Major Victory for Monsanto, Organic Farmers' Rights Denied

Organic farm

A major victory came for Monsanto last week as a Manhattan judge hearing the case brought about by a group of organic farmers ruled in favor of the chemical and seed giant by dismissing the allegations from the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association.

The lawsuit came out of a growing concern over the aggressive number of lawsuits filed against farmers by Monsanto for patent infringement of the company’s genetically modified seeds. Many farmers are sued for violating the company’s patent rights by no fault of their own—rather, they’re victims of crop drift, seeds and pollen from neighboring fields settling onto their land and propagating. Nearly 150 farmers have been sued by Monsanto and more than 700 have settled out of court over allegations brought by the largest seed company in the world, according to a statement released by the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association.

Attorney for the plaintiffs said of the decision, “While I have great respect for Judge Buchwald, her decision to deny farmers the right to seek legal protection from one of the world’s foremost patent bullies is gravely disappointing.  Her belief that farmers are acting unreasonable when they stop growing certain crops to avoid being sued by Monsanto for patent infringement should their crops become contaminated maligns the intelligence and integrity of those farmers. Her failure to address the purpose of the Declaratory Judgment Act and her characterization of binding Supreme Court precedent that supports the farmers’ standing as ‘wholly inapposite’ constitute legal error.” The plaintiffs plan to appeal the judge’s decision.

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Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and editor focused on the global food system and how it intersects with our cultural traditions, diet preferences, health, and politics. She is the senior editor for sister websites and, and works as a research associate and editor with the Cornucopia Institute, the organic industry watchdog group. Jill has been featured in The Huffington Post, MTV, Reality Sandwich, and Eat Drink Better.