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Everyone knows Rinehart, who was born and raised in the area and runs one of Eagleville’s few surviving businesses.

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But farmers who buy Monsanto’s seeds can’t even do that. Supreme Court, in a five-to-four decision, turned seeds into widgets, laying the groundwork for a handful of corporations to begin taking control of the world’s food supply.For centuries—millennia—farmers have saved seeds from season to season: they planted in the spring, harvested in the fall, then reclaimed and cleaned the seeds over the winter for re-planting the next spring. seeds that would resist its own herbicide, Roundup, offering farmers a convenient way to spray fields with weed killer without affecting crops. For nearly all of its history the United States Patent and Trademark Office had refused to grant patents on seeds, viewing them as life-forms with too many variables to be patented. In its decision, the court extended patent law to cover “a live human-made microorganism.” In this case, the organism wasn’t even a seed.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. 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.Others do, but ignore the stipulation rather than throw away a perfectly usable product. seeds to get mixed in with traditional varieties when seeds are cleaned by commercial dealers for re-planting. seeds and doesn’t want them on his land, it’s a safe bet he’ll get a visit from Monsanto’s seed police if crops grown from G. What they may not know is that the company now profoundly influences—and one day may virtually control—what we put on our tables. Many more products have been developed or are in the pipeline, including seeds for sugar beets and alfalfa. agenda, Monsanto is buying up conventional-seed companies. Another reason for their attraction is convenience.

Still others say that they don’t use Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds, but seeds have been blown into their fields by wind or deposited by birds. The seeds look identical; only a laboratory analysis can show the difference. For most of its history Monsanto was a chemical giant, producing some of the most toxic substances ever created, residues from which have left us with some of the most polluted sites on earth. The company is also seeking to extend its reach into milk production by marketing an artificial growth hormone for cows that increases their output, and it is taking aggressive steps to put those who don’t want to use growth hormone at a commercial disadvantage. In 2005, Monsanto paid

Still others say that they don’t use Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds, but seeds have been blown into their fields by wind or deposited by birds. The seeds look identical; only a laboratory analysis can show the difference. For most of its history Monsanto was a chemical giant, producing some of the most toxic substances ever created, residues from which have left us with some of the most polluted sites on earth. The company is also seeking to extend its reach into milk production by marketing an artificial growth hormone for cows that increases their output, and it is taking aggressive steps to put those who don’t want to use growth hormone at a commercial disadvantage. In 2005, Monsanto paid $1.4 billion for Seminis, which controlled 40 percent of the U. market for lettuce, tomatoes, and other vegetable and fruit seeds. By using Roundup Ready soybean seeds, a farmer can spend less time tending to his fields. But out in the American countryside, Monsanto’s no-holds-barred tactics have made it feared and loathed.Freese says he has been told of many cases in which Monsanto investigators showed up at a farmer’s house or confronted him in his fields, claiming he had violated the technology agreement and demanding to see his records.According to Freese, investigators will say, “Monsanto knows that you are saving Roundup Ready seeds, and if you don’t sign these information-release forms, Monsanto is going to come after you and take your farm or take you for all you’re worth.” Investigators will sometimes show a farmer a photo of himself coming out of a store, to let him know he is being followed.Others confront farmers on their land and try to pressure them to sign papers giving Monsanto access to their private records.Farmers call them the “seed police” and use words such as “Gestapo” and “Mafia” to describe their tactics.Some compare Monsanto’s hard-line approach to Microsoft’s zealous efforts to protect its software from pirates.

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Still others say that they don’t use Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds, but seeds have been blown into their fields by wind or deposited by birds. The seeds look identical; only a laboratory analysis can show the difference. For most of its history Monsanto was a chemical giant, producing some of the most toxic substances ever created, residues from which have left us with some of the most polluted sites on earth. The company is also seeking to extend its reach into milk production by marketing an artificial growth hormone for cows that increases their output, and it is taking aggressive steps to put those who don’t want to use growth hormone at a commercial disadvantage. In 2005, Monsanto paid $1.4 billion for Seminis, which controlled 40 percent of the U. market for lettuce, tomatoes, and other vegetable and fruit seeds. By using Roundup Ready soybean seeds, a farmer can spend less time tending to his fields. But out in the American countryside, Monsanto’s no-holds-barred tactics have made it feared and loathed.

Freese says he has been told of many cases in which Monsanto investigators showed up at a farmer’s house or confronted him in his fields, claiming he had violated the technology agreement and demanding to see his records.

According to Freese, investigators will say, “Monsanto knows that you are saving Roundup Ready seeds, and if you don’t sign these information-release forms, Monsanto is going to come after you and take your farm or take you for all you’re worth.” Investigators will sometimes show a farmer a photo of himself coming out of a store, to let him know he is being followed.

Others confront farmers on their land and try to pressure them to sign papers giving Monsanto access to their private records.

Farmers call them the “seed police” and use words such as “Gestapo” and “Mafia” to describe their tactics.

Some compare Monsanto’s hard-line approach to Microsoft’s zealous efforts to protect its software from pirates.

.4 billion for Seminis, which controlled 40 percent of the U. market for lettuce, tomatoes, and other vegetable and fruit seeds. By using Roundup Ready soybean seeds, a farmer can spend less time tending to his fields. But out in the American countryside, Monsanto’s no-holds-barred tactics have made it feared and loathed.

Freese says he has been told of many cases in which Monsanto investigators showed up at a farmer’s house or confronted him in his fields, claiming he had violated the technology agreement and demanding to see his records.

According to Freese, investigators will say, “Monsanto knows that you are saving Roundup Ready seeds, and if you don’t sign these information-release forms, Monsanto is going to come after you and take your farm or take you for all you’re worth.” Investigators will sometimes show a farmer a photo of himself coming out of a store, to let him know he is being followed.

Others confront farmers on their land and try to pressure them to sign papers giving Monsanto access to their private records.

Farmers call them the “seed police” and use words such as “Gestapo” and “Mafia” to describe their tactics.

Some compare Monsanto’s hard-line approach to Microsoft’s zealous efforts to protect its software from pirates.