Monsanto Announcement Receives Cautious Response

More work must be done to solve patent issues.

Published on: Jul 12, 2010

Monsanto says it will maintain export market approvals for the first biotech soybean trait Roundup Ready through 2021. But, National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson says there is more to the process. NFU does not believe this is the sole answer to a timely and enforceable mechanism to ensure that generic competition arrