Thursday, February 14, 2013

PAY MORE, GET LESS - GMOs NOT WORTH THE MONEY

GM crops

US farmers may stop planting GMs after poor global yields

Robyn Vinter
Wednesday 06 February 2013 08:30
Some US farmers are considering returning to conventional seed after increased pest resistance and crop failures meant GM crops saw smaller yields globally than their non-GM counterparts.
Farmers in the USA pay about an extra $100 per acre for GM seed, and many are questioning whether they will continue to see benefits from using GMs.
"It's all about cost benefit analysis," said economist Dan Basse, president of American agricultural research company AgResource.
"Farmers are paying extra for the technology but have seen yields which are no better than 10 years ago. They're starting to wonder why they're spending extra money on the technology."
One of the biggest problems the USA has seen with GM seed is resistance. While it was expected to be 40 years before resistance began to develop pests such as corn rootworm have formed a resistance to GM crops in as few as 14 years.
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"Farmers are paying extra for the technology but have seen yields which are no better than 10 years ago."
Dan Basse
"Some of these bugs will eat the plant and it will make them sick, but not kill them. It starts off in pockets of the country but then becomes more widespread.
"We're looking at going back to cultivation to control it," said Mr Basse. "I now use insecticides again."
One of the issues if farmers do move back towards non-GMs will be the availability of seed, he said, as around 87% of US farmers plant genetically modified seed.
The top performing countries by crop yield last year were in Asia, in particular China, where farmers do not use GM seed. 
Source:  http://www.responsibletechnology.org/posts/us-farmers-may-stop-planting-gmos-after-poor-yields/

GUILTY AS CHARGED - MONSANTO POISONED FRENCH FARMER

 Monsanto Guilty of Chemical Poisoning in France
By Catherine Lagrange and Marion Douet
LYON/PARIS | Mon Feb 13, 2012 3:29pm EST

(Reuters) - A French court on Monday declared U.S. biotech giant Monsanto guilty of chemical poisoning of a French farmer, a judgment that could lend weight to other health claims against pesticides.  In the first such case heard in court in France, grain grower Paul Francois, 47, says he suffered neurological problems including memory loss, headaches and stammering after inhaling Monsanto's Lasso weedkiller in 2004. 
He blames the agri-business giant for not providing adequate warnings on the product label. The ruling was given by a court in Lyon, southeast France, which ordered an expert opinion of Francois's losses to establish the amount of damages. "It is a historic decision in so far as it is the first time that a (pesticide) maker is found guilty of such a poisoning," Fran├žois Lafforgue, Francois's lawyer, told Reuters.

Monsanto said it was disappointed by the ruling and would examine whether to appeal the judgment. "Monsanto always considered that there were not sufficient elements to establish a causal relationship between Paul Francois's symptoms and a potential poisoning," the company's lawyer, Jean-Philippe Delsart, said.

Previous health claims from farmers have foundered because of the difficulty of establishing clear links between illnesses and exposure to pesticides. Francois and other farmers suffering from illness set up an association last year to make a case that their health problems should be linked to their use of crop protection products. The agricultural branch of the French social security system says that since 1996, it has gathered farmers' reports of sickness potentially related to pesticides, with about 200 alerts a year.

But only about 47 cases have been recognized as due to pesticides in the past 10 years. Francois, who suffers from neurological problems, obtained work invalidity status only after a court appeal. LESS INTENSIVE NOW. The Francois case goes back to a period of intensive use of crop-protection chemicals in the European Union. The EU and its member countries have since banned a large number of substances considered dangerous.

Lasso, a pre-emergent soil-applied herbicide that has been used since the 1960s to control grasses and broadleaf weeds in farm fields, was banned in France in 2007 following an EU directive after the product had already been withdrawn in some other countries. Though it once was a top-selling herbicide, it has gradually lost popularity, and critics say several studies have shown links to a range of health problems.

Monsanto's Roundup is now the dominant herbicide used to kill weeds. The company markets it in conjunction with its biotech herbicide-tolerant "Roundup Ready" crops. The Roundup Ready corn, soybeans, cotton and other crops do not die when sprayed directly with the herbicide, a trait that has made them wildly popular with U.S. farmers. But farmers are now being encouraged to use more and different kinds of chemicals again as Roundup loses its effectiveness to a rise of "super weeds" that are resistant to Roundup.

