Stine Seed GMO Pilot Program, Saving Seeds, Creates Tensions with Bayer

Reuters writer Tom Polansek reported on Tuesday that, “Major producers of genetically modified seeds, including Monsanto Co and Bayer AG, have long barred U.S. farmers from saving seeds after harvest to replant – a condition that allows the companies to charge every year for the technology.

“Now, a smaller challenger, Stine Seed, wants to disrupt that practice.

Next year, family-owned Stine says it will give about 200 farmers in a pilot program the chance to replant genetically modified soybean seeds. The program is expanding after launching this year with about 50 farmers.”

Graph From Reuters News

Mr. Polansek explained that, “If Stine’s program succeeds and expands further, it would represent the renewal of a technique that major seed developers view as a threat to the commercial value of their intellectual property.

“Seeds in Stine’s program will include those containing a genetic trait called LibertyLink, which was developed by Bayer and licensed by Stine, and that’s created tension between the companies.

Bayer ‘does not support saved seed,‘ spokesman Jeff Donald said. He declined to comment specifically on Stine’s program.”

The Reuters article noted that, “Genetically modified seeds are sold by independent companies, such as Stine, and by major players, including Monsanto, Bayer and Syngenta AG. Stine and other independent seed sellers often pay to license genetic traits from the larger companies to put into seed.

“Monsanto, the world’s largest seed maker, has successfully sued U.S. farmers who saved genetically modified seed after pledging in contracts with the company to use it for only one crop. Other trait developers make U.S. farmers sign similar agreements.”

Mr. Polansek added that, “In Argentina – where farmers are legally allowed to save seed – Monsanto has stopped launching new soybean technologies, following a dispute with exporters and the government over royalties paid for saved seed.”

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