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Inserting terminator genes into crops would prevent them from producing fertile seeds, meaning farmers would have to buy new seeds, rather than saving part of their harvest to plant next year's crop.
Monsanto said that after consultations with experts and customers, it was making a public commitment never to commercialise sterile seed technologies.
The commitment came in a letter from Monsanto chairman Robert Shapiro to the philanthropic organisation, the Rockefeller Foundation. - news.bbc.co.uk...
US Patent Office: this where the problem began, in allowing a patent on life. Monsanto’s seeds are protected under an ‘Intellectual Property’ patent; the seeds are good for one season. When a farmer buys Monsanto seed, he also signs the Technology Agreement that stipulates he may not collect seed and replant it. While the farmer is free to plant any type of seed he wishes, the courts have maintained that farmers are not tied to Monsanto seeds in future seasons. However, it is difficult and costly to stop using Monsanto seed once a farmer has planted it because he may not collect and replant the Monsanto seeds collected after harvest, and must buy all new seeds for the new season. Even if a farmer, having once planted GMO seed, then wishing to switch back, faces the issue of “volunteers” (seeds in the ground from the previous planting) which appear and Monsanto has aggressively sued farmers for patent infringement. - www.morphcity.com...
KANSAS CITY, June 23 (Reuters) - More than 50 U.S.
lawmakers are calling on the U.S. Agriculture Department to
keep Monsanto's (MON.N) biotech alfalfa out of farm fields,
despite a Supreme Court ruling this week that cleared the way
for limited planting pending environmental reviews.
The lawmakers said the biotech alfalfa presents too great a
risk to conventional and organic agriculture to ever allow it.
"We believe that the broad regulatory authority available
to you has been ignored, in order to justify deregulation of a
biotech crop that has limited utility to anyone except the
manufacturer," the letter addressed to Agriculture Secretary
Thomas Vilsack said.
U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont, and Rep.
Peter DeFazio, a Democrat from Oregon, were joined by 49 other
representatives and five other senators in asking Vilsack to
ensure that Monsanto's genetically engineered alfalfa is not
approved for commercial use.
The alfalfa, which has been altered to tolerate Monsanto's
Roundup herbicide, and is known as "Roundup Ready" alfalfa, was
approved by USDA in 2005 and was planted in limited quantities
around the United States.
But environmental groups and some seed companies sued the
USDA in 2006 and successfully forced the agency to rescind its
approval after a federal court found USDA had violated
environmental law by failing to do a thorough environmental
review before approving the product.- www.reuters.com...
Monsanto, which produced the genetically engineered alfalfa, treated the ruling as a victory.
“This Supreme Court ruling is important for every American farmer, not just alfalfa growers,” said David F. Snively, Monsanto’s senior vice president and general counsel. “All growers can rely on the expertise of USDA and trust that future challenges to biotech approvals must now be based on scientific facts, not speculation.”
Opponents of the genetically engineered seeds such as Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety, also claimed victory.
“The ban on the crop will remain in place until a full and adequate EIS (environmental impact statement) is prepared by USDA and they officially deregulate the crop. This is a year or more away according to the agency, and even then, a deregulation move may be subject to further litigation if the agency’s analysis is not adequate,” Kimbrell said. “In sum, it’s a significant victory in our ongoing fight to protect farmer and consumer choice, the environment and the organic industry.” - www.lancasterfarming.com...