The farmer Monsanto battle has concluded. The supreme Court has ruled in favor of Monsanto. Indiana farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman must now pay the seed company nearly $85,000.
Monsanto’s seeds are genetically modified, and are patented. Signed agreements with farmers ensure that the seeds will not be saved and replanted. Bowman was accused of violating his contract with Monsanto, when he planted a second round of soybean crops, without purchasing new seeds.
Bowman’s attorneys argued that the seeds, purchased from a local provider, were no longer under the patent. The farmer’s Monsanto battle ended as the US Supreme Court has decided in favor of Monsanto.
As reported by ABC News, the seeds were used for a second-crop planting, which are historically unreliable. Bowman was trying to save money by purchasing the unlabeled seeds from a local grain elevator. Following the harvest, Bowman reportedly continued reusing the seeds for several crops.
The seeds were not labeled. However, Bowman admitted a reasonable understanding that they were the genetically enhanced seeds.
US Supreme Court Justice Justice Elena Kagan recorded the unanimous decision:
“The question in this case is whether a farmer who buys patented seeds may reproduce them through planting and harvesting without the patent holder’s permission. We hold that he may not.”
Monsanto has come under public scrutiny for the genetically modified seeds, or GMOs. The seeds have been modified to resist destruction by chemicals used to kill grass and weeds.
As can be seen at OrganicConsumers.org, many consumers are demanding labeling of food that was produced using genetically modified organisms. Currently, GMO foods and products do not carry any labeling defining the modifications.
Opponents of GMO products state their effects are harmful or unknown due to lack of testing oh humans.
Monsanto addresses the GMO controversy, contending that their products are effective and safe for consumers. As stated at Monsanto.com, their products have been tested and deemed safe. Specifically, they assert that their products are no more dangerous than products that are not enhanced.
The safety of Monsanto products is currently not an issue with the US Supreme Court. The farmer Monsanto battle has concluded, but other farmers face similar lawsuits. Monsanto has stated that most farmers follow their contract, but the few that do not will be held liable for violating the terms.
[Image via Flickr]