And while the risks of pesticide are a generally known and accepted hazard of farming in most places, and farmers are cautioned to take care when handling the chemicals, increased use of pesticides will only cause more harm to human health and the environment, critic say. "The registration process does not protect against harm. Manufacturers have to be held liable for adverse impacts that occur," said Jay Feldman, director of Beyond Pesticides, a non-profit group focused on reducing pesticide use.

France, the EU's largest agricultural producer, is now targeting a 50 percent reduction in pesticide use between 2008 and 2018, with initial results showing a 4 percent cut in farm and non-farm use in 2008-2010. The Francois claim may be easier to argue than others because he can pinpoint a specific incident - inhaling the Lasso when cleaning the tank of his crop sprayer - whereas fellow farmers are trying to show accumulated effects from various products.

"It's like lying on a bed of thorns and trying to say which one cut you," said a farmer, who has recovered from prostate cancer and asked not to be named. The French association of crop protection companies, UIPP, says pesticides are all subject to testing and that any evidence of a cancer risk in humans leads to withdrawal of products from the market.

"I think if we had a major health problem with pesticides, we would have already known about it," Jean-Charles Bocquet, UIPP's managing director, said. The social security's farming branch this year is due to add Parkinson's disease to its list of conditions related to pesticide use after already recognizing some cases of blood cancers and bladder and respiratory problems. France's health and environment safety agency (ANSES), meanwhile, is conducting a study on farmers' health, with results expected next year.

(Writing by Gus Trompiz; Editing by Muriel Boselli, Sybille de La Hamaide and Jane Baird)


Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/13/us-france-pesticides-monsanto-idUSTRE81C0VQ20120213


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

PATENTS -R- MONSANTO: WHO (CORPORATE PERSONS) OWNS THE EARTH'S SEEDS?


Corporatizing Seeds of the Commons: Patents Enabling BigAg Control

New report details how patents allow 'private companies to assert ownership over a resource that is vital to survival'

- Andrea Germanos, staff writer
The paradigm shift that has transferred control of seeds from the commons to corporations has brought harmful consequences to farmers, seed diversity and the environment while making a few agricultural firms owners of the "irreplaceable element of all food," according to a report reased Tuesday
Collecting seed. (Photo: Jeremy Halls) Entitled Seed Giants vs. U.S. Farmers (.pdf), the report from the Center for Food Safety and Save Our Seeds highlights how patents have enabled global corporate control over seeds, and how agricultural heavyweights are poised to follow in the steps of Monsanto in launching lawsuits against farmers for alleged seed patent infringement.
“Corporations did not create seeds and many are challenging the existing patent system that allows private companies to assert ownership over a resource that is vital to survival, and that, historically, has been in the public domain," stated Debbie Barker, Program Director for Save Our Seeds and senior writer for the report.
The report points to the tremendous control exerted by a handful of large agricultural corporations, creators of a "seed oligarchy":
Three agrichemical firms—Monsanto, DuPont, and Syngenta—now control 53 percent of the global commercial seed market. The top ten seed firms, with a majority stake owned by U.S. corporations, account for 73 percent.
In addition to contracts some firms require farmers to sign stating that they will not save the corporate-owned seeds, some contracts allow "intrusive invasion of farmer privacy," the report explains:
For example, Dow’s technology agreement requires farmers to complete questionnaires for, and provide planting information to, company investigators. Farmers must also agree to give Monsanto their internet service provider records, purportedly to “validate Grower’s electronic signature.” Monsanto, Dow, and Syngenta agreements allow the companies to access records concerning farmers’ activities held by third parties, such as the U.S. government. In particular, the agreements allow investigators to review USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) crop reporting information, including aerial photos and farmer submissions, on any land farmed by the grower. [...]
Additionally, the agreements contain broad provisions giving seed companies access to any documents they deem to be necessary when investigating farmers. As one example, the Monsanto agreement obligates farmers: “To provide Monsanto copies of any [emphasis added] records, receipts, or other documents that could be relevant [emphasis added] to Grower’s performance of this Agreement.” This includes receipts for any chemicals or herbicides purchased, acreage reports, and aerial photographs. Growers have to produce these records seven days after written request. The breadth of this provision allows the company to obtain documents that are not necessarily directly related to a farmer’s seed and permits investigators to assess a farmer’s financial state prior to filing suit.
Other invasive aspects of the agreements include requiring farmers to identify and provide investigators access to all the farmer’s land and facilities.
The report also doucments how the use of genetically engineered (GE) seeds "has fundamentally altered farming for thousands of American farmers." And it is these GE seeds, implicated in the rise of "super weeds," that have been behind lawsuits targeting farmers.
The report comes a week before the U.S. Supreme Court hears the case Bowman v. Monsanto Co., which pits Indiana soybean farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman against Monsanto
Source:  http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/02/13-9

