The discovery of genetically-altered wheat growing in an Oregon field has prompted wheat farmers across the United States to seek legal action against Monsanto, the company renowned for its development of the herbicide-resistant wheat. Wheat growers in Massachusetts as well as across the US are initiating business litigation against the corporate giant, claiming that Monsanto’s negligence in the matter will likely drive down US wheat export prices.
The lawsuits were initiated by a Kansas farmer who, upon learning of the discovery of the wheat growing in Oregon, decided to take legal action against Monsanto. The genetically-altered wheat has not been approved for farming in the US, and is banned from import by many countries around the world. One of the largest buyers of US wheat, Japan, has already begun to slow down the purchase of US wheat. Another importer the commodity, South Korea, has vowed to increase the diligence with which US wheat is inspected.
Reactions such as these from countries that import large volumes of US wheat have a strong possibility of resulting in further declines in wheat sales for US farmers, along with the dropping of wheat prices which could economically harm wheat growers in the US.
Attorneys representing Monsanto have a different stance on the matter, claiming that the company has exercised comprehensive controls in the manufacture of its grain seeds, and that it thus bears no liability in the matter. Additionally, according to these attorneys, wheat futures have stabilized since the initial finding of the wheat, which they say should result in no loss to US farmers.
Taking on corporate giants in litigation can be a daunting task unless the ones taking action seek the services of qualified legal counsel who are experienced in handling cases of this nature. As additional lawsuits from farmers come forward behind the Kansas farmer, who initiated legal action, a united front may have a strong influence both in the courtroom, as well as in the US legislature to protect farmers present and future earnings.
Source: Washington Post Business, “Kansas farmer sues Monsanto over the discovery of genetically engineered wheat in Oregon field”, June 04, 2013