A Crushing Blow To Farmers' Rights

This story provided by
Jerry Smith
author of
HAARP: The Ultimate Weapon of the Conspiracy

Monsanto Vs Percy Schmeiser

A Crushing Blow To Farmers' Rights by Patricia Doyle

On 29 March 2001 a Canadian judge dealt a crushing blow to Farmers' Rights by ruling that Percy Schmeiser, a third generation Saskatchewan farmer, must pay Monsanto thousands of dollars for violating the Gene Giant's monopoly patent on genetically modified canola seed.

Under Canadian patent law, as in the US and many other industrialized countries, it is illegal for farmers to re-use patented seed, or to grow Monsanto's GM seed without signing a licensing agreement. If the Gene Giants and US Trade Reps get their way, every nation in the world will be forced to adopt patent laws that make seed saving illegal. The ruling against Schmeiser establishes an even more dangerous precedent because it means that farmers can be forced to pay royalties on GM seeds found on their land, even if they didn't buy the seeds, or benefit from them.

Percy Schmeiser did not buy Monsanto's patented seed, nor did he obtain the seed illegally. Pollen from genetically engineered canola seeds blew onto his land from neighboring farms. (Percy Schmeiser's neighbors and an estimated 40% of farmers in Western Canada grow GM canola). Monsanto's GM canola genes invaded Schmeiser's farm without his consent. Shortly thereafter, Monsanto's "gene police" invaded his farm and took seed samples without his permission. Percy Schmeiser was a victim of genetic pollution from GM crops - but the court says he must now pay Monsanto $10,000 for licensing fees and up to $75,000 in profits from his 1998 crop. It's like saying that Monsanto's technology is spreading a sexually transmitted disease but everyone else has to wear a condom.

The GM canola that drifted onto Schmeiser's farm was engineered to withstand spraying of Monsanto's proprietary weedkiller, Roundup. But Schmeiser did not use Roundup on his canola crop. After all, if Schmeiser had sprayed his crop, the chemical would have killed the majority of his canola plants that were not genetically modified to tolerate the weedkiller! Schmeiser didn't take advantage of Monsanto's GM technology, but the court ruling says he's guilty of using the seed without a licensing agreement.

Monsanto (acquired by Pharmacia last year) is the world's premiere Biotech Behemoth. Last week's court ruling has far-reaching implications for farming communities around the world. Last year, Monsanto's GM seed technology was planted on 41.6 million hectares (103 million acres) worldwide. That means Monsanto accounted for 94% of the global area sown to genetically modified seeds in 2000. (Total worldwide area = 44.2 million hectares or 109.2 million acres.)

Thanks in large part to Terminator technology, the Monsanto moniker has became synonymous with GM seeds and corporate greed. Although Monsanto disavowed "suicide seeds" in the wake of international public protest, the company has routinely employed Draconian measures to prevent farmers from re-using patented seed, including the use of private police to root out seed-saving farmers, and toll-fee hotlines to encourage rural residents to snitch on their farm neighbors. Monsanto has threatened to "vigorously prosecute" hundreds of cases against seed saving farmers, but Schmeiser's was the first major case to reach the courts. Schmeiser courageously decided to fight back and speak out against bioserfdom.

Last week's anti-farmer verdict is being hailed as a landmark victory for Monsanto, but it's too soon for the Gene Giants to celebrate. Will the ruling against Schmeiser unleash a new biotech backlash in the heartland?

North American farmers grew three-quarters of the world's commercial GM crops last year, and now they're showing signs of biotech battle fatigue. Illegal traces of Aventis' StarLink maize (unapproved for human consumption) have disrupted grain markets and jeopardized exports. Unsold stockpiles of US maize are at their highest level since GM crops were commercialized. The US government announced last month that it would spend $20 million in taxpayer money to bail out the biotech industry, by purchasing maize seed that was contaminated with Aventis' StarLink genes. (StarLink maize was planted on less than 0.02 percent of all US maize cropland in 2000, but cross-pollination with other maize varieties resulted in seed contaminated with StarLink genes.) To add insult to injury, the federal bailout is using money that would normally go to disaster relief for farmers.

With the advent of genetic engineering and exclusive monopoly patents, the Gene Giants have abolished the farmers' fundamental rights to save and exchange seed. Now farmers are being forced to accept liability for genetically modified crops. How many bullets will they take for biotech?

In North America, where many farmers have embraced GM technology, there are signs of resistance worth noting:

The National Farmers Union of Canada has called for a national moratorium on producing, importing and distributing GM food.

A bill introduced in North Dakota (US), backed by the state's wheat farmers, would impose a moratorium on growing genetically modified wheat - a crop that Monsanto hopes to commercialize by 2003.

