Agriculture Workshop Comment Number: AGW-13815

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Comment Number: AGW-13815

From: mercedes@hesselgesser.net
Sent: Tuesday, December 29, 2009 2:03 PM
To: ATR-Agricultural Workshops
Subject: The Monsanto Monopoly


Mercedes Hesselgesser
7126 Pescadero Creek Road
Pescadero, CA 94060-8840


December 29, 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."

I live in a small farming community in Northern California.  My family and
community are very fortunate because we do not have to rely on Monsanto,
or any other large food production companies, for crop yield, livestock,
or poultry.  The farmers in my community are never told what to grow, what
seeds to use to grow their crops, and they work hard at maintaining
sustainable crop and livestock systems.  I take great pride in buying
locally, and that the local farmers work with the community to get their
healthy products to people in the community that could not afford them in
the market.  The farmers in our community do not live under the threat of
a large corporation suing them and taking their livelihood away.  The fact
that anything like that is occurring in this country literally makes me
queasy.

The American government has allowed Monsanto, and other major food
production companies, to destroy the lives and livelihoods of farmers. 
Additionally, our government has allowed these companies to permanently
alter the food economy so that eating healthy is nearly impossible for
low-income families.  To add insult to injury, the way these companies
operate do nothing to give back to the environment or to encourage
sustainability.  To these companies, we are nothing but dollar bills
waiting to be sucked into their pockets - from the famer to the consumer
to the government.

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-American and anti-competitive behavior that skews markets and
subjects farmers and consumers to the unchecked power of a company that
can raise prices at will.

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



Sincerely,


Mercedes Hesselgesser
415-439-3624


Updated April 7, 2016

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