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Monsanto recruits farm leaders

(Monday, Nov. 4, 2002 -- CropChoice news) --

CBC: A spokesperson for Monsanto says members of the company's Roundup Ready Wheat Grower Advisory Panel are not salespeople for Monsanto.

The panel was set up last year to help Monsanto introduce Roundup Ready Wheat in Canada. It's members come from Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta. Many are directors and executive members with farm organizations who have signed a confidentiality agreement with Monsanto.

CBC Radio has obtained a copy of the agreement. However, Monsanto's Manager of Public and Industry Affairs, Trish Jordan, won't discuss its specifics of the agreement.

But she says panel members are not expected to promote genetically modified wheat. "The expectation of the panel is to tell us when we're not introducing it in a positive and responsible manner, says Jordan. They're not to endorse or promote or engage in the promotion of roundup ready wheat. They're there to tell us, hey, you know what, we don't think you're moving forward positively or responsibility. That's their role."

Jordan says the confidentiality is there in the event Monsanto shares sensitive company information with the panel members.

The panel members receive $150 plus expenses for each day they attend meetings.

The panel members contacted by CBC Radio who serve on the boards of farm organizations say they don't see a conflict of interest by also serving on Monsanto's advisory panel. Most say they've informed their boards.