Vernon Hugh Bowman, a 75-year-old Indiana farmer, says that switching to Monsanto’s Roundup Ready soybeans “made things so much simpler and better.” Monsanto’s patented beans can survive when they are sprayed with the herbicide glyphosate, also known as Roundup, which makes pest control much easier. Monsanto is less impressed with Bowman: The Supreme Court heard oral arguments yesterday on a lawsuit that the company filed against him in 2007, accusing him of violating its patent on Roundup Ready soybeans.
Here’s what happened: Bowman bought seeds from a grain elevator that sold soybeans for animal feed, industrial use, or other nonplanting purposes. (Read more…) The elevator contained a lot of “second generation” Roundup Ready seeds—the spawn of original seeds that other farmers had bought and harvested from Monsanto. That’s not surprising, since “[Roundup Ready soybeans are] probably the most rapidly adopted technological advance in history,” said Seth Waxman, who is representing Monsanto. “The very first Roundup Ready soybean seed was only made in 1996. And it now is grown by more than 90 percent of the 275,000 soybean farms in the United States.”
[VIA MoJo Blogs and Articles | Mother Jones]