Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Farm group takes action

Farm group seeks US halt on ‘dangerous’ crop chemicals
Carey Gillam
Reuters
April 18, 2012

A coalition of more than 2,000 U.S. farmers and food companies said Wednesday it is taking legal action to force government regulators to analyze potential problems with proposed biotech crops and the weed-killing chemicals to be sprayed over them.

Dow AgroSciences, a unit of Dow Chemical, and Monsanto Co. are among several global chemical and seed companies racing to roll out combinations of genetically altered crops and new herbicides designed to work with the crops as a way to counter rapidly spreading herbicide-resistant weeds that are choking millions of acres of U.S. farmland.

Dow and Monsanto say the new chemical combinations and new crops that tolerate those chemicals are badly needed by corn, soybean and cotton farmers as weeds increasingly resist treatments of the most commonly used herbicide - glyphosate-based Roundup.

“They (farmers) need this new technology,” said Dow AgroScience Joe Vertin, global business leader for Dow’s new herbicide-protected crops called “Enlist.”

But critics say key ingredients in these new herbicides - 2,4-D for Dow and dicamba for Monsanto - already are in use in the marketplace and have proved damaging to “non-target” fields because they are hard to keep on target. Wind, heat and humidity can move the chemical particles miles down the road, damaging gardens, crops, trees. Many farms have suffered significant damage in recent years even though the chemicals are currently sprayed under tight restrictions.

[Read More…]

Monday, February 27, 2012

Judge sides with Monsanto

Judge sides with Monsanto
OSGATA
February 27, 2012

Ridicules farmers’ right to grow food without fear, contamination and economic harm

On February 24, Judge Naomi Buchwald handed down her ruling on a motion to dismiss in the case of Organic Seed Growers and Trade Assn et al v. Monsanto after hearing oral argument on January 31st in Federal District Court in Manhattan. Her ruling to dismiss the case brought against Monsanto on behalf of organic farmers, seed growers and agricultural organizations representing farmers and citizens was met with great disappointment by the plaintiffs.

Plaintiff lead attorney Daniel Ravicher said, “While I have great respect for Judge Buchwald, her decision to deny farmers the right to seek legal protection from one of the world’s foremost patent bullies is gravely disappointing. Her belief that farmers are acting unreasonable when they stop growing certain crops to avoid being sued by Monsanto for patent infringement should their crops become contaminated maligns the intelligence and integrity of those farmers. Her failure to address the purpose of the Declaratory Judgment Act and her characterization of binding Supreme Court precedent that supports the farmers’ standing as ‘wholly inapposite’ constitute legal error. In sum, her opinion is flawed on both the facts and the law. Thankfully, the plaintiffs have the right to appeal to the Court of Appeals, which will review the matter without deference to her findings.”

[Read More…]

Monsanto prevails

Monsanto prevails in suit brought by organic growers
By Carey Gillam
Reuters
February 27, 2012

Lawsuit against Monsanto dismissed, judge finds no injury
Organic growers considering appeal, say threat is real
Ruling criticizes plaintiffs for creating “controversy”

A federal judge has ruled in favor of global seed giant Monsanto Co, dismissing a lawsuit brought by a consortium of U.S. organic farmers and seed dealers who said their industry is at risk from Monsanto’s growing market strength.

U.S. District Court Judge Naomi Buchwald, for the Southern District of New York, threw out the case brought by the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) and dozens of other plaintiff growers and organizations, criticizing the groups for a “transparent effort to create a controversy where none exists.”

The Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) filed the suit last March on behalf of more than 50 organizations challenging the agricultural giant’s patents on its genetically modified seeds. The group wanted a ruling that would prohibit Monsanto from suing the farmers or dealers if their organic seed becomes contaminated with Monsanto’s patented biotech seed germplasm.

But Judge Buchwald said Monsanto had not sued or even started the process of suing anyone of the plaintiffs or anyone in “similar stead.”

“We’re disappointed. We think the judge erred in her ruling,” said Jim Gerritsen, spokesman for the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association.

Daniel Ravicher, lead attorney for the plaintiffs, said farmers stop growing certain crops to avoid being sued by Monsanto and the court’s refusal to protect those farmers was a mistake.

[Read More…]

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monsanto guilty

Monsanto Guilty: Paul Francois, French Farmer, Poisoned By Biotech Giant’s Chemicals
By Catherine Lagrange and Marion Douet
Reuters in Lyon
February 13, 2012

LYON/PARIS - A French court on Monday declared U.S. biotech giant Monsanto guilty of chemical poisoning of a French farmer, a judgment that could lend weight to other health claims against pesticides.

In the first such case heard in court in France, grain grower Paul Francois, 47, says he suffered neurological problems including memory loss, headaches and stammering after inhaling Monsanto’s Lasso weedkiller in 2004.

He blames the agri-business giant for not providing adequate warnings on the product label.

The ruling was given by a court in Lyon, southeast France, which ordered an expert opinion of Francois’s losses to establish the amount of damages.

“It is a historic decision in so far as it is the first time that a (pesticide) maker is found guilty of such a poisoning,” François Lafforgue, Francois’s lawyer, told Reuters.

[Read More…]

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Lawsuit against Monsanto

Landmark Lawsuit against Monsanto gets day in court
SustainableBusiness.com
February 01, 2012

On Jan. 31, a Federal District Court judge agreed to hear oral arguments for a landmark lawsuit - Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) et al. v. Monsanto.

Monsanto filed a pre-trial motion to dismiss the case in July - this hearing will determine whether the case can move forward.

It was standing room only as family farmers from around North America filled the New York City courtroom.

Over 300,000 people are represented by 83 plaintiffs from 36 organizations in the case against Monsanto.

The lawsuit seeks to invalidate Monsanto’s patents on genetically modified (GMO) seeds and to prohibit the company from suing those whose crops become genetically contaminated because they drift through the air.

Monsanto has created a culture of fear in the rural community by aggressively pursuing lawsuits against farmers for “genetic trespassing.”

Dozens of farmers have been driven into bankruptcy and many organic and non-GMO farmers are now afraid to plant seeds.

Wouldn’t it make more sense if organic farmers could sue Monsanto for contaminating their crops with their GMO seed?

[Read More…]

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