Are GMO companies too powerful?

GMOs are in almost everything we eat! This goes to show how much power GMO companies have in the agriculture business.

GMOs are in almost everything we eat! This goes to show how much power GMO companies have in the agriculture business.

Olivia Pelaez, Staff Writer

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have become a massive industry with companies wielding large amounts of power.  These GMO companies charge technology fees to farmers to use their genetically modified seeds which often increase their yields. Some of these companies such as, “Monsanto” sue farmers if they believe that those farmers are harvesting crops with the DNA of their seeds leading many small farmers to go out of business. Many farmers now live in fear of GMO companies, and the possibility of having to close their farms down because of them.

Unfortunately, many farmers are unaware that their crops have the company’s DNA. This could happen for a lot of reasons, such as plants cross pollinating with those from nearby fields, this is impossible to prevent since this is a naturally occurring phenomenon. These farmers are no match for the major GMO companies and their expensive lawyers. Sometimes farmers spend their life’s savings trying to save their farms in court but ultimately fail. Even if the farmers manage to prove that they were not knowingly growing plants with the genetically modified DNA, the companies can continue to appeal the verdict sending the farmers back to court until they can no longer afford it and have to sell their farms.

One of the most notorious companies, Monsanto, has addressed the negative attention they have received due the large amounts of lawsuits they have filed against farmers stating that farmers sign a contract when they buy seeds from them. This contact tells farmers that they must not replant seeds that came from the plants that grew from Monsanto’s products. They state three reasons for suing farmers: to ensure they make a profit in their business and continue to research and innovate, that businesses need to be paid for their products, and that it is unfair to all the other farmers that do pay for all their seeds.

“I think farmers should consider organic farming as a viable option since it allows them to bypass the inconvenience of major GMO companies suing them or threatening them. This will also help reduce the overall power of GMO companies in the agriculture business,” sophomore Connor Drucker said.

These types of contracts are extremely hard to enforce, because proof is very hard to obtain. When lawsuits occur, it turns into a he said she said situation and it is difficult to insure the they are guilty or not. New laws should be made to try and solve this problem and give protect farmers in these issues so they are not as easily harassed by larger companies or wrongfully convicted in court. Hopefully this issue will be resolved in the future by giving farmers more protection so that they do not feel intimidated by large companies.