Monsanto naturally didn’t get to be so big and powerful by being kind and forgiving—and farmer Bowman isn’t its first target. According to the Center for Food Safety, which last week issued a new report titled Seed Giants vs U.S. Farmers, the mega company had “filed 144 lawsuits involving 410 farmers and 56 small farm businesses in at least 27 different states” as of January. The company had recouped tens of millions of dollars as a result of these enforcement lawsuits—as well as settlements with farmers brought about by the mere threat of litigation.
As you’ll see below, Monsanto says it is merely enforcing valid contracts, and protecting its hard-fought patents, and that it has a right to do so aggressively. However, the result of these attempts at market control, the CFS noted, is “dramatic increases in the price of seeds. From 1995-2011, the average cost to plant one acre of soybeans has risen 325 percent; for cotton prices spiked 516 percent and corn seed prices are up by 259 percent.” The reason for this development is not difficult to discern.