Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Monsanto is Evil...and, I have to Address X-mas Cards

I really have to address Christmas cards, but I want to rail about the evils of Monsanto after having read this post at DailyKos...

Here's an excerpt:

Having bought up the normal seed companies, having locked farmers in the Midwest (only an example, it is true worldwide) into patent contracts that remove their right to collect seeds anymore, having set loose a biotechnology that contaminates normal seeds of farmers who do not buy into the patented seeds, having made plain it will sue if even a volunteer plant comes up, Monsanto is now working to eliminate the last man standing between humans and corporate privatized seeds - the seed cleaner.

The farmers has had three choices - to buy normal seed (now almost gone), to buy GE-seeds at huge cost (and going


or to collect their own seeds and use them the next season. If a farmer has even 10 acres, collecting and cleaning those seeds is a huge task. If he has 1000, it would be an impossible task without the seed cleaner whose equipment can separate out seed in just a few hours and whose costs are 1/3 that of buying normal seed.

Thus, the move to eliminate seed cleaners.

The seed cleaner is the man who makes sustainable agriculture possible.

So, Monsanto is picking off seed cleaners now across the Midwest, in Missouri,


in Indiana,


and now in Illinois where they are going after Steve Hixon.

Shortly after someone broke into Mr. Hixon's office and he found his account book on his truck seat where he would never have left it, and every one of his remotely located and very scattered customers had three men (described as goons with "no necks") arrive at their farm, going out onto it without permission. They appear to have serving over 200 farmers. Mr. Hixon and state police who were called in, believe a GPS tracking device may have been put on Mr. Hixon's mobile seed cleaning equipment. All of his customers being sued are being intensely pressured to settle, with men coming back again and again and with daily calls and letters. It appears they are being given a choice between being sued or settling out of court or testifying against Mr. Hixon that he encouraged them to clean GE-seeds.

Monsanto has made a fortune on these kinds of Mafia extortion settlements since no farmer has the money to stand up to them, so paying them off some huge amount even if the farmer has done nothing, saves them from legal costs they can't possibly manage and a potentially worse fate if they hire some little local lawyer to go up against not one but multiple legal teams working for Monsanto and present in court. And almost always the case is set in St. Louis where Monsanto is based).

The first words out of the judge's mouth when Moe Parr, a seed cleaner in Indiana, was sued, were "It's a honor to have a fine company like Monsanto in my courtroom."

In addition to the personal attacks on seed cleaners, Monsanto is getting laws put into place in state after state that themselves are overwhelming and destructive of seed cleaners and all those who save normal seeds.

So any commercial seed cleaning operation (and I'm sorry--but, I didn't know such a thing existed--I am so removed from truly understanding how food gets to my table...) may now be in for a hard time because of Monsanto.

Let's read on, shall we?

If Monsanto can eliminate seed cleaners, they would have accomplished a TOTAL monopoly in the Midwest, the bread basket of the world, and they would control world food, feed and now bio-fuel prices at will. They would, as well, have broken the fragile dam that seed cleaners and seed bankers now provide against the insanely-fast and just plain insane on-coming tide genetic engineering.

And Monsanto is working closely with the FDA in redefining seeds as a potential health hazard, subject to bioterrorism, and under that rubric to create rules for importation (controlling access)

Interim final rules on Prior Notice of Importation

rules for registering acceptable facilities (setting up corporate standards for the storage seeds, threatening small farmers)

Interim final rules on Registration of Food Facilities

rules for talking police control of the seeds (allowing for raids on farmers)

Final rules on Administrative Detention

and rules for a level of record keeping almost impossible for small farmers and ordinary people to achieve.

Upcoming final rule on Establishment and Maintenance of Records.

"These new rules will allow FDA to better identify potentially dangerous foods, as well as respond more quickly to new threats and to handle foodborne illness outbreaks more efficiently."

Using the Bioterrorism Act and the Food Emergency Response Network (FERN), the FDA now has a focus on seeds which includes

  1. Prevention (federal and state surveillance sampling programs to monitor the food supply)
  1. Preparedness (strengthen laboratory capacity and capabilities)
  1. Response (surge capacity to handle terrorist attacks or a national emergency involving the food supply), and
  1. Recovery (support recalls, seizures, and disposal of contaminated food or feed to restore confidence in the food supply).

