Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Why Is Monsanto Viewed So Negatively?
A scientist posted this question on Crop Talk this morning. I haven't met the gentleman but hope to next month.
Why is Monsanto viewed so negatively? I think it is because how they brought genetically modified seed to the marketplace. I don't see any other way they could have done it, either.
They were able to convince our government to change the PVPA or Plant Variety Protection Act by making genetically modified seed intellectual property and retaining all rights to the germplasm with royalties and penalties for use and misuse of the seed.
This changed the old practice of farmers saving their own seed. This not saving seed had already happened naturally in hybrid corn for 60 years or more but this amendment keeps farmers from saving their own soybean, wheat and other varietal seed.
Farmers are not going to breed their own hybrid corn but they could have kept their own genetically modified soybean without this amendment. This totally changed the seed markets and Monsanto put up the money to enforce these new laws.
The fear of "Pinkerton's" on farms and in seed houses became rampant as Monsanto prosecuted one lead after another of farmers and seedsmen who didn't get the message. More fear ran across the barnyard than across tree hugger's dinner plates who screamed GM food is Frankenfood.
Almost 20 years later Monsanto has the US and some world seed business locked up and the farmer pays a large tech fee for planting their genetially modified seed. All other seed companies had to take a stance and play the game too to get their royalties to stay in business.
bT corn and RR soybeans must work, don't they or why would farmers choose them over non genetically modified seed?
Monsanto has become a powerful life science company that has changed how we farm and what we eat. Some people are never going to agree how they did that.