Agriculture Workshop Comment Number: AGW-13351

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Comment Number: AGW-13351

Sent: Monday, December 28, 2009 7:58 AM
To: ATR-Agricultural Workshops
Subject: Comment

Kathleen Batalden Smith
23651 420th Avenue
Lamberton, MN 56152-2048

December 28, 2009

US Department of Justice

Dear US Department of Justice:

Thank you for the opportunity to submit comments in advance of the
Department of Justice's workshops on "Agriculture and Antitrust
Enforcement Issues in Our 21st Century Economy."

As a member of a small family-owned and operated organic farm, I am
particularly concerned about Monsanto's control over the seed supply.

By buying seed companies and aggressively patenting life, Monsanto has
gained control over as much as 90 percent of seed genetics. This is
anti-competitive behavior that skews markets and subjects farmers and
consumers to the unchecked power of a company that can raise prices at

But, my main concern is that, while Monsanto has acquired a diverse store
of seed genetics, they are only making available a few seeds that are
genetically modified to be dependent on their chemicals.

The vast bounty of food crops that farmers have cultivated and improved
upon over the last 10,000 or so years should not be allowed to be bought
up and put out of commission by a company bent on whittling down food
varieties to a few pesticide-dependent genetically modified crops.

The most devious part of Monsanto's business model is that their
Frankenseeds can cross-pollinate with organic and traditional varieties,
destroying their unique characteristics and infecting them with
genetically engineered chemical dependence or even "Terminator" or
"Traitor" technology that renders seeds sterile, a literal death sentence
for seeds maintained through conventional breeding.

The same way we protect animal species from extinction, we should protect
plant species, especially the tens of thousands of food varieties, from
companies like Monsanto that are consciously eliminating them.

I urge you to please include in your investigation a consideration of the
importance of keeping seeds. 

Just as importantly, I also ask that you advocate for and suppot
innovative policies and programs that truly help family-owned sustainable
and organic farms and do NOT support the purely profit-driven, selfish,
and monopolizing interests of Monsanto and other corporate agriculture


Kathleen Batalden Smith

Updated April 7, 2016

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