Agriculture Workshop Comment Number: AGW-13378

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Comment Number: AGW-13378

Sent: Monday, December 28, 2009 11:13 AM
To: ATR-Agricultural Workshops
Subject: Comment

Merry Sawdey
30844 56th Ave Way
Cannon Falls, MN 55009-7108

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 an organic consumer, 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

It bothers me that it is against Monsanto's rules for farmers to simply
save their seed for replanting the following season. Monsanto's control of
the market means that they are more and more come between the American
people and their food supply. To have a company with this much control of
the market and who also are only motivated by their own bottom line seems
like insanity. It is a limitation of freedom on something so basic as
being able to feed our ourselves.

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. We know that
biodiversity is an important factor in a healthy food system. Monsanto's
actions and choices make sure that our system is always partly sick so
they have to jump in and, at great cost to us, fix what is wrong.

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 keeping seeds, the foundation of human life, at least in the
marketplace, if not in the public domain where they truly belong.


Merry Sawdey

Updated April 7, 2016

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