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Family Farmers Mobilize in Ongoing Battle Against Monsanto

Group heads to federal appeals court to be free from "legal threats and intimidation" from genetically modified giant

- Andrea Germanos, staff writer

A group of family farmers is headed to a federal appeals court on Thursday in their ongoing battle against genetically modified seed giant Monsanto.

The group's suit, first filed by lead plaintiff Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) in March 2011, argues (.pdf) that farmers who want nothing to do with genetically modified (transgenic) seed could have their crops unwillingly contaminated by it and "could quite perversely also be accused of patent infringement by the company responsible for the transgenic seed that contaminates them."

The was dismissed in February 2012 by Federal Judge Naomi Buchwald, but attorney Dan Ravicher of the not-for-profit Public Patent Foundation said, "The District Court erred when it denied the organic seed plaintiffs the right to seek protection from Monsanto's patents."

In July of 2012 the group filed an appeal to reverse the lower court's decision, and on Thursday the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit will hear that appeal.

"It's time to end Monsanto's campaign of fear against America's farmers and stand up for farmers' right to grow our food without legal threats and intimidation," said Dave Murphy, founder and executive director of Food Democracy Now!.

Murphy states that Monsanto, which has a history of lawsuits against family farmers, has waged a "campaign of fear against America's farmers."

Jim Gerritsen, President of OSGATA adds, "We are not customers of Monsanto. We don't want their seed. We don't want their gene-spliced technology. We don't want their trespass onto our farms. We don't want their contamination of our crops. We don't want to have to defend ourselves from aggressive assertions of patent infringement because Monsanto refuses to keep their pollution on their side of the fence. We want justice."

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