Seed Money by Bartow J. Elmore

Seed Money by Bartow J. Elmore

Author:Bartow J. Elmore
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Published: 2021-09-08T00:00:00+00:00

The Supreme Court of Canada did not agree. Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin made clear that the court was not concerned “with the innocent discovery by farmers of ‘blow-by’ patented plants on their land.” That was not the issue in this case. Rather, the court found that Schmeiser had intentionally saved seeds that he knew included Monsanto’s technology. This was a violation of Canadian patent law that protected Monsanto’s genetic innovation.34

But putting pressure on farmers by taking them to court was just part of Monsanto’s playbook; public shaming often worked just as well. In the 1990s and early 2000s, the company worked the airwaves, broadcasting on local radio stations the names of farmers that violated company patents. The firm also launched a toll-free hotline, 1–800-ROUNDUP, and encouraged farmers to call in if they believed their neighbors engaged in seed piracy. “If you have information about the misuse of seed, press 2,” announced a friendly female voice on the company switchboard in 2018. Callers selecting “2” were connected to a live operator working for Monsanto’s “Seed Stewardship Team.” It all took a matter of seconds. For those farmers concerned about being outed for outing their neighbors, the company tried to reassure them up front: “Your call will remain anonymous.” By 1999, just a year after the hotline launched, Monsanto reported more than 1,500 calls coming in from around the country. Ordinary farmers, not just Pinkerton detectives, were doing the hard work of rounding up violators of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready system.35


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