In March 2001 the National Farmers Union (US) adopted a policy supporting a moratorium on the introduction, certification and commercialization of genetically engineered wheat until issues of cross-pollination, liability, commodity and seed stock segregation, and market acceptance are adequately addressed.

The Indiana (USA) House of Representatives passed a bill last month defending the farmers' right to save seed.

Oklahoma's Secretary of Agriculture, Dennis Howard, recently commented: "After reviewing Monsanto's 2001 Technology Agreement, I would discourage any farmer from signing this document. Not only does this contract severely limit the options of the producer, it also limits Monsanto's liability...The protection of the Monsanto contract is strictly one-sided and I would encourage producers to carefully consider this before entering into this agreement."

A North Dakota State University economist warns that growers of GM crops are exposing themselves to potentially huge financial risks by signing gene technology agreements. Dwight Aakre warns that "responsibility for providing assurance of non-contamination with GMO materials is being pushed back to the individual producer."

Support Percy Schmeiser If you believe in this important cause, your assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Percy Schmeiser has filed a counter-suit against Monsanto, but his family faces enormous legal costs that cannot be sustained without outside assistance. Contributions to Schmeiser's legal defense may be sent to:

Schmeiser Defense Fund; or Fight Genetically Altered Food Fund Inc." CIBC (Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce) 603 Main St. Humboldt SK Canada SOK 2AO

Phone No. (306) 682-2614

For more information about Percy Schmeiser's case, go to:


To see the 62-page decision by Canada's federal court judge Andrew MacKay go to: http://www.fct-cf.gc.ca

RAFI (the Rural Advancement Foundation International) is an international civil society organization based in Canada. RAFI is dedicated to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and to the socially responsible development of technologies useful to rural societies. RAFI is concerned about the loss of agricultural biodiversity, and the impact of intellectual property on farmers and food security.

Major Victory for Biotech Giant Monsanto Farmer Liable For Growing Biotech Crops

by Marc Kaufman Friday, March 30, 2001

A judge yesterday ordered a Canadian farmer to pay the biotechnology giant Monsanto Co. thousands of dollars because the company's genetically engineered canola plants were found growing on his field, apparently after pollen from modified plants had blown onto his property from nearby farms. The closely watched case was a major victory for companies that produce genetically modified crops and have been aggressively enforcing agreements that require farmers to pay yearly fees for using their technology. But the decision in a federal court in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, was a significant setback for farmers who fear they will be held liable if pollen from neighboring farms blows onto their fields, transmitting patented genes to their crops without their knowledge or consent. Dozens of similar lawsuits have been filed against farmers around the United States, but the Canadian case is the first to go to trial.

The case also highlights growing tension between farmers and large agricultural biotechnology companies, whose high-tech crops are transforming the traditional ways growers tend their fields.

"I've been using my own seed for years, and now farmers like me are being told we can't do that anymore if our neighbors are growing [genetically modified] crops that blow in," said Percy Schmeiser, 70, the farmer from Saskatchewan who was sued by Monsanto. "Basically, the right to use our own seed has been taken away."

Genetically engineered corn, soybeans, cotton and canola have become widely used in the United States, and recent evidence suggests that their pollen can spread to conventional crops. That means any farmer whose neighbors grow engineered varieties could find himself in the same situation as Schmeiser, especially farmers of easily windblown canola and corn.

A Monsanto spokeswoman in Winnipeg, Manitoba, said yesterday that the decision will help protect the intellectual property rights of the company and of thousands of farmers who pay for its technology.

"This is a clear win for Monsanto, and this is very good news for us," said Trish Jordan, manager of public and industry affairs for Monsanto Canada. "What the judge found was that Mr. Schmeiser had infringed on our patent, and awarded us damages."

In his ruling, federal Judge W. Andrew MacKay concluded that a farmer does not have the right to grow crops with a patented and genetically modified gene unless he has an agreement with the company that owns the patent. MacKay also ruled that it didn't matter whether the farmer took advantage of the patented gene. In this case, Schmeiser did not.

The Monsanto canola contains a gene that protects the crop from the herbicide Roundup. With Roundup Ready canola, farmers can spray the herbicide more widely and control weeds more easily.

Seed companies representing Monsanto, and similar biotechnology companies, sell their modified genes to farmers under an agreement that they use them for only one season. Traditionally, farmers have stored their best seeds and replanted them.

Monsanto communications director Lori Fisher said yesterday that seed companies that license Monsanto technology will help farmers remove unwanted genetically modified plants in their fields. She called the Schmeiser case unusual and said that farmers support the company's effort to protect its patent.