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

SEED GIANTS -VS- U.S. FARMERS - New Report


New CFS Report Exposes Devastating Impact of Monsanto Practices on U.S. Farmers

Today, one week before the Supreme Court hears arguments in Bowman v. Monsanto Co., the Center for Food Safety (CFS) and Save our Seeds (SOS) launched our new report, Seed Giants vs. U.S. Farmers.

The report investigates how the current seed patent regime has led to a radical shift to consolidation and control of global seed supply and how these patents have abetted corporations, such as Monsanto, to sue U.S. farmers for alleged seed patent infringement.

Seed Giants vs. U.S. Farmers also examines broader socio-economic consequences of the present patent system including links to loss of seed innovation, rising seed prices, reduction of independent scientific inquiry, and environmental issues.

Among the report’s discoveries are several alarming statistics:

  • As of January 2013, Monsanto, alleging seed patent infringement, had filed 144 lawsuits involving 410 farmers and 56 small farm businesses in at least 27 different states.

  • Today, three corporations control 53 percent of the global commercial seed market

  • Seed consolidation has led to market control resulting in dramatic increases in the price of seeds. From 1995-2011, the average cost to plant one acre of soybeans has risen 325 percent; for cotton prices spiked 516 percent and corn seed prices are up by 259 percent.
Additionally, Seed Giants vs. U.S. Farmers reports a precipitous drop in seed diversity that has been cultivated for millennia. As the report notes:  86% of corn, 88% of cotton, and 93% of soybeans farmed in the U.S. are now genetically-engineered (GE) varieties, making the option of farming non-GE crops increasingly difficult.

While agrichemical corporations also claim that their patented seeds are leading to environmental improvements, the report notes that upward of 26 percent more chemicals per acre were used on GE crops than on non-GE crops, according to USDA data.

At the launch of the report via teleconference today, experts from the Center for Food Safety and Save our Seeds were joined by Mr. Vernon Hugh Bowman, the 75-year-old Indiana soybean farmer who, next week, will come up against Monsanto in the Supreme Court Case.  When asked about the numerous comparisons being drawn between his case and the story of David and Goliath, Mr. Bowman responded, “I really don’t consider it as David and Goliath. I don’t think of it in those terms. I think of it in terms of right and wrong.”

In December of 2012, the Center for Food Safety and Save Our Seeds submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court on behalf of Mr. Bowman, which supports the right of farmers to re-plant saved seed. Arguments in the case are scheduled for February 19th.

Download the report here: http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Seed-Giants_final.pdf

 

MISTER MONSANTO - GATES HAS HALF A MILLION SHARES

Article imageBill Gates Dodges Questions on Why He Owns 500,000 Shares of Monsanto

Anthony Gucciardi
Natural Society / News Report
Published: Tuesday 12 February 2013
It should come as no surprise that Gates owns 500,000 shares worth 23 million US dollars (or more) of Monsanto stock.

Bill Gates is primarily known as the multi-billionaire who Microsoft, the company behind the most popular computer operating system known as Windows. With this massive wealth, he has retired from leading Microsoft and now instead focuses his money and time on furthering genetically modified technology, geoengineering, experimental vaccinations, and preaching about how Monsanto is the answer to world hunger.
It should come as no surprise, then, that Gates owns 500,000 shares worth 23 million US dollars (or more) of Monsanto stock. The very same company that has been caught running slave rings in Argentina in which workers were forced to work 14+ hours a day while withholding payment, has used their massive finances to fund organizations that literally fake FDA quotes to support GMOs, and of course peddling through GMOs that have been linked to numerous health concerns.
This is not even taking into account the farmer suicides that occur around every 30 minutes due to Monsanto’s failing GMO crop yield bankrupting small-time farmers in India’s notorious ‘suicide belt‘.
Bill Gates Funding Corporations Caught in Child Slave Rings
And if that’s not enough, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has even teamed up with Cargill to pump GMO soy into the third world. Cargill, of course, is the the 133 billion dollar corporation that also has been found in direct violation of human rights laws. Cargill was sued by the International Labor Rights Fund for trafficking children from Mali and forcing them to work on cocoa bean plantations for around 12 to 14 hours each day without pay, food, or sleep. The company even continues to purchase cotton from Uzbekistan, where it is well known that child slave labor is used in the cultivation.

