The United State Department of Agriculture has finalized a report to address concerns from farmers who fear they’ll be next on an ever-expanding list of defendants sued by biotech giants Monsanto, but those worries aren’t about to end.
The Monsanto Company dominates more than just grow fields across the US, as evident in their stellar track record of taking small-time farmers to court and winning cases, an occurrence that Think Progress acknowledges happens roughly a dozen times a year. Time and time again, Monsanto’s patented, lab-made genetically engineered seeds are sold to one farmer, only for Mother Nature to move the crop onto neighboring fields with the help of a bit of wind. Just as often, of course, Monsanto’s team of high-paid litigators take the little guys to court, only to triumph thanks to a legal counsel that collects around $10 million a year just to take other farmers to court.
With Monsanto-led lawsuits all too common, the USDA was tasked with putting together a panel — the Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture, or AC21 — to analyze, among other items, “What types of compensation mechanisms, if any, would be appropriate to address economic losses1 by farmers in which the value of their crops is reduced by unintended presence of genetically engineered(GE) material(s)?”
The AC21 panel released their findings in a report [PDF] entitled ‘Enhancing Coexistence’ that was sent to the secretary of agriculture this week. In it, however, they have little to say to the farmers who are likely to be brought before a judge while Monsanto and other biotech kings come out on top.
According to the AC21 group, the best maneuver for any Monsanto foe to take right now is to simply buy insurance, suggesting that the top guns will be given the go-ahead to continue with their contested habit of near endless litigation, a practice that has a tendency to leave the little guys bankrupt and out of business — only to be bought up by the billion-dollar Monsanto corporation after their bills can’t be paid.