Dear Farmers and Ranchers,
Have you ever had trouble with Monsanto? Ever seen others you know have trouble? Has your community been affected over the last many years? Want a chance to do something serious about it finally?
OCM – the Organization for Competitive Markets – held a meeting on Monsanto called “Taking It Back” http://www.dailyyonder.com/letter-langdon-talking-seeds-and-freedom-mark-twain-state-park and after that (July 22nd) OCM sent a letter to 23 state attorneys general explaining the economic implications of Monsanto’s seed prices on rural communities and continues encouraging several state attorneys general to expand their antitrust investigation into Monsanto’s suspected anticompetitive practices in the U.S. seed industry.
As you know, anti-trust cases are based on information about anti-competitive practices. Who has that information? You do.
You have information. And that information is power after so many years of powerlessness.
You have lived through what Monsanto has done to farmers, communities, seed businesses, seed-cleaning businesses, and families. You’ve seen and you’ve heard and many of you have suffered directly.
Monsanto has destroyed farming communities not just through its economic weight and patents and lawsuits but by bringing fear and shame in general. Neighbors felt spied on and people stopped trusting each other. People were ashamed by bankruptcy or loss of a business. Farms and businesses got picked off one at a time, throwing a chill into everything that once was connected and good.
OCM is fighting back – “Taking it back.” Help them do it. Give them the information they need to win as many anti-trust cases against Monsanto as possible, state to state to state, by telling everything you know, with as much detail as you can provide.
Get together with you neighbors and tell them the time has come to fight back for American family farming and that telling the truth is how it’s going to be done.
In fighting back together, you will be reconnecting your farming communities, using openness and courage and truth-telling as the glue, patching where shame and fear and secrecy tore things apart.
Please write your letters to:
Organization for Competitive Markets
P.O. Box 6486
Lincoln, NE 68506
Fred Stokes, tfredstokes (at) hughes.net, 601-527-2459
Michael Stumo, stumo (at) competitivemarkets.com, 413-717-0184
For Immediate Release: July 22, 2008
Lincoln, NE – The Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) says Monsanto’s market power is driving up seed prices and devastating farmers and their communities. OCM sent a letter explaining the economic implications of Monsanto’s seed prices on rural communities to 23 state attorneys general today. The organization continues to encourage several state attorneys general to expand their antitrust investigation into Monsanto’s suspected anticompetitive practices in the U.S. seed industry.
“Monsanto’s market power has been quietly accruing over several years and has now begun materially impacting price,” said Keith Mudd, OCM’s board president. “The lack of competition and innovation in the marketplace has reduced farmers’ choices and enabled Monsanto to raise prices unencumbered.”
Monsanto executives recently told DTN that they expect to raise the price of some seed corn varieties to $300. The Monsanto executives consider themselves only restrained by the “red-face test.” “There is no competitive restraint to this price hike,” said Mudd.
OCM points to a specific quote from the DTN article:
Even the list price on seed corn will topple the $300 per bag barrier starting this fall, up about $95 to $100 per bag, or 35 percent on average, according to Monsanto officials who met with DTN and Progressive Farmer editors this week.For 2009, 76 percent of the company’s corn sales will be triple stack, ‘so we think we can get the pricing right to show farmers the benefits,’ John Jansen, Monsanto’s corn traits lead. ‘We can pass the red-faced test from the Panhandle of Texas to McLean County, Ill.’
“A $100 price increase is a tremendous drain on rural America,” said Fred Stokes, OCM’s executive director. “Let’s say a farmer in Iowa who farms 1,000 acres plants one of these expensive corn varieties next year. The gross increased cost is more than $40,000. Yet there’s no scientific basis to justify this price hike. How can we let companies get away with this?” continued Stokes.
The lack of innovation and choice in the seed industry, as well as increased prices, will only get worse over time. “If and when the ethanol boom subsides, Monsanto will not lower its prices, farmers will be forced into bankruptcy, and the lack of an effective remedy for antitrust in crop seed will be a substantial cause,” added Stokes.
OCM is a nonprofit organization working for open and competitive markets and fair trade for American food producers, consumers and rural communities. OCM’s Seed Concentration Project aims to foster competition, innovation and choice in the crop seed industry.