Bill Gates himself even filmed commercials for Monsanto’s GMOs, propping them up as the ‘solution’ to world hunger despite even the United Nations admitting that GMOs cannot fight hunger as effectively as traditional farming. Headed by an entity known as the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), a team of 900 scientists and researchers studied the issue of world hunger. The results of the major study were very simple:900 scientists agreed that GMO crops were not the answer to the world hunger, and revealed this in 2008 — long before Bill Gates began claiming that GMOs were the answer while ignoring this readily available information. Even the Union of Concerned Scientists examined the true yield of GMO crops, only to find that the GM crops do not produce increased yields over the long run — despite their excessive cost and extreme danger to health and environment. The lack of scientific support behind the GMO crops was so startling to the Union that they documented all the details in a 2009 report entitled ”Failure to Yield.”
Watchdog groups have criticized Gates’ support of these corporations after finding out about his massive funding. One such group, a part of the Community Alliance for Global Justice, stated:
“Monsanto has a history of blatant disregard for the interests and well being of small farmers around the world… [This] casts serious doubt on the foundation’s heavy funding of agricultural development in Africa…”
So why is Bill Gates, a man who is propped up by the media as an angel of philanthropy, pumping millions (if not billions) into these operations? And why is he claiming that GMOs can fight world hunger when we know this is not true due to decreased yields and other problems?
I Asked Bill Gates Why
In a unique opportunity to ask Bill Gates himself why he has purchased 500,000 shares of Monsanto behind the scenes (expelled into the news thanks to tax information) and teamed up with Cargill to expand GMOs worldwide, myself and several others asked him ourselves.
Yesterday Gates opened himself up to questions from online users via the social sharing site Reddit, in which he posted an open interview of sorts known as an ‘Ask me Anything’ post. This is essentially an invitation for questions that the subject will answer via text. While I had a large number of questions for Gates, such as if he actually eats GMOs himself, I simply asked him:
“Why did you buy 500,000 shares of Monsanto stock?”
Unsurprisingly, the comment received a large degree of feedback. Users asked Gates to please respond to the question, and several others posed similar variations to Gates that all went unanswered (as to be expected). Some quotes from users in response to my question included:
User Lawfairy replied: “I wish he’d answered this one — to me, this is one of the most curious things about Mr. Gates, whom I otherwise respect as one of the foremost humanists of our generation… Mr. Gates’ relationship with Monsanto is, in my mind, simultaneously the most morally troubling thing about Mr. Gates”
Another user posted (with links intact): “Would you be willing to take some time to give us some insight with your investments in Monsanto? Despite having the headlines of “ending world hunger”, this company has done some despicable things in the past 100 years and I don’t believe they have the public’s best interest in mind. Having a single company or entity trying to “control”, “manipulate” or “own” the world’s food supply, in my opinion, is not the way to end world hunger.”
Another user answered with: “Because he is supporting the Bilderberg group!”
None of these received a response nor did the many others I could not include in this article. The answer, it seems, is to bring this topic to the mainstream. The very same mainstream that seems to think Bill Gates is some sort of philanthropic super star that can do no evil. I am opposed to all wrongdoing at every level, and I find it absolutely disturbing that someone funding the GMO agenda and slave-labor-linked companies has been met with applause.
Source:  http://www.nationofchange.org/bill-gates-dodges-questions-why-he-owns-500000-shares-monsanto-1360684583

Monday, February 11, 2013

WORLD LEADER IN ORGANIC FOOD...BHUTAN??

