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12-Jun-2016 04:01 by 10 Comments

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I felt like I was in another country.”Gary Rinehart is actually one of Monsanto’s luckier targets. In a 2007 report, the Center for Food Safety, in Washington, D. Even more significant, in the Center’s opinion, are the numbers of farmers who settle because they don’t have the money or the time to fight Monsanto.

Monsanto eventually realized that “Investigator Jeffery Moore” had targeted the wrong man, and dropped the suit.

Yet in a little more than a decade, the company has sought to shed its polluted past and morph into something much different and more far-reaching—an “agricultural company” dedicated to making the world “a better place for future generations.” Still, more than one Web log claims to see similarities between Monsanto and the fictional company “U-North” in the movie Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds have transformed the company and are radically altering global agriculture. Two weeks later it announced the acquisition of the country’s third-largest cottonseed company, Emergent Genetics, for 0 million. With Monsanto seeds, a farmer plants his crop, then treats it later with Roundup to kill weeds. Like it or not, farmers say, they have fewer and fewer choices in buying seeds. Whoever provides the world’s seeds controls the world’s food supply.

It’s estimated that Monsanto seeds now account for 90 percent of the U. production of soybeans, which are used in food products beyond counting. That takes the place of labor-intensive weed control and plowing. Under Surveillance After Monsanto’s investigator confronted Gary Rinehart, Monsanto filed a federal lawsuit alleging that Rinehart “knowingly, intentionally, and willfully” planted seeds “in violation of Monsanto’s patent rights.” The company’s complaint made it sound as if Monsanto had Rinehart dead to rights: During the 2002 growing season, Investigator Jeffery Moore, through surveillance of Mr.

As Rinehart would recall, the man began verbally attacking him, saying he had proof that Rinehart had planted Monsanto’s genetically modified (G. Better come clean and settle with Monsanto, Rinehart says the man told him—or face the consequences. He owned a small—a small—country store in a town of 350 people. You will pay.”Scenes like this are playing out in many parts of rural America these days as Monsanto goes after farmers, farmers’ co-ops, seed dealers—anyone it suspects may have infringed its patents of genetically modified seeds.

Rinehart was incredulous, listening to the words as puzzled customers and employees looked on. He was angry that somebody could just barge into the store and embarrass him in front of everyone. Rinehart says he told the intruder, “You got the wrong guy.”When the stranger persisted, Rinehart showed him the door. Rinehart says he can’t remember the exact words, but they were to the effect of: “Monsanto is big. As interviews and reams of court documents reveal, Monsanto relies on a shadowy army of private investigators and agents in the American heartland to strike fear into farm country.

Rinehart was behind the counter of the Square Deal, his “old-time country store,” as he calls it, on the fading town square of Eagleville, Missouri, a tiny farm community 100 miles north of Kansas City.

The Square Deal is a fixture in Eagleville, a place where farmers and townspeople can go for lightbulbs, greeting cards, hunting gear, ice cream, aspirin, and dozens of other small items without having to drive to a big-box store in Bethany, the county seat, 15 miles down Interstate 35.

Like many others in rural America, Rinehart knew of Monsanto’s fierce reputation for enforcing its patents and suing anyone who allegedly violated them. They fan out into fields and farm towns, where they secretly videotape and photograph farmers, store owners, and co-ops; infiltrate community meetings; and gather information from informants about farming activities.

Farmers say that some Monsanto agents pretend to be surveyors.

Monsanto already dominates America’s food chain with its genetically modified seeds. Just as frightening as the corporation’s tactics–ruthless legal battles against small farmers–is its decades-long history of toxic contamination.

Gary Rinehart clearly remembers the summer day in 2002 when the stranger walked in and issued his threat.

This radical departure from age-old practice has created turmoil in farm country.

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