E-mail this article to
yourself or a friend.
Enter address:


It's an Indiana effort to protect farmers' interests

(Aug. 8, 2001 – CropChoice news)—Indiana state legislators and farmers Dale Grubb and Bill Friend have put their plan for raising awareness about the negative effects of transgenic crops on U.S. farmers into high gear.

Last week, Grubb( D-Covington) took the effort on the road to Lincoln, Neb. for the annual meeting of the Council of State Governments, Midwest Group. After deliberations in the agriculture committee, and a "weakening" of his proposed resolutions, Grubb said the full Council passed them. He talked a bit about the resolutions, which touched on marketability, ownership and liability.

The Secretary of Agriculture should ensure that a majority of the customers (those would include the European Union and Japan) for U.S. agricultural commodities approve any new transgenic crop before allowing its domestic commercialization and cultivation. (Editor’s note: approval does not equal acceptance.)

When it comes to cases of patent infringement, national and state laws should prohibit agribusiness corporations from sending employees or third parties, such as private investigators, onto farmers’ land without permission to take crop samples.

The U.S. Congress should establish clear liability rules for dealing with cross-pollination, impure seed and other reasons for transgenic contamination. This has meant lost domestic and foreign markets for growers and has left them vulnerable to charges of patent infringement.

The Council also resolved that the U.S. Congress should disallow any further use of utility patents on seeds and should ensure that the Plant Variety Protection Act continues to allow farmers to save seed for their own use.

Copies of the resolutions will go to agriculture committee members in the U.S. House and Senate, and to the agriculture committee chairperson in each of the state legislatures.

Next week, Grubb will head to San Antonio, Texas for the National Conference of State Legislatures, where his colleague from Indiana, Rep. Bill Friend, will act as chairman of the Agriculture Committee of the Conference. Friend, he said, will certainly raise the issues with agriculture leaders from all 50 states.

The efforts of Grubb and Friend are slowly "raising the awareness" level when it comes to transgenic seeds and crops, said Grubb, pointing to Monsanto worries. Company representatives recently called the chairman of the National Conference, California State Senator Costas, to complain that its position will not receive a fair hearing.

Before the meeting of the Midwest group of state governments, Grubb said he met with two Monsanto representatives who told him that his resolutions, if ever passed into law, would run the company out of business.

Dale Grubb submitted an opinion piece to CropChoice called, "Corporate Seed Police." You can view it at: www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=378