Monsanto Responds To Network Of Concerned Farmers

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12th November 2009, 05:40pm - Views: 953
Monsanto Responds to Network of Concerned Farmers

To the Network of Concerned Farmers

In response to an email we received, we would like to clarify some misinformation being presented by the Network of Concerned Farmers. While Monsanto is not a grain handler, we feel compelled to respond as a participant of the grains industry supply chain.

Prior to the introduction of GM canola the grains industry, through the Single Vision Grains Australia initiative, established processes and procedures to ensure that GM canola and its products would be managed to meet market and customer requirements and to provide market choice. Grain handlers have followed through on these commitments and have established effective protocols for managing segregations. As part of these efforts, the industry established two canola standards: CSO1 Canola, which includes all canola, conventional and herbicide tolerant canola including Roundup Ready canola; and CSO1-A, non-GM canola, same quality and trade parameters as Canola with the additional requirement for an adventitious presence of OGTR approved events at 0.9% or below.

These processes appear to have worked very well to date. Contrary to the information in your letter we are not aware of any grain handlers or growers experiencing significant delays or any significant segregation issues, and Graincorp have made no such announcement.

The issue of segregation and coexistence is not unique to GM and non-GM canola. The grains industry successfully manages over 70 different types of segregations each year, and has done so for decades across multiple sites. The system adopted by the industry for segregation of GM and non-GM types of canola is not too dissimilar from the systems adopted for these other types of segregations. From a grower perspective, the delivery process is not markedly different for canola than for other grains and once delivery has been received growers appear to understand the process quite well. As with other specifications, each grain handler is able to establish its own site-specific protocols for the receival, testing, storage and outturn of canola as may be necessary to meet market and customer requirements. Should there be any segregation issues involving CS01 and CS01A, these would be handled by the grain handlers, just as other segregation issues would be. Once grain has been delivered, it is the grain handler's responsibility for managing outturn of the quantity and quality of grain shown on the receival receipt; the rights of individual growers would not be impacted. We also take issue with the suggestion in your letter that Monsanto will be pursuing farmers for accidental or inadvertent presence of grain containing our patented technologies, as it has never been, nor will it be Monsanto policy to exercise its patent rights where trace amounts of our patented traits are present in a farmer's paddock or grain as a result of inadvertent means. If a circumstance such as this is brought to Monsanto's attention, we will work with the parties involved to investigate the cause. Globally, Monsanto only pursues claims for patent infringement in situations where we believe there has been a knowing and deliberate unauthorised use of our technology. We pursue these matters for three main reasons. First, no business can survive without being paid for its product. Second, the loss of this revenue would hinder our ability to invest in research and development to create new products to help farmers. We currently invest over $2.6 million per day to develop and bring new products to market. Third, it would be unfair to the farmers that honor their agreements to let others get away with getting it for free. Farming, like any other business, is competitive and farmers need a level playing field.

In closing, we wish to add that importantly, in thirteen years that GM cotton has been grown in Australia there have been no cases of farmers suing each other because of GM crops. Co-existence works in global farming systems as does segregation, to suggest otherwise unfairly taints an industry that operates under world class grain handling and segregation standards.

Monsanto Australia

Monsanto is committed to sustainable agriculture in Australia. Our technologies help farmers use fewer resources to grow more. For more information on:
* Grain handling and receival processes please contact Graincorp or ABA.
* Industry standards for canola please contact the Australian Oilseeds Federation.

About Monsanto Company
Monsanto Company is a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality. Monsanto remains focused on enabling both small-holder and large-scale farmers to produce more from their land while conserving more of our world's natural resources such as water and energy. To learn more about our business and our commitments, please visit:

TEL: 61 3 9522 7122

SOURCE: Monsanto Australia

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