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posted by janrinok on Monday January 09 2017, @02:27AM   Printer-friendly
from the but-it's-safe-I-tell-you dept.

Sometime around 2003 Scotts GMO grass crop in Idaho escaped its plot and blew across the Snake River into Oregon up to 30 miles away. The crop in question is a Roundup ready creeping bentgrass that is used for putting greens. Regulators and locals are in for a fight as Scotts is ready to abandon the ongoing approximately $250,000 per year effort to eradicate the grass in favor of running an informative website on Roundup ready bentgrass removal. Scotts canceled the development program because the golf industry is experiencing a decline, yet the company still wants the product deregulated.

Locals are left holding the bag as it threatens Oregon's international reputation as a "GMO-free" grass-grower and its seed industry. Regardless of whether direct genetic modification is bad in and of itself, grasses are an important crop for the state. Additionally, the grass has been found interbreeding with other feral grasses. Interestingly, the company has hired an attorney that specializes in bio-diversity to defend its interests.

The battle pits farmer against farmer, regulator against regulator, seller against buyer. Scotts spokesman Jim King insists the company has done its part and significantly reduced the modified grass's territory. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which for 14 years had refused to deregulate the controversial grass on environmental concerns, suddenly reversed course last fall and signaled it could grant the company's request as early as this week.

Many find the prospect alarming. The Oregon and Idaho departments of agriculture oppose deregulation, as does U.S. Fish and Wildlife, which predicted commercialization of the grass could drive endangered species to extinction.

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by BK on Monday January 09 2017, @02:54AM

    by BK (4868) on Monday January 09 2017, @02:54AM (#451298)

    I seem to remember some stories about farmers growing corn or soybeans or something (or both!) without paying royalties for roundup readiness and getting sued into oblivion (or compliance). It seems like this would be a great case for someone to sue for the right to use these things when they blow in... If Scotts or whoever can't be bothered to control their stuff they should, at the least, legally lose control.

    ...but you HAVE heard of me.
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  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by anubi on Monday January 09 2017, @07:08AM

    by anubi (2828) on Monday January 09 2017, @07:08AM (#451350) Journal

    This was when I was a kid, but my Grandpa had run-ins with Monsanto over his corn crop.

    My Grandpa did farming as he learned from his father, and so on, as it had been done since the land was given to my ancestors in exchange for them colonizing the area and growing food crops. For eons, the farmers saved a bit of corn as seed for the next year.

    On Grandpa's farm, it seemed all they imported into the farm was fertilizer, diesel fuel, and tractor parts. He had cows, horses, goats, chickens, hogs, numerous dogs and cats. Each had their thing to do, and when one follows the food chain, corn fed 'em all. You could consider Grandpa's entire operation nearly entirely running on solar power, with the corn crop being the energy converter. Corn never went to waste.... there was never any leftover. If it wasn't eaten or planted, it was fermented into moonshine, which also had a number of uses on the farm besides a currency for trade.

    Then one day, Monsanto comes a knockin' and tells Grandpa that he has to buy Monsanto's seed. That did not go over very well. Grandpa was of the understanding that he did all the work of growing that corn, plowing, fertilizing, harvesting, and he was thereby entitled to the fruit of his labor. Corporate Monsanto thought otherwise, and not only that, they had shaken hands with Congressmen to have law passed enforcing their right to force Grandpa to Monsanto's will.

    There has been mistrust in my family against people like Monsanto ever since. Even to this day, I see a man dressed in suit and tie and I am highly distrustful - maybe like the guy who wears a ski mask into a bank. He's dressed just like the men I have known that use handshakes with Congressmen to compel their wishlist onto other people. Men who won't work for a living, instead knowing how to game the system to compel others to support them handsomely.

    "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 10 2017, @12:55AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 10 2017, @12:55AM (#451791)

      Did your grandpa accede to their demands and purchase Monsanto corn seed/pay licensing fees for 'contaminated' corn crops?

      Did your grandpa eventually become financially insolvent as a result of this?

      Is the farm still in your family, or was it one of Monsanto's bankrupt and buy schemes?

      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by anubi on Tuesday January 10 2017, @07:14AM

        by anubi (2828) on Tuesday January 10 2017, @07:14AM (#451923) Journal

        Grandpa wasn't making much money, but enough to pay taxes, buy whatever he needed, keep a wife and four kids fed, clothed, and educated, and not a day on welfare.

        He worked his ass off. Took care of himself, his family, and several of his neighbors. He fed quite a few people in addition to his animals.

        Money, like blood, was in limited supply. There was the problem. Monsanto was after his money. And they had the ideal extortion tool. Not a gun. Congress.

        My family had that farm for over a hundred years. It was sold off to a big conglomerate when Grandpa died - when I was a teenager. To pay for Grandma's nursing home charges.

        Folks like Monsanto knew how to rig the game to force people like my Grandpa to fork over what little money he had for something he didn't even want, by using Congress as a prostitute to pen law for them, as once their wishlist was codified into Law, folks that failed to obey the Will of the Suited and Tied Hand Shaker would be criminalized.

        Hands wielding pens took the took the farm from hands wielding plows - backed up by law enforcement whose salaries were paid by the taxes Grandpa was assessed.

        On one side, a major conglomerate runs the farm a lot more cost-effective. No more animals. All corn. All completely automated.

        On the other side, a small guy was crushed, and the lesson taught well that it takes suit-and-tie work, knowing how the Law-making process works, and how to legally force others to work for you usually via legal or financial chicanery that makes one wealthy, not hard work.

        Our Congress seems deadly intent on working with lobbyists to turn this entire nation into a nation of beggars.

        "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]