5 Million Farmers Sue Monsanto for $7.7 Billion

by Anthony Gucciardi
June 5th, 2012 | Updated 11/02/2012 at 6:08 pm

Launching a lawsuit against the very company that is responsible for a farmer suicide every 30 minutes, 5 million farmers are now suing Monsanto for as much as 6.2 billion euros (around 7.7 billion US dollars). The reason? As with many other cases, such as the ones that led certain farming regions to be known as the ‘suicide belt’, Monsanto has been reportedly taxing the farmers to financial shambles with ridiculous royalty charges. The farmers state that Monsanto has been unfairly gathering exorbitant profits each year on a global scale from “renewal” seed harvests, which are crops planted using seed from the previous year’s harvest.

The practice of using renewal seeds dates back to ancient times, but Monsanto seeks to collect massive royalties and put an end to the practice. Why? Because Monsanto owns the very patent to the genetically modified seed, and is charging the farmers not only for the original crops, but the later harvests as well. Eventually, the royalties compound and many farmers begin to struggle with even keeping their farm afloat. It is for this reason that India slammed Monsanto with groundbreaking ‘biopiracy’ charges in an effort to stop Monsanto from ‘patenting life’.

Jane Berwanger, a lawyer for the farmers who went on record regarding the case, told the Associted Press:

“Monsanto gets paid when it sell the seeds. The law gives producers the right to multiply the seeds they buy and nowhere in the world is there a requirement to pay (again). Producers are in effect paying a private tax on production.”

The findings echo what thousands of farmers have experienced in particularly poor nations, where many of the farmers are unable to stand up to Monsanto. Back in 2008, the Daily Mail covered what is known as the ‘GM Genocide’, which is responsible for taking the lives of over 17,683 Indian farmers in 2009 alone. After finding that their harvests were failing and they started to enter economic turmoil, the farmers began ending their own lives — oftentimes drinking the very same insecticide that Monsanto provided them with.

As the information continues to surface on Monsanto’s crimes, further lawsuits will begin to take effect. After it was ousted in January that Monsanto was running illegal ‘slave-like’ working rings, more individuals became aware of just how seriously Monsanto seems to disregard their workers — so why would they care for the health of their consumers? In April, another group of farmers sued Monsanto for ‘knowingly poisoning’ workers and causing ‘devastating birth defects’.

Will endless lawsuits from millions of seriously affected individuals be the end of Monsanto?

5 Million Farmers Sue Monsanto for $7.7 Billion.

Growing Number Of Americans Can’t Afford Food, Study Finds

The Huffington Post, Alexander Eichler 
First Posted: 02/28/2012 6:56 pm 
Updated: 02/28/2012 6:56 pm

Here in the United States, growing numbers of people can’t afford that most basic of necessities: food.

More Americans said they struggled to buy food in 2011 than in any year since the financial crisis, according to a recent report from the Food Research and Action Center, a nonprofit research group. About 18.6 percent of people — almost one out of every five — told Gallup pollsters that they couldn’t always afford to feed everyone in their family in 2011.

One might assume that number got smaller wrapped up with the national unemployment rate falling for several consecutive months. In actuality, the reverse proved true: the number of people who said they couldn’t afford food just kept rising and rising.

The findings from FRAC highlight what many people already know: The economic recovery, in theory now more than two years old, has done little to keep millions of Americans out of poverty and deprivation. Incomes for many haven’t kept pace with the cost of living, and for a large swath of the country, things today are as bad as ever, or worse.

Forty-six million people lived below the poverty line as of 2010, a record number, according to the Census Bureau, and one that’s not even as high as some other estimates would have it. Take a further step back and the situation appears even more dire. About 45 percent of people in the U.S. have reported not being able to cover their basic living expenses, including food, shelter and transportation, according to the group Wider Opportunities for Women.

The official poverty rate is about 15 percent, but over two-fifths of Americans have so little saved that one financial emergency is all it would take to put them in poverty, according to the Corporation for Enterprise Development.

These high rates of financial insecurity — a consequence of the weak job market, and the prevalence of jobs that don’t pay very well – are making themselves felt at the level of everyday spending.

Recently, for example, a Center for Housing Policy study found that a growing number of middle-income owners and renters are paying more than half their earnings just to keep a roof over their heads. And as of 2009, almost one in five Americans over 50 years old were skipping on doctor visits, switching to cheaper medications or forgoing some medicines entirely out of financial necessity, according to a recently published study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, a think tank.

As for widespread hunger of the kind recorded by FRAC, research shows that the entire country ends up paying one way or another. While the people who can’t afford food are obviously suffering the worst, the social costs incurred – from the money spent to keep food pantries open to the lifelong diminished earning power of impoverished children — come to about $167 billion a year, or $542 for every man, woman and child in the country.

via Growing Number Of Americans Can’t Afford Food, Study Finds – Occupy Monsanto.

North Carolina seed company joins class-action lawsuit against Monsanto that seeks protection against predatory patent lawsuits

Thursday, February 23, 2012
by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer

Filed by the Organic Seed Growers & Trade Association (OSGTA) on behalf of more than 300,000 organic and non-GMO farmers, the lawsuit addresses an important issue for which few people are aware. Besides polluting the environment with toxic herbicides and tainting the food supply with untested genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), the Monsanto Co. has a history of actually suing non-GMO and organic farmers whose crops have become contaminated with genetically-altered materials for supposed patent infringement.

“Monsanto has a monopoly over crops and over seed. And currently as the law exists, Monsanto can actually sue family farmers,” said Kristen Wartman, co-founder of Occupy Big Food, in a recent documentary short put together by the GRACE Communications Foundation.

“If their seed, which is genetically-modified, and if the pollen from that seed drifts on the family farmers’ crops, and then pollinates their seed, Monsanto can then go ahead and sue these family farmers for patent infringement. So this (lawsuit) is just basically so family farmers can protect their own livelihood and their own crops from Monsanto.”

“Unlabeled and untested, pollen drifting from GE crops is a threat to the integrity of organic and non-genetically modified crops. This is in direct conflict with our right to produce and consume pure, natural food.”

via North Carolina seed company joins class-action lawsuit against Monsanto that seeks protection against predatory patent lawsuits.

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