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Dave Gutknecht -- Farmers Fight Monsanto's Threats and Intimidation

A major lawsuit against Monsanto was denied in at the district court and has been appealed. On July 5, 2012, seventy-five family farmers, seed businesses, and agricultural organizations representing over 300,000 individuals and 4,500 farms filed a brief with the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C., asking the appellate court to reverse a lower court's decision from February dismissing their protective legal action against agricultural giant Monsanto's patents on genetically engineered seed.

The plaintiffs brought the pre-emptive case against Monsanto in March 2011 in the Southern District of New York (Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association et al. v Monsanto) and specifically seek to defend themselves from nearly two dozen of Monsanto's most aggressively asserted patents on GMO seed. They were forced to act pre-emptively to protect themselves from Monsanto's abusive lawsuits, fearing that if GMO seed contaminates their property despite their efforts to prevent such contamination, Monsanto will sue them for patent infringement.

Lead plaintiff in the suit (and the main source for this report) is the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (, 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 its growers in order to ensure the organic community has access to excellent quality organic seed – seed that is free of contaminants and adapted to the diverse needs of local organic agriculture.

Dangerous Drift

Seed and pollen can drift great distances, in some cases as far as 10-15 miles, increasing the likelihood of contamination of organic crops with genetics from Monsanto's laboratories. The latter seeds and crops are referred to as "transgenic," and have had DNA of foreign organisms inserted into their DNA through human engineered processes. The suit plaintiffs use and sell non-transgenic seed, more commonly referred to as heirloom, organic, or conventional seed.

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