Dominance of Farm Seed Market is Dangerous

The market for soybean and corn seed is increasingly dominated by Monsanto.
Market dominance is dangerous. It enables a company to engage in aggressive pricing and potentially dictate the terms of production.  A company with sole control of superior genetics could force farmers give up ownership of the crop, in return for access to the seeds, and offer only contracts for planting, spraying and harvesting the company's crop on farmers' land.

Monsanto dominance was strengthened by the University of Nebraska's decision to sell it an exclusive license for soybeans tolerant to the herbicide dicamba (marketed under the brand names Banvel, Oracle and Vanquish).  In our view, dominant companies should not be granted exclusive control of technologies developed with public funds.  Public universities should provide what they develop to the public.

The issue will soon face every major wheat producing state. Monsanto is reportedly talking with 10 public universities to gain access to their wheat lines to develop genetically engineered varieties. Each university must decide whether its wheat should remain available to the public - so any farmer can use it and any seed company can market it - or placed under the exclusive control of the highest bidder.

Tax funded research universities should do research that is available to and benefits the public, including farmers.   It is a critical time to speak out to your agricultural university to ensure that it is working for farmers and other citizens - rather than the corporation that can write the biggest check.

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