Spring has sprung, the birds are singing, the flowers are out, and all’s right with the agricultural world. Or is it?
We’re all familiar with crop giant Monsanto’s nefarious tactics in the past, such as suing small family farmers for saving their own seed (on the grounds that the wind might have blown neighboring, patented, genetically modified, Monsanto seed onto their farms). But the news this week shows they have a newer and more audacious method of keeping themselves at the top of the food chain. President Obama recently signed into law an emergency budget bill with a very interesting amendment to it. Section 735 of H.R. 933 uses a lot of legal language, but what it boils down to is that agricultural biotech firms (in other words, companies such as Monsanto that make their living off of genetically modified seeds) are now exempt from the process of judicial review. They can legally ignore court orders now, even if the court determines that their genetically modified seed is unsafe and orders them to stop planting it. They now have complete freedom from any oversight.
Obviously, to anyone with a brain and without stock in Monsanto, this is a very bad idea. But, unfortunately, the revolving doors in Washington between agricultural giants and government agencies keep reminding us that when big business and big government get together, the people lose out. We end up with people like Vernon Hershberger, the Amish farmer currently on trial for selling raw milk through a cow share program. We end up with local food being passed over in favor of unrealistically government subsidized corn and soybeans. We end up with more small farms being bankrupted every year.
If this bothers you, consider writing to your Congressmen and letting them know exactly what you think of the so-called “Monsanto Protection Act.” Let’s not let this slide anymore.