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Eric Holt Gimenez

Eric Holt Gimenez

Posted: March 2, 2011 02:00 PM

Monsanto has an interesting clause in its seed contract. The Monsanto Technology Stewardship Agreement has a waiver that shifts all liability from any incidental, direct, indirect consequences from its seeds from the company to the farmer.

Apparently, Monsanto is so sure that their seeds are problem-free that they refuse to take responsibility for them...

Want to plant Monsanto's GMO seeds? Here is your cross to bear:

GROWER'S EXCLUSIVE LIMITED REMEDY: THE EXCLUSIVE REMEDY OF THE GROWER AND THE LIMIT OF THE LIABILITY OF MONSANTO OR ANY SELLER FOR ANY AND ALL LOSSES, INJURY OR DAMAGES RESULTING FROM THE USE OR HANDLING OF SEED (INCLUDING CLAIMS BASED IN CONTRACT, NEGLIGENCE, PRODUCT LIABILITY, STRICT LIABILITY, TORT, OR OTHERWISE) SHALL BE THE PRICE PAID BY THE GROWER FOR THE QUANTITY OF THE SEED INVOLVED OR, AT THE ELECTION OF MONSANTO OR THE SEED SELLER, THE REPLACEMENT OF THE SEED. IN NO EVENT SHALL MONSANTO OR ANY SELLER BE LIABLE FOR ANY INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, SPECIAL, OR PUNITIVE DAMAGES.

That means if your seed contaminates an organic field and the farmer sues you for ruining their certification, you can't blame Monsanto.

Sued because pathogens from your GMO grain increased the spontaneous abortion rates of someone else's livestock? Don't look to the seed seller for help.

(I guess that's what they mean in their Pledge Report when they said "Monsanto Company is helping smallholder farmers around the world become more productive and self-sufficient.")

Get sued and they might return you the price of the seed...

Why does Monsanto have these clauses in their agreement? Because they know that GMOs are promiscuous in the field, create insect resistance and super-weeds, and are linked to late-term, spontaneous abortions in cattle. (Just as they knew of the devastating effects of dioxin, Agent Orange and rBGH.)

But it doesn't stop there.

Sign on with Monsanto and your farm is theirs:

GROWER AGREES: To accept and continue the obligations of this Monsanto Technology/Stewardship Agreement on any new land purchased or leased by Grower that has Seed planted on it by a previous owner or possessor of the land; and to notify in writing purchasers or lessees of land owned by Grower that has Seed planted on it that the Monsanto Technology is subject to this Monsanto Technology/Stewardship Agreement and they must have or obtain their own Monsanto Technology/Stewardship Agreement.

Well! Quite a statement from the company in the oligopoly club that claims it is going to save the world from hunger. They didn't mention that patent bondage was part of the deal...

What corn farmer in their right mind will sign an agreement like that? Probably most.

Monsanto's monopoly over industrial corn is almost complete and farmers have few easy options. The company wouldn't roll out this agreement if they didn't think they could force farmers to sign it. Because of the nature of our industrial farming system, farmers live indebted lives and make up less than 2% of the U.S. population so they don't have much room for maneuver or much political clout. Certainly not enough to stand up to Monsanto.

Why isn't anybody stopping Monsanto from spreading these seeds throughout the food chain and around the world? Why does the U.S. Department of Agriculture jump when the monopoly snaps its fingers? Why do molecular biologists and politicians climb on the bandwagon? And why aren't GMOs labeled in our food?

I found a fable that might help explain things: "The Emperor's New Seeds." Timeless.