from allegations of patent infringement should Monsanto seed trespass and contaminate their crops.
Our Mission & Goals
The Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) develops, protects and promotes the organic seed trade and its growers, and assures that the organic community has access to excellent quality organic seed, free of contaminants and adapted to the diverse needs of local organic agriculture.
OSGATA’s primary goal as an organization is to address seed issues of mutual concern on business and policy levels while collaboratively developing strategies for improving and protecting organic seed and the seed trade on a national scale.
Brief History of Organization
The Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) was envisioned and established by the Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) in October 2007, with formal incorporation in January 2008, in order to fill the need for an organization positioned to protect, promote and develop the organic seed trade and its growers for the benefit of the organic community. From 2008-2010 OSGATA was primarily campaign driven−with a focus on responding to pertinent issues regarding the integrity of organic seed.
In January of 2011 the OSGATA membership voted to join a key legal action to support our mission to protect organic seed growers and the organic community. In March, OSGATA agreed to serve as the lead plaintiff in OSGATA et al. v. Monsanto. The Declaratory Judgement Act suit was filed in federal district court in Manhattan, NY, on March 29, 2011. After the filing of initial briefs, in July 2011, Monsanto filed a pre-trial motion to dismiss the lawsuit. An oral argument was heard on the motion to dismiss in January of 2012. Federal District Court Judge Naomi Buchwald dismissed the lawsuit in February 2012. On July 5, 2012 the plaintiff group filed a Appeal Brief with the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C., citing legal and factual errors and asking the appellate court to reverse the lower court’s decision.
The oral argument was heard on January 10, 2013 and a ruling was issued on June 10, 2013. The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit judges affirmed the Southern District of New York’s previous decision that the plaintiffs did not present a sufficient controversy to warrant adjudication by the courts. The decision rendered by the three-judge panel at the Court of Appeals in September 2013 legally bound Monsanto to their courtroom assurances− that Monsanto would not “take legal action against growers whose crops might inadvertently contain traces of Monsanto biotech genes (because, for example, some transgenic seed or pollen blew onto the grower’s land).” The Justices felt their estoppel order protected the farmers and mooted our case.On September 5, 2013, the plaintiffs appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court in order to attain full protection for American farmers. On January 13, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in OSGATA et al. v. Monsanto. Farmers were denied the right to argue their case in court and gain protection from potential abuse by the agrichemical and genetic engineering giant, Monsanto.
In 2013 OSGATA continued to strengthen its education and outreach efforts, while informing Congress, the media, and the courts on issues concerning seed. To this end, OSGATA completed researching and writing of the first comprehensive farmers’ and seed handlers’ manual outlining GE contamination avoidance and testing protocols, entitled Protecting Organic Seed Integrity: The Organic Farmer’s Handbook to GE Avoidance and Testing. We are distributing this handbook for free to the organic community in an effort to minimize the serious risk to organic seed integrity through this peer-reviewed compendium of best practices for avoidance and testing for crops currently under threat of contamination from genetically engineered (GE) seed.