Bhutan Set to Plough Lone Furrow as World's First Wholly Organic Country

By shunning all but organic farming techniques, the Himalayan state will cement its status as a paradigm of sustainability

by John Vidal and Annie Kelly
Bhutan plans to become the first country in the world to turn its agriculture completely organic, banning the sales of pesticides and herbicides and relying on its own animals and farm waste for fertilisers.
Stooping to conquer … Already an overwhelmingly agrarian state, Bhutan is aiming to become the world's first completely organic country. (Photograph: Alamy) But rather than accept that this will mean farmers of the small Himalayan kingdom of 1.2 million people will be able to grow less food, the government expects them to be able to grow more – and to export increasing amounts of high quality niche foods to neighbouring India, China and other countries.
The decision to go organic was both practical and philosophical, said Pema Gyamtsho, Bhutan's minister of agriculture and forests, in Delhi for the annual sustainable development conference last week.
"Ours is a mountainous terrain. When we use chemicals they don't stay where we use them, they impact the water and plants. We say that we need to consider all the environment. Most of our farm practices are traditional farming, so we are largely organic anyway.
"But we are Buddhists, too, and we believe in living in harmony with nature. Animals have the right to live, we like to to see plants happy and insects happy," he said.
Gyamtsho, like most members of the cabinet, is a farmer himself, coming from Bumthang in central Bhutan but studying western farming methods in New Zealand and Switzerland.
"Going organic will take time," he said. "We have set no deadline. We cannot do it tomorrow. Instead we will achieve it region by region and crop by crop."
The overwhelmingly agrarian nation, which really only opened its doors to world influences 30 years ago, is now facing many of the development pangs being felt everywhere in rapidly emerging countries. Young people reluctant to live just by farming are migrating to India and elsewhere, there is a population explosion, and there is inevitable pressure for consumerism and cultural change.
But, says Gyamtsho, Bhutan's future depends largely on how it responds to interlinked development challenges like climate change, and food and energy security. "We would already be self-sufficient in food if we only ate what we produced. But we import rice. Rice eating is now very common, but traditionally it was very hard to get. Only the rich and the elite had it. Rice conferred status. Now the trend is reversing. People are becoming more health-conscious and are eating grains like buckwheat and wheat."
In the west, organic food growing is widely thought to reduce the size of crops because they become more susceptible to pests. But this is being challenged in Bhutan and some regions of Asia, where smallholders are developing new techniques to grow more and are not losing soil quality.
Systems like "sustainable root intensification" (SRI), which carefully regulate the amount of water that crops need and the age at which seedlings are planted out, have shown that organic crop yields can be doubled with no synthetic chemicals.
"We are experimenting with different methods of growing crops like SRI but we are also going to increase the amount of irrigated land and use traditional varieties of crops which do not require inputs and have pest resistance," says Gyamtsho.
However, a run of exceptionally warm years and erratic weather has left many farmers doubtful they can do without chemicals.
In Paro, a largely farming district in south-west Bhutan, farmers are already struggling to grow enough to feed their families and local government officials say they are having to distribute fertiliser and pesticides in larger quantities to help people grow more.
"I have heard of the plan to turn everything organic. But we are facing serious problems just getting people to grow enough", said Rinzen Wangchuk, district farm officer.
"Most people here are smallholder farmers. The last few years we have had problems with the crops. The weather has been very erratic. It's been warmer than normal and all the chilli crops are full of pests. We are having to rely on fertilisers more than we have ever had to in the past and even these are not working as well as they initially did."
Dawa Tshering, who depends on his two acres of rice paddy and a vegetable garden, says that for decades his farming was chemical free.
"But its harder now because all our children are either in the capital or studying. Nobody wants to stay, which means we have to work harder. It's just my wife an myself here. We cannot grow enough to feed ourselves and take crops to the market, so we have to use chemicals for the first time. We would like to go back to farming how we used to, where we just used what nature provided."
But in a world looking for new ideas, Bhutan is already called the poster child of sustainable development. More than 95% of the population has clean water and electricity, 80% of the country is forested and, to the envy of many countries, it is carbon neutral and food secure.
In addition, it is now basing its economic development on the pursuit of collective happiness.
"We have no fossil fuels or nuclear. But we are blessed with rivers which give us the potential of over 30,000megawatts of electricity. So far we only exploit 2,000 megawatts. We exploit enough now to export to India and in the pipeline we have 10,000 megawatts more. The biggest threat we face is cars. The number is increasing every day. Everyone wants to buy cars and that means we must import fuel. That is why we must develop our energy."
Agriculture minister Gyamtsho remains optimistic. "Hopefully we can provide solutions. What is at stake is the future. We need governments who can make bold decisions now rather than later."

