GENET archive


6-Regulation: U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur introduced "GE seedsaving" bill

-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Feds catch on to seed saving woes
SOURCE: Farm & Dairy, USA, by Andrea Myers
DATE:   1 Jul 2004 

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Feds catch on to seed saving woes

Ohio Sen. Marcy Kaptur introduced a bill last week that would allow
farmers to save seeds with patented technologies from one crop year to
the next.

State legislation pending in Ohio, Missouri to give farmers freedom to
save crop seeds.

SALEM, Ohio - Missouri and Ohio legislators are giving it a try, and now
federal lawmakers have caught on, too. U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio,
introduced a bill last week that would allow farmers to save seeds with
patented technologies from one crop year to the next. Kaptur, the ranking
member on the House Agriculture Appropriations Committee, said the Seed
Availability and Competition Act of 2004 will level the playing field for


Currently, holders of patented technology, including Roundup Ready and
YieldGard gene traits, force farmers to pay a 'technology fee' each year.
Farmers are also required to sign a contract saying they won't save seed
for more than one growing season. Violators face stiff penalties.
According to Monsanto, the average U.S. settlement is $108,400. One
Tennessee farm was fined $1.7 million.

Working at it.

Missouri Rep. Wes Shoemyer, with help from the Missouri Farmers Union,
also drafted and introduced a bill that would let farmers save seed. That
bill says farmers who want to save patented seed can register with the
state department of agriculture and pay a fee of $7 for each bushel of
seed saved. For each bushel, $6 would be paid to the seed companies that
hold patents on the technology, and $1 would go to administrative costs.
Any funds remaining would go to the state's land grant university for
agricultural research and development.

In Ohio. 

Farm and Dairy reported earlier this month about identical legislation
pending in the Ohio legislature. Those bills were introduced by Sen. Marc
Dann of Liberty Township in Trumbull County and State Rep. George Distel
of Ashtabula County. Dann and Distel expect state action on the bill late
this year or in the next session.

Import tariffs.

Kaptur's act, like the state initiatives, would make it legal to save
patented seed as long as a producer reports what he's saved and how much
of it, and pays the technology fee. In addition, the federal legislation
proposes tariffs on imported products from countries that do not levy
comparable technology fees. Kaptur said imported grains grown from seed
on which patent fees have not been paid do not undercut domestic markets.
"Our farmers are at a competitive disadvantage because of the fact that
some countries which produce products from these same patented
genetically modified seeds refuse to pay the patent fees. "As a result,
products derived from these seeds come into the United States at a lower
price, taking market away from American producers," Kaptur said. Cracking
down on grain imports that haven't been assessed the technology fee is
significant. Ohio Farmers Union President Joe Logan said a Monsanto
manager told him "more than half of the soybeans exported from Brazil and
Argentina are raised using this pirated technology."

A good answer.

"Rep. Kaptur's legislation offers a common-sense resolution to this
difficult situation," said National Farmers Union President Dave
Frederickson. The Farmers Union worked with Kaptur to draft the
legislation. The bill is pending in the House Agriculture and Ways and
Means committees.



Title: To require persons who seek to retain seed harvested from the
planting of patented seeds to register with the Secretary of Agriculture
and pay fees set by the Secretary for retaining such seed, and for other

Sponsor: Rep Kaptur, Marcy [OH-9] (introduced 6/24/2004)

Cosponsors (None)

Latest Major Action: 6/24/2004 Referred to House committee. Status:
Referred to the Committee on Agriculture, and in addition to the
Committee on Ways and Means, for a period to be subsequently determined
by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall
within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.

                                  PART II
-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  National Farmers Union Hails Seed-Saving Legislation
SOURCE: National Farmers Union, USA
DATE:   24 Jun 2004 

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National Farmers Union Hails Seed-Saving Legislation

WASHINGTON (June 24, 2004) - National Farmers Union praised a bill
introduced today by U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, to allow farmers the
right to save and replant patented seed.

"Traditionally, farmers have kept a portion of their seed to replant the
next year. Today, with the ability to patent life forms, farmers have
lost control of their seedstock and are forced to buy new seed year after
year, often from a single corporation," said NFU President Dave
Frederickson. "Representative Kaptur's legislation offers a common-sense
resolution to this difficult situation."

Kaptur's Seed Availability and Competition Act of 2004 would
decriminalize the act of saving patented seed as long as a producer
reports the quantity and type of seed retained and pays a technology fee
to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The secretary of agriculture will
then compensate the appropriate patent holders.

 In addition, the proposed legislation would assess tariffs on imported
products from countries that do not levy comparable technology fees.
Frederickson said this provision would resolve a competitive disadvantage
U.S. farmers have with farmers from countries where technology fees are
not applied.

 "This legislation affects a large percentage of producers in the United
States," Frederickson explained. "For example, 81 percent of all soybeans
planted in the U.S. are genetically modified."

Frederickson said this legislation was driven by grassroots efforts in
several states. Three years ago, Missouri State Rep. Wes Shoemyer began
introducing seed-saving legislation with the support of Missouri Farmers
Union. He introduced House Bill 829 this year to address the issue.

"What Congresswoman Kaptur's legislation will do is interject competition
into the seed-producing arena again," said Shoemyer. "This legislation
would also help local businesses keep money in their community by
cleaning the seed locally; the farmer saves the seed locally, so he
spends more money in his local community instead of sending that money
out of his community. This bill is very community friendly, very business
friendly and certainly very family farmer friendly. I applaud the
congresswoman for having the vision to file this legislation."

Ohio Farmers Union has championed state bills SB 252 and HB 513 by state
Sen. Marc Dann and Rep. L. George Distel that would address the seed-
saving issue at the state level. OFU President Joe Logan said, "Farmers
are very appreciative of patented seeds because they simplify their
agricultural operations. What they don't appreciate is that access to
that seed comes only through a single source. What we are hoping to do
with this legislation is to break that stranglehold that a single
corporation has on the access to seedstock that farmers need so desperately."


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