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But farmers who buy Monsanto’s seeds can’t even do that. Supreme Court, in a five-to-four decision, turned seeds into widgets, laying the groundwork for a handful of corporations to begin taking control of the world’s food supply.The Control of Nature For centuries—millennia—farmers have saved seeds from season to season: they planted in the spring, harvested in the fall, then reclaimed and cleaned the seeds over the winter for re-planting the next spring. seeds that would resist its own herbicide, Roundup, offering farmers a convenient way to spray fields with weed killer without affecting crops. For nearly all of its history the United States Patent and Trademark Office had refused to grant patents on seeds, viewing them as life-forms with too many variables to be patented. In its decision, the court extended patent law to cover “a live human-made microorganism.” In this case, the organism wasn’t even a seed.

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In Iraq, the groundwork has been laid to protect the patents of Monsanto and other G. To be sure, more and more agricultural corporations and individual farmers are using Monsanto’s G. Faced with a federal lawsuit, Rinehart had to hire a lawyer.

Monsanto eventually realized that “Investigator Jeffery Moore” had targeted the wrong man, and dropped the suit.

This radical departure from age-old practice has created turmoil in farm country.

Some farmers don’t fully understand that they aren’t supposed to save Monsanto’s seeds for next year’s planting. Most Americans know Monsanto because of what it sells to put on our lawns— the ubiquitous weed killer Roundup.

Rinehart later learned that the company had been secretly investigating farmers in his area.

Rinehart never heard from Monsanto again: no letter of apology, no public concession that the company had made a terrible mistake, no offer to pay his attorney’s fees. “If I tried to do something like that it would be bad news. seeds, in 1996, Monsanto has launched thousands of investigations and filed lawsuits against hundreds of farmers and seed dealers.

Since the 1980s, Monsanto has become the world leader in genetic modification of seeds and has won 674 biotechnology patents, more than any other company, according to U. This means that farmers must buy new seed every year.

Those increased sales, coupled with ballooning sales of its Roundup weed killer, have been a bonanza for Monsanto.

Monsanto has turned this ancient practice on its head. “It’s not like describing a widget,” says Joseph Mendelson III, the legal director of the Center for Food Safety, which has tracked Monsanto’s activities in rural America for years. Rather, it was a bacterium developed by a General Electric scientist to clean up oil spills.

But the precedent was set, and Monsanto took advantage of it. Farmers who buy Monsanto’s patented Roundup Ready seeds are required to sign an agreement promising not to save the seed produced after each harvest for re-planting, or to sell the seed to other farmers.

Some compare Monsanto’s hard-line approach to Microsoft’s zealous efforts to protect its software from pirates.