The Department of Justice website has released the transcript from the first agricultural workshop on concentration, that was held in Ankeny, Iowa on March 12th.
It’s downloadable only as a PDF: Full Transcript
Kristina Hubbard, whose been working with OSA on State of Organic Seed, delivered some excellent comments (page 209). She refers to the conversations that many of us made to get folks to come and speak:
“I wanted to speak to something that General Holder said this morning. He sai he was encouraging us to be frank about our perspectives. And unfortunately…. there are many people who aren’t here today because they are unwilling to 3speak. They are afraid of repercussions from the dominant players. My colleagues and I have spoken to at least a dozen seed companies, truly independent seed companies, who are worried about talking about the shortcomings of the seed industry. They’re worried about simply sharing their story.
And so this culture of fear that the last gentleman mentioned is truly stifling voices of people who have important stories to share. These are public plant breeders. These are seed dealers, representatives of independent seed companies, and especially farmers. So as people come up to this microphone, those who do have courage to share their perspective, please remember that their voice is a vote, and many of us are voting for a seed industry that meets the diverse needs of farmers and hopefully restores choice and rights back to our American farmers.”
This “culture of fear” was first mentioned by Wisconsin dairyman, Joel Greeno, whose testimony begins on page 299.
OSA’s verbal comments are on page 302. OSA’s submitted “Utility patents are a failed experiment,” – from Harvey Howington, a rice farmer who along with other producers in Arkansas had rice crops contaminated by genetically engineered Liberty Link rice, and won a lawsuit against Bayer for damages. Harvey’s comments are on page 308.
Ron Rossman – past board president of Organic Farming Research Foundation and an organic farmer in Harlan, Iowa – gave comments but was recorded as “unidentified male” – they are very important comments, and they start on page 341.
The “Seed Competitive Dynamics Panel” begins on page 140 and runs for over 40 pages. This panel was heavily biased towards industry and a “nothing needs to be fixed other than maybe Monsanto granting a few more licenses to use their patented traits”. A Monsanto employee, a researcher funded by DuPont, a farmer who is a Monsanto seed producer, and a farmer who is a big fan of Monsanto gave a very very one sided view regarding competition. Neil Harl was the sole alternative voice, and as an academic did not so much challenge the other panelists as he did give history and education on patents. At future workshops DOJ-USDA need to have representation from independent seed companies on this panel. That is if they can find an independent seed dealer whose not afraid to disagree with Monsanto. There should also be representatives from NGOs/advocacy groups who represent farmers on this panel.