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Lawyers who have represented farmers sued by Monsanto say that intimidating actions like these are commonplace.Most give in and pay Monsanto some amount in damages; those who resist face the full force of Monsanto’s legal wrath.Others confront farmers on their land and try to pressure them to sign papers giving Monsanto access to their private records.Farmers call them the “seed police” and use words such as “Gestapo” and “Mafia” to describe their tactics.
But the precedent was set, and Monsanto took advantage of it. Farmers who buy Monsanto’s patented Roundup Ready seeds are required to sign an agreement promising not to save the seed produced after each harvest for re-planting, or to sell the seed to other farmers.This radical departure from age-old practice has created turmoil in farm country.Some farmers don’t fully understand that they aren’t supposed to save Monsanto’s seeds for next year’s planting. Most Americans know Monsanto because of what it sells to put on our lawns— the ubiquitous weed killer Roundup.I felt like I was in another country.”Gary Rinehart is actually one of Monsanto’s luckier targets. In a 2007 report, the Center for Food Safety, in Washington, D. Even more significant, in the Center’s opinion, are the numbers of farmers who settle because they don’t have the money or the time to fight Monsanto.“The number of cases filed is only the tip of the iceberg,” says Bill Freese, the Center’s science-policy analyst.