Sunday, February 10, 2013

ROUGUE VIRAL GENE VI FOUND IN GMO CROPS

gmotomatoinject 265x165 Safety Group Blows Lid on Secret Virus Hidden in GMO CropsSafety Group Blows Lid on ‘Secret Virus’ Hidden in GMO Crops

Anthony Gucciardi
Yet another disturbing reason has emerged as to why you should be avoiding health-devastating genetically modified organisms, and it may be one of the most concerning yet. We know that GMO consumption has been linked to a host of serious conditions, but one thing we are not so sure about is the recent discovery of a hidden viral gene deep within genetically modified crops.
For years, GMOs have been consumed knowingly and unknowingly around the globe, with Monsanto and the United States government claiming that the altered franken crops are perfectly safe despite very limited (or virtually none in some cases) initial testing and scientists speaking out against the dangers. One such danger that has actually not been spoken about has been revealed in a recent report by a safety watchdog group known as the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

Another Dirty Secret of Monsanto

In the EFSA report, which can be read online, you can find (within the scientific wording) that researchers discovered a previously unknown viral gene that is known as ‘Gene VI’. What’s concerning is that not only is the rogue gene found in the most prominent GMO crops and about 63% of GMO traits approved for use (54 out of 86 to be precise), but it can actually disrupt the very biological functions within living organisms. Popular GMO crops such as Roundup-Ready soybeans, NK603, and MON810 corn were found to contain the gene that induces physical mutations. NK603 maize, of course, was also recently linked to the development of mass tumors in rats.
According to Independent Science News, Gene VI also inhibits RNA silencing. As you may know, RNA silencing has been pinpointed as vital for the proper functioning of gene expression when it comes to RNA. Perhaps more topically, it is a defense mechanism against viruses in plants and animals alike. On the contrary, many viruses have developed genes that disable this protective process. Independent Science News reports that the Gene VI is one such gene.
Overall, there is a degree of knowledge on Gene VI. What we do know going by information within the report is that the gene:
  • Helps to assemble virus particles
  • Inhibits the natural defense of the cellular system
  • Produces proteins that are potentially problematic
  • Makes plants susceptible to bacterial pathogens
All of which are very significant effects that should be studied in depth by an independent team of scientists after GMO products are taken off the market pending further research on the entire array of associated diseases. And that does not even include the effects we are unaware of.
This is yet another incident in which Monsanto and other biotech companies are getting away with an offense against the citizens of the world with (most likely) no action taken by the United States government. What we have seen, however, is nations like Russia, Poland, Hungary, and Peru taking a stand against Monsanto in direct opposition to their disregard for public safety. Russia, in fact, banned Monsanto’s GMO corn variety after it was linked to mass tumors in rats.
As more and more dirty secrets come out from the GMO industry at large, it gives further reason and more support to remove GMOs as a whole from the food supply.
Source:  http://naturalsociety.com/safety-group-blows-lid-on-secret-virus-hidden-in-gmo-crops/?utm_source=Natural+Society&utm_campaign=3cf06197a6-Email+95%3A+2%2F10%2F2013&utm_medium=email

Read more: http://naturalsociety.com/safety-group-blows-lid-on-secret-virus-hidden-in-gmo-crops/#ixzz2KXiRCTir

HAWAII - BIG ALOHA - PASSES GMO LABELING BILL!