But a spokeswoman with the National Farmers Union, which represents 300,000 small farmers and ranchers in the United States, said the organization has been following the Schmeiser case with apprehension.

"We're extremely concerned by what liabilities may unfold for the farmer, particularly with cross-pollination of genetically modified plants," she said. Margaret Mellon, director of the agriculture and biotechnology program of the Union of Concerned Scientists, called the ruling "stunning.

"This means that people who are in the neighborhood of genetically modified crops will have to pay royalties to the companies for products they never purchased and got no benefits from," she said.

The decision prohibits Schmeiser from using his seed again and requires him to pay Monsanto about $10,000 for its user fees and up to $75,000 in profits from his 1998 crop. MacKay told the farmer and company that he would impose a financial settlement if they couldn't work one out.

Schmeiser is a fifth-generation farmer in Bruno, Saskatchewan. In his trial last summer, he acknowledged he was aware that Roundup Ready canola had gotten into his crops in 1997. He said he used seeds from that crop for his next year's planting, as he traditionally did but with no intention of taking advantage of the genetically modified plants' engineered trait.

Representatives of Monsanto Canada received reports from nearby farmers in 1998 that they believed Schmeiser was using Roundup Ready canola without an agreement. Private investigators collected samples from Schmeiser's fields and confirmed the presence of the modified canola.

They reported that the crop was made up almost entirely of genetically modified plants. Schmeiser denied that, and third-party tests found the presence of modified canola to be significantly less. He became something of a hero in farmer and anti-biotech circles for his fight against the company.

Monsanto's Seed Depot in Italy Set on Fire By Alesssandra Rizzo

ROME (AP) - Arsonists set fire to a Monsanto Co. depot in northern Italy which contained seeds suspected of being genetically modified, police said Tuesday.

The attackers burned two buildings of the depot but the St. Louis-based biotechnology company said they did not contain the seeds under suspicion but conventional seeds that "were ready to be distributed to Italian growers."

No injuries were reported.

The words "Monsanto Killer: No GMOs," referring to genetically modified organisms, were spray-painted on one wall.

The attack occurred in the early hours Tuesday in the company's only storehouse in Italy, in Lodi, about 18 miles south of Milan.

Police said that two containers of inflammable liquid were found at the scene, leaving no doubt it was arson.

An investigation was under way, but police said no suspects have been identified.

Among other seeds, about 19 tons of maize and seven tons of soybeans were burned. Monsanto put its loss at $160,000, including damage to the building.

Agriculture Minister Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio said he was "worried" and called the incident "myerious."

"We are told it is traditional seeds. Then why is there an arson?" the minister was quoted as saying by Italian news agency AGI.

full article is at

Percy Schmeiser, June 19, 2000

From: http://www.percyschmeiser.com/

Quote: "In my case, I never had anything to do with Monsanto, outside of buying chemicals. I never signed a contract. If I would go to St. Louis and contaminate their plots -- destroy what they have worked on for 40 years -- I think I would be put in jail and the key thrown away,"


Mary La France

Folks, this affects everyone.

This is about food imperialism.

This is an infringement on our rights . . . rights for food safety, the right to farm, the right to property.

The right to know what's in our food!

The Canadian judge just ruled in favor of Monsanto against Percy Schmeiser. Monsanto claims that he was illegally growing genetically engineered canola without paying Monsanto a fee to use their seed.

This will begin to happen in the US too, because the door has now been opened to allow biotech companies to sieze property from farmers, whether or not genetically-altered crops are a result of pollen drift.

Percy Schmeiser urgently needs our support. We are calling on everyone in to help him file for an appeal.

Forwarded by MIRAGE (Michigan Resistance Against Genetic Engineering)

Contact: Mary LaFrance (734) 282-6935

An open letter from Peggy Malnati [ahmdet@concentric.net]

I just got off the phone with Percy Schmeiser, the 70-yr-old canola farmer from Saskatchewan who went to battle against Monsanto for contaminating his fields with genetically altered canola plants. As those of you on my lists now know, the judge in this landmark case ruled against him this past Thursday. Background on the case can be found at Percy's website:


There are many curious details about and disturbing implications to this new ruling, including

o the fact that a farmer is suppose to know if and when his fields have become contaminated with pollen from genetically engineered (GE) plants and is then not suppose to plant this seed (even if it's from his own seedstock, a product of 50 years' careful selective breeding);

o that if the GE plants from one company cross with Monsanto's GE plants, that Monsanto owns the new hybrid plants, not both companies;

o that if Monsanto's GE plants cross with and contaminate non-GE plants, Monsanto also owns the new cross;

o that even though Percy had bred his own seed for 50 years, the fact that it had become "genetically polluted" with Monsanto's Round-up-Ready products means that Monsanto now owns his seed stock too;

o that even though not all of his crop was contaminated and many of his fields had no genetic contamination at all, Percy must hand over the ENTIRE PROFIT for all his fields for the calendar year 1998;

o and it would seem that even though Monsanto has been publicly spreading misinformation about Percy and this case, and privately telling people that they were going to "get Percy," Monsanto is now entitled to damages.

