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Modern David and Goliath

By Marcus | In Nutrition | on October 17, 2012

A little over a year ago, I wrote a post about GMOs and mentioned the Monsanto corporation. There is a particular segment in the movie Food, Inc. where they are discussed as having a near monopoly over the soybean market. As I wrote last year:

There’s a chemical company — Monsanto — that owns the patent to a GMO soybean variation. The problem is that soybeans don’t obey property lines and as they are meant to in nature, they will carry their seed on the winds. So the few farmers that do not use Monsanto brand soybeans end up getting their crops infected with these GMO soybeans. What’s worse is that Monsanto then will take these farmers to court if they don’t pay a royalty, since they are now selling Monsanto’s patented product. While it sounds like the plot from a movie, this travesty is really happening and small farmers are getting run out of business by the big corporation.

The farmers that have actually tried taking Monsanto to court do not fare well. The courts have found overwhelmingly in Monsanto’s favor. In an interesting development, one of those farmers — a 74 year old from Indiana — is actually having his case raised to the U.S. Supreme Court. Here is a summary from an article at NPR.org:

This farmer, Vernon Hugh Bowman, has been a loyal customer for Monsanto’s “Roundup Ready” soybeans — but only for the primary growing season, in the spring and early summer. After he harvested that crop, Bowman sometimes tried to squeeze in a second harvest.

That second harvest was no sure thing, so he didn’t invest a lot of money in it. He planted the cheapest seeds he could find. Sometimes he bought ordinary soybeans from the local grain elevator or another farmer; sometimes he used seeds he’d saved.

The article goes on to state that over 94% of the soybeans in Indiana are from Monsanto, so almost all of the ones Mr. Bowman could get his hands contained Monsanto’s patented “Roundup Ready” gene. Because he went ahead and planted them without paying Monsanto’s “technology fee”, the court found in Monsanto’s favor and Mr. Bowman was on the hook for $84,000.

His current argument is criticizing Monsanto’s domination of the soybean market via the “monopolizing effects” of their patents. The odds are not in his favor, as previous judges have said this is the domain of policymakers, and the current laws support Monsanto but the outcome will be well worth watching!


WOD 10.17.12

Bench 3×5
Then, partner WOD:
50 Ring Dips (or 25 Muscle Ups)
200 Double Unders

Then:
100 KB Snatches
Row 100 Calories

In teams of 2, divide work however you choose. While one partner is doing dips, other is on dubs, etc.

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