Friday, July 25, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Picking on the little guy

By
From page A4 | February 13, 2013 |

It’s the type of case law students will debate in colleges across the country. A David versus Goliath story, corporate conglomerate versus Indiana farmer. In a way, it’s one definition of America versus the other. And in the coming weeks, it’s being played out live in the U.S. Supreme Court.

A 75-year-old Indiana soybean farmer named Vernon Hugh Bowman will face off against multibillion dollar agricultural business Monsanto over seeds planted in the ground. Yes, the fight is over seeds, and it’s one that could change the way American farmers do business in the future.

At the heart of the lawsuit is Bowman’s attempt to beat the system currently in place with ingenuity. Bowman, like thousands of farmers today, purchased soybean known as “Roundup Ready” — soybeans genetically engineered to be resistant to Roundup herbicide or its generic equivalents — from Monsanto. He planted the seeds in the ground, but is technically “obliged to only harvest the resulting crop, not keep any of it back for planting the next year,” according to an article in the Guardian. This forces farmers to buy new Monsanto seeds to plant with each season.

Bowman found a way around the system, buying excess soybeans from local grain elevators, “many of which are likely to be Roundup Ready due to the huge dominance Monsanto has in the market,” the article explained. It’s believed that 90 percent of soybeans for sale in Indiana known as “commodity seeds” could be seeds containing the genes Monsanto developed.

So when Bowman used the seeds from the grain elevator to replant the following season, rather than purchasing new seeds directly from Monsanto as was the norm, he not only started a trend that could save him a ton of money while producing the same results in his crops, but he angered a powerful former business client in the process. Now he’ll have to face them in a lawsuit at the highest level in country.

The debate is a good one. On one hand you have a single farmer trying to make it in a tough economy, cutting corners without stealing a dime. He’s still purchasing the seeds he’s planting, just in a different way than Monsanto wants it.

“We have always had the right to go to an elevator, buy some ‘junk grain’ and use it for seed if you desire,” Bowman told the Guardian.

On the other hand you have a business that sells a specific product, losing business as that product is manipulated and reused without a new purchase. Monsanto claims it maintains patent rights on the seeds even if they are sold by a third party with no restrictions put on its use, even if the seeds are actually only descendants of original Monsanto seeds.

Monsanto won Round 1, suing and winning a settlement against Bowman for $84,456. Now it insists a win by Bowman at the Supreme Court to allow him to keep replanting the seeds legally would “jeopardize some of the most innovative biotechnology research in the country.”

Farming, one of America’s proudest industries, and one that has been the foundation of nearly every civilization, is at risk of losing even more rights to corporations should Monsanto win the case.

We side with Bowman and his supporters, who say that this case could help reform aspects of commercial farming — currently dominated by corporations rather than small or family-run businesses. Monsanto claims a defeat could hurt their innovations, but isn’t their lawsuit from the start hurting Bowman’s?

Comments

comments

Mountain Democrat

.

News

District 2: Candidates debate jobs versus lifestyle

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Accident: 1 bullet hits 2

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1

 
 
Scaffolding issue makes for contentious meeting

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

Help available for breastfeeding mothers

By Health and Human Services Agency | From Page: A3

 
El Dorado County School Board vacancy

By El Dorado County Office of Education | From Page: A8

 
.

Opinion

The weekly Daley: A good time to be there…

By Chris Daley | From Page: A4

 
Something to think about: More than what you see

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A4

Popular science

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

 
.

Letters

Watch whom you’re calling ‘conservative’

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

 
Fake ‘small farms’ steal from residential EID customers

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

People of Placerville

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
Computer scam phone calls

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Support of Director Prada

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
Uphold the Third Amendment

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Bureaucracy

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Imagination Theater’s play

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

.

Sports

Quarter century later, Rypien wins ACCG again

By Andrew Hazard | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Outside with Charlie: Paddle time

By Charlie Ferris | From Page: A6

Midget Lites join tomorrow’s action

By Bill Sullivan | From Page: A6

 
El Dorado rallies for last-inning victory

By Mike Bush | From Page: A6

Sports Scene: July 24, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

 
Rush sit a win from Series

By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A7

Tasmanian Devils go undefeated

By Patty Pope | From Page: A7

 
.

Prospecting

El Dorado wines win in Amador

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B1

 
Suds entice the taste buds

By Krysten Kellum | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Things to do: July 25, 2014

By Democrat Calendar | From Page: B2

 
Rhythm and Views goes bluesy

By | From Page: B3

Have an Hawaiian vacation at Carson Road wineries

By Carson Road Winery Asociation | From Page: B3Comments are off for this post | Gallery

 
Summer fun is happening in Twain Harte

By Fire On | From Page: B4Comments are off for this post

Manzanita doubles the music

By Table Nectar And Manzanita | From Page: B5

 
Recording artist at Busby Cellars

By News Release | From Page: B6

Hands4Hope hosts school supply drive

By News Release | From Page: B6

 
Supergroup plays Harris Center

By Carrera Productions | From Page: B6

Artists invited to go western

By Art On The Divide | From Page: B7

 
Visit Tahoe artists during tour

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: B7

Reggae on the River celebrates 30 years

By Reggae On | From Page: B7Comments are off for this post

 
.

Essentials

Building permits 7/7-11/2014

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

 
Lake levels 7-24-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

Crime Log: July 11-13

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

 
.

Obituaries

Wallace Murrel Thomas

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
.

Real Estate

How to have a garden party, minus the whining

By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS3

 
Most common mistakes homebuyers make

By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4

.

Comics

Working It Out

By Contributor | From Page: A9

 
Shoe

By Contributor | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Contributor | From Page: A9

 
Rubes

By Contributor | From Page: A9

TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A9

 
Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A9

Tundra

By Contributor | From Page: A9

 
Horoscope, Saturday, July 26, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A10

Horoscope, Friday, July 25, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A10

 
New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A10

Horoscope, Sunday, July 27, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A10

 
.

Home Source

How to have a garden party, minus the whining

By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS3

Most common mistakes homebuyers make

By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4