Grains Research and Development

Date: 01.08.2004

Court victory protects farmers, says Monsanto

By Chris Greenwood

Monsanto"s victory over canola farmer Percy Schmeiser in the Canadian Supreme Court protects farmers who have adopted crop biotechnology, according to Monsanto Australia"s communications manager Mark Buckingham.

Mr Buckingham says the high-profile Canadian case was not about a farmer"s innocent discovery of “blow-by” patented plants on his land. It was about the deliberate use of a patented plant without paying for it.

He says it will never be Monsanto"s policy to take legal action against farmers who might have Roundup-tolerant crops on their properties but were “innocent bystanders”.

“Mr Schmeiser was found by the trial judge not to be an "innocent bystander"; rather he had actively cultivated Roundup Ready® canola.”

Mr Buckingham says Monsanto has no intention of taking legal action over any accidental presence of GM traits on farms, and points to the Seed Industry Association of Australia policy that states low levels of a GM trait in canola seed (up to 0.5 percent) are deemed not to affect the integrity of the crop.