Partial Transcript: Episode 47 (Monsanto)

Andrew: We should do like the Imperial March whenever we say, “Monsanto.”

Nick: Da, da, dum, da, da dum.

Virginia: Are we covered under fair use for that?

Nick: I just made that up.  Does that sound like something you’ve heard before?

Andrew: I don’t want to get on the wrong side of the RIA, the MPAA, and Monsanto, since, apparently, the League of Evil is a real thing now.

Nick: Right!  I was listening to the news last night, and they were talking to Monsanto’s head lawyer. He was listing off the companies that supported Monsanto, and they were all evil.

Andrew: It was the “Who’s who” is bad corporations.

Nick: It’s Big Pharma that supports them.

Andrew: The movie industry, the music industry.

Nick: Anything where people can duplicate the stuff they own.

Virginia: We should back up and explain it for people who don’t know about it.

Nick: So, Monsanto’s case is that they have genetically modified crops: soybean, corn, wheat.  These are Roundup Ready.  Roundup is a weed killer that they can pour on the field.  Nothing else will grow except for the crop.  You don’t have to pay someone to weed your field.  But, they charge a bunch more.

Virginia: Not only that, but you’re not allowed to use them the next year.  You sign a release form that says, “I won’t use any of the leftover plant.”

Nick: That’s kind of funny because a lot of farmers didn’t use to do that.  We were talking about this at lunch.  My mom grew up in a farming community, and they never saved the leftover seeds.  They just bought seeds the next year because they were so cheap.  The catch is that this GMO seed is to expensive that it’s cheaper to try to save the seeds.

Virginia: It’s at the Supreme Court level right now.  It’s my understanding that this farmer saved some of his seeds and replanted them, and Monsanto caught him.  He’s like 70 years old, and I don’t know if he has any heirs.  Basically, he has nothing to lose.

Nick: He’s the only one.

Andrew: This is where Monsanto has pretty much earned the “evil” moniker.  If you’re downwind of  a farm with Monsanto crops, there’s a good chance that the wind blew pollen or seeds onto your property.  It’s nature at work.

Nick: And if they can find proof of that, then they won’t let you sell any of your harvest.

Andrew: They claim that, “Because some of our plants are growing with your plants, you violated the patent.”

Nick: Therefore, you can’t sell your crop.  This is really bad for farmers who levy their house and land  in order to purchase everything to farm.  They pay back the loan based on the yield.  So, if they can’t sell their crop, they lose their farm.

Virginia: According to this New York Times article, it looks like the Supreme Court will side with Monsanto.

Nick: It sounds like this will be the case that decides how the law treats anything that is easy to duplicate.

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