For those of you painfully familiar with what is happening to real milk dairy farmers and the government use of false "contamination" reports to raid farms, steal products ad equipment and terrorize and destroy farmers, it will be important to see how "bioterrorism" has now moved control over normal food even more tightly into the hands of government/corporate agencies, giving them national reach, crushing regulations for farmers, immense policing power over food, and the use of an emergency to be able to seize and destroy anything they choose.

So, more fear based policy in order to cow (pun kinda intended) us into submission about these crazy agriculture policies that do nothing but make it even easier for Monsanto to take over the control of SEEDS!!! That's crazy!! Under the guise of protecting us from bioterrorism, they can take control.

Wait, there's more:

The FDA talks about "a safety net" for human health but it is one defined by corporations and one that is closing on our small farmers' existence.

And even the FDA's basic food safety is being "set" in a way aimed to destroy seed cleaners and (if you will notice in the short list below) organic farming itself.

FDA's guidance on good agricultural practices (GAPs) can be found in the

FDA Guide to Minimize Microbial Hazards for Fresh Fruit and Vegetables

where the key sources of contamination in seed production include:

Agricultural water sources
Use of manure as fertilizer
Harvesting, transportation, and seed-cleaning equipment
Seed storage facilities

Please note the FDA does not include Monsanto's petroleum-based fertlizers or pesticides, or GE-labs, as potential sources of contamination.

And finally there is this plea:

We need to understand that the effort to defend Steve Hixon, a seed cleaner, is an effort to defend the right of all of us and of our farmers worldwide to OPEN access to normal seeds. We must protect those who collect and clean them and we must roll back the massive corporate efforts to utterly control them - by criminalizing any aspect of owning, growing, collecting, storing and re-using of them.

Seeds are life and survival itself and our human right to access to them is being taken over. That is why people are coming together now to help defend Steve Hixon, a seed cleaner.

For those interested in joining FarmOn, a list aimed at providing funds to support the legal teams gathering to help Hixon, go to farmon@googlegroups.com and request to sign on.

Now I have to go address Christmas cards and send out our love to family and friends alike...

"Effing Monsanto...", *grumbles while gathering up cards and address book*


Vanessa Ryann said...

Mr. Hixon is my dad. Thanks so much for reading about our family and for believing in him and all the other seed cleaners around the country. They really are the heart of sustainable agriculture. One day maybe the whole world will see the evil that is Monsanto.

Anonymous said...

Here is my suggestion to our farmers as to dealing with Monsanto: Arm yourselves, defend your right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. No person or group or corporation can claim patent rights over nature, whether our corporately funded laws say so or not. If Monsanto poison begins to grow in naturally seeded fields, the injured party is the farmer who clearly chose not to grow Monsanto's abominable crop. Our government is ineffective, reduced to nothing more than a corporate proxy. Turn the tables. Organize and move on Monsanto facilities. Take back the land and your God-given right to harmonize with nature and grow a productive and healthy crop. The economy is in ruins anyway. Our currency is fast becoming worthless paper, but we will still need to eat. Disobey, resist. Save your seeds, support each other and stand against anyone who interferes, whether with Monsanto mafia intimidation tactics or with paid-for-by-Monsanto laws. No company has dominion over the miraculous process of making things grow, and growing things will be around long after Monsanto and every country on Earth has come and gone.

Milkweed said...

This is a great post - thank you for writing it. I linked to your Monsanto post in my recent blog entry about Monsanto's infiltration of our favorite seed catalogs. My post is at: http://milkingweeds.blogspot.com/2009/01/are-monsanto-seeds-in-your-favorite.html

I love your blog! Thanks for not buying stuff! Very inspiring.

Laura said...

Hi Vanessa--thanks for visiting here. I hope your father gets the support he, and others like him, deserves.

Hi Milkweed--glad you visited. I'm glad you like it here. I am shocked that Monsanto has infiltrated seed catalogs--is there nowhere safe from them?

Hi Anonymous--I would never encourage anyone to arm themselves--I think that would necessarily lead to violence which has never solved anything ever, so I got to say I disagree with you there... However, I'm a big fan of civil disobedience and if a farmer wants to save some seed and plant it the next spring, I say good on ya!!

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