Letter to the Editor: Response to Monsanto Ad

I’m writing in response to the planned Monsanto advertisement on a DeKalb water tower. Here’s a little about Monsanto: It’s a U.S based agricultural biotechnology company known for creating the herbicide “roundup.”

Monsanto is also known for its aggressive litigation. Monsanto has patented a gene in its corn and sells this corn to farmers to grow crops. When the harvest is over, farmers usually keep a few seeds and plant them the next year to save money. This practice has been done since the debut of farming itself. However, Monsanto knows about this and brings heavy patent violation lawsuits on small farmers who replant Monsanto seeds.

Rather than defend themselves in court, farmers usually have to settle because court is too expensive (Monsanto’s strategy). Monsanto has also sued small farmers when the wind naturally pollinates other fields with Monsanto pollen, making the new crop carry the Monsanto gene without ever having planted Monsanto seeds.

Another interesting tidbit is that Justice Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court is a former lawyer for Monsanto and has never rescued himself in cases against his former employer. It is also known that Monsanto does heavy political lobbying and still has very close ties to Justice Thomas.

Although it’s technically legal, is it ethical to use justice as a weapon to put farmers out of business? Are DeKalb’s revenues from Monsanto just 30 pieces of silver to legally crucify small DeKalb farmers?

I just hope DeKalb restricts this revenue to defend local farmers next year.

– Raymond Kowalczyk, Graduate Student, Accountancy Major