The judge in this case has postponed rendering his decision 5 times prior to handing down his decision this past Thursday. Oddly enough, this same justice announced that he was stepping down from the bench last October, but is apparently still rendering decisions including this landmark case.

Percy must decide within a short period of time if he can afford to file an appeal for this case, which has already cost him $200,000 Canadian -- most of his and his wife's retirement fund. His lawyers say it will cost him another $50,000 Canadian just to appeal. Percy doesn't have the $50,000 and if he doesn't appeal and get the decision reversed, he will have to pay Monsanto several-hundred-thousand-dollars Canadian for damages in this case, which will not only wipe out his and his wife's entire life's savings, but bankrupt him in the process.

If you feel as strongly as I do about the dangers of releasing genetically engineered products into the environment without testing and without any care as to what they do there; if you feel as strongly as I do about the threat that corporate bullying of farmers and other citizens means to a free society; if you're as sick and tired as I am of watching corporations buy government favor and waltz in and out of key cabinet positions; and if you just feel as I do that Percy Schmeiser has been given a raw deal -- both by Monsanto and by the Federal Court in Ottawa -- then may I please ask you to call or write him and tell him you support what he's doing? May I also ask those of you with the ability to please consider making a donation in any amount to the trust that has been set up to take donations to cover his court costs? Your pledge now could make the difference in whether or not Percy can appeal this outrageously unfair decision. Whether you realize it or not, Percy is fighting for all of us, and the outcome of his case will have profound implications on many other cases on this matter that are currently pending in various courts in the world.

Peggy Malnati Master Gardener Organic Gardener Activist (248) 661-463

Here is a list of key Canadian's addresses:

Prime Minister Cretien

Health Minister Allen Rock

Enviroment Minister David Anderson

Minister of Agriculture Lyle Vanclief

Email and phone # of every member of parliament:


Canadian Biotechnology Advisory Committee

Web Site http://www.cbac-cccb.ca


BMCC members include the Ministers of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Environment, Fisheries & Oceans, Foreign Affairs & International Trade, Health, Industry and Natural Resources.

Minister of agriculture


The federal court's decision on the Schmeiser - Monsanto case is highly interesting reading, especially Monsanto's original claim mentioning " use of any and all quantity of the patented seeds", and paragraphs 93-96 and 116-118. IMO this supports strongly the call for 0% contamination of sowing seeds and farmers should ask Monsato et al. to remove any patented GE varieties from saved or bought sowing seed even before planting in order not to infringe patent rights.

The Midwest Anti-Drift Coalition (MADCO)

The Midwest Anti-Drift Coalition is not just for Midwesterners...

Ericka Dana, certified organic farmer and safe-food activist, has begun a national network based in Iowa called The Midwest Anti-Drift Coalition (MADCO) as a resource and support group for anyone who is concerned with pesticide contamination. This group includes farmers, home gardeners, drift survivors, chemically sensitive people, prairie preservationists, those with environmental illness, consumers who don't want pesticides in or on their food & parents who don't want their children exposed to toxic chemicals in schools or on the ground where they play. Why is a national network entitled "Midwest"? Dana says, "Two reasons - I like the acronym and the group began here in Iowa - but MADCO will encompass all aspects of the pesticide exposure issue and include all regions of the US (& beyond)." If you'd like to be included on the contact list, sign up by writing to Ericka at < doodles@netins.net> or Catnip Farm, PO Box 72, Victor, IA 52347.

The MADCO resource website, www.StopDrift.org, is under construction.

Other sites of interest:


Organic Consumers Association Regional Coordinator


Sierra Club Iowa Chapter Executive Committee


Managing Editor, Iowa City Area Sierra Club News

Iowa City Area Sierra Club Executive Committee


Iowa Green Party Agriculture Committee

Director, Midwest Anti-Drift Coalition


http://www.StopDrift.org (under construction)

Ericka Dana (319) 685-4270 OCIA Certified Organic Produce Catnip Farm, Iowa County

(319) 685-4270 Mail Order: Box 72, Victor, IA 52347


here are some good websites on irradiated food:




Jerry E. Smith website

Haarp : The Ultimate Weapon of the Conspiracy

(The Mind-Control Conspiracy Series)

by Jerry E. Smith



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