Soybean Farmer Faces Showdown with Monsanto at Supreme Court

Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Hugh Bowman (photo: AJ Mast)

Indiana soybean farmer Hugh Bowman will take on biotech giant Monsanto before the U.S. Supreme Court this spring to decide just how far corporate patents on genetically-modified (GM) seeds should extend.


Bowman is a second-generation farmer in southwestern Indiana who was accused by Monsanto of infringing on its rights regarding its Roundup Ready soybean seeds, which were engineered to withstand its Roundup herbicide.


The 75-year-old farmer never bought Monsanto’s seeds. But he did find soybean seeds in a local grain elevator used for feed and then planted them.


Experts say Roundup Ready has become so ubiquitous that it’s quite possible “offspring” of the GM seeds wound up in the grain elevator.


Monsanto insists that regardless of where or how Bowman got the seeds, he owes the company for using them. It sued him in district court and won an $84,456 settlement.


Bowman, who describes himself as “less than a drop in a bucket,” appealed his case to the Supreme Court, which agreed to hear it on February 19. He told The Washington Post, “Monsanto should not be able, just because they’ve got millions and millions of dollars to spend on legal fees, to try to terrify farmers into making them obey their agreements by massive force and threats.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky


To Learn More:

Indiana Soybean Farmer Sees Monsanto Lawsuit Reach US Supreme Court (by Paul Harris, The Guardian)

Farmer’s Use of Genetically Modified Soybeans Grows Into Supreme Court Case (by Robert Barnes, Washington Post)

Bowman v. Monsanto (SCOTUS Blog)


Martha Medrano 6 years ago
Monsanto has been using these tactics for years on small farmers all over the world. You have to be very brave to go against such aggressive

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