Farmers are now filing lawsuits against Monsanto because of the company’s controversial GM wheat. The company is allegedly violating farmers’ rights by collecting large royalties on GM wheat, and the use of its Roundup herbicide has spread the fusarium head blight. The company has also failed to control the spread of GM wheat. Monsanto’s GM wheat is a public nuisance. The company will pay $350,000 to settle the lawsuits and will pay lawyers’ fees. Unfortunately, the settlement amount is confidential and Monsanto is not disclosing how much it spent on the settlement.
Monsanto’s royalty collection system violates farmers’ rights
A recent ruling in Brazil upended a previous one that ruled Monsanto’s royalty collection system has violated the rights of small farmers. The farmers in question were forced to pay two percent in royalties for using their seeds to grow their crops. They were also denied the right to save and replant their seeds, which violates their rights under Brazilian law. Nevertheless, Brazilian farmers were not discouraged, and they filed an appeal against the April 2012 ruling.
The US government has recently announced its intention to study the potential global royalties law and implement reforms to make it work. It would consist of establishing a new fund called the “technology compensation fund.” This fund would then pay out royalty payments to seed companies in recognition of their inventors’ rights and patents. The money would be collected through a 0.35 to 0.95% soybean fee.
Monsanto’s GM wheat is a public nuisance
The lawsuit argues that Monsanto’s GM wheat is a public nuisance because it contaminated the United States wheat supply and because it interfered with the rights of the general population. The plaintiffs believe Monsanto failed to adequately control the spread of GM wheat, and they believe that Monsanto’s GM wheat violates federal law. As a result, the lawsuit seeks damages and an injunction against Monsanto.
A farmer in Oregon discovered an unapproved GM wheat crop and sprayed it with an herbicide. The farmer sent the sample to Oregon State University, where scientists identified the wheat as GM. Since then, the Agriculture Department has asked Monsanto to assist with detection efforts in Europe. While Monsanto faces mounting protests in the United States and Europe over its GM products, the company is still standing behind them.
Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide spreads fusarium head blight
Researchers have linked the use of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicidal spray with a devastating fungal disease that has destroyed wheat fields in eastern prairies. Farmers report fewer insect problems when they have healthy crops. The herbicide is toxic to fungi, which in turn destroys crops. The scientists conducting the research found that Roundup increases Fusarium levels and could cause epidemics.
The fungi are not the only victims of Fusarium. Fusarium toxins have been linked to plague epidemics in medieval Europe, massive human toxicosis in Eastern Europe, and a blood disorder in Russia. Some of its toxins have even been linked to infertility and animal diseases. The National Farmers Union, however, opposes Roundup Ready wheat.
In 1986, more than 11 million pounds of glyphosate were applied to U.S. farms. In 2002, the company applied for approval for GM wheat, which is labeled Roundup Ready. This herbicide has been linked to cancer by the World Health Organization and the California State Science Commission. The chemicals are so harmful that they could cause Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
Monsanto’s failure to control GM wheat
In the United States, the case against Monsanto over its GM wheat crop is not about the safety of genetically modified crops, but about protecting U.S. farmers in a global marketplace that is not welcoming of genetically engineered wheat. The company has patented Roundup Ready seeds, which increase crop yields while reducing pesticide use. The company has faced off against growers in the past, filing 142 patent infringement lawsuits against them and winning two-thirds of those suits. As of this writing, Monsanto has paid out nearly $23 million in judgments and settlements.
A Kansas farmer has filed a lawsuit against Monsanto for gross negligence, claiming that it failed to control the spread of GM wheat in the United States. Earlier this year, the company was sued by a Kansas farmer, alleging that it knowingly tested wheat varieties resistant to Roundup weed-killer in a neighboring field, causing widespread contamination of nearby farms.