Activists on the island of Mokokai  Hawaii staged a  Decontamination Event  along the side of the ro...Op-Ed: Hawaii to pass GMO labeling bill, but with amendment

By Anne Sewell
Feb 8, 2013 in 



Honolulu - Hawaii might have cause to celebrate, as lawmakers have passed a new measure in the House Committee on Agriculture, requiring labeling on genetically modified food. But will the final bill be everything it was hoped to be?
Basically supporters of the bill say that they deserve to know whether the food they are buying has been genetically modified. Jessica Mitchell, a parent who is in favor of the bill, was quoted as stating in an AP report that, “I and many mothers deserve the right to know what we are feeding our children.” After numerous proponents of the bill testified before the House committee, it passed its second reading on Thursday, but the bill was amended so as to only apply to produce imported from outside Hawaii. There was some conjecture by opponents that labeling would cause a rise in food prices. However, house agriculture committee Chairwoman Jessica Wooley says that as the bill only affects produce brought in from outside Hawaii, it will benefit local farms and won’t cause food prices to rise. However, Occupy Monsanto Maui is reporting disappointment with the amendment on their Facebook page. They state that the amendment "only covers incoming raw agricultural products, which means that it basically covers very little, except a little crookneck squash, any Monsanto sweet corn brought fresh into the state, or if a non-browning GMO apple is approved." So maybe it is not time to get too excited. Recently a California labeling initiative, Proposition 37, lost by a small margin after Big Pesticide donated $45 million in advertising against GMO labeling. Other states that are also trying for labeling are New Mexico and Washington.
Occupy Monsanto Hawaii
Activists on the island of Mokokai, Hawaii staged a 'Decontamination Event' along the side of the road to warn drivers of Monsanto’s toxic ways.

SUPREME COURT SUIT - SUING MONSANTO - ABOUT RIGHT AND WRONG

'Future of Food at Stake' as Indiana Farmer Takes Monsanto to Top Court

Farmer: 'I really don't consider it as David and Goliath. I think of it in terms of right and wrong'

- Lauren McCauley, staff writer
75 year old Indiana soybean farmer, Vernon Hugh Bowman, is taking agriculture giant Monsanto to the supreme court over one of the most "systemic crisis" in modern farming: who controls the rights to the seeds planted in the ground.
Farmer Hugh Bowman on his Sandborn, Ind. farm. (Photo: AJ MastWashington Post) "I really don't consider it as David and Goliath. I don't think of it in those terms. I think of it in terms of right and wrong," said the farmer in a recent interview. 
Filed on Bowman's behalf by sustainable food and farming organizations, the Center for Food Safety (CFS) and Save Our Seeds (SOS), the appeal challenges the multi-billion dollar corporation over their restrictive seed saving policies and the "agressive protection" of their soybean, known as Roundup Ready, which has been genetically engineered to resist certain herbicides.
“Mr. Bowman’s case represents a systemic crisis in U.S. agriculture,” said CFS Executive Director, Andrew Kimbrell.  “Through a patenting system that favors the rights of corporations over the rights of farmers and citizens, our food and farming system is being held hostage by a handful of companies.  Nothing less than the future of food is at stake.”
Farmers using Monsanto products are legally obligated to harvest only the resulting crop and not take-part in the prudent and age-old tradition of seed-saving, forcing them to purchase new Monsanto seeds each year.
The Guardian reports:
Bowman, who has farmed the same stretch of land for most of the past four decades and grew up on a farm, ended up on Monsanto's radar for using [excess soybeans purchased from local grain elevators, some of which happened to contain Roundup Ready genes, rather than purchasing from Monsanto directly]– for year after year and replanting part of each crop. He did not do so for his main crop of soybeans, but rather for a smaller 'second late season planting' usually planted on a field that had just been harvested for wheat. 'We have always had the right to go to an elevator, buy some 'junk grain' and use it for seed if you desire,' Bowman said.
Monsanto consequently sued Bowman for "infringing the firm's patent rights" eventually winning a legal settlement of some $84,456.
Bowman, already bankrupt from a previous land deal, said he had little to lose in the case. "I made up my mind to fight it until I could not fight it anymore. I thought: I am not going to play dead."
“Monsanto should not be able, just because they’ve got millions and millions of dollars to spend on legal fees, to try to terrify farmers into making them obey their agreements by massive force and threats,” he adds.
The brief, filed by CFS and SOS, asks the court to end the practice of allowing corporations to place conditions on the sale of its seed and to reject an “end-run around patent exhaustion” for regeneration. It continues:
The current intellectual property environment of transgenic crops has spurred the privatization and concentration of the world’s seed supply. Market concentration has resulted in 10 multinational corporations holding approximately two-thirds (65%) of commercial seed for major crops, reducing choice and innovation, and increasing prices for the American farmer.
The Supreme court is scheduled to hear oral arguments later this month.
Source:  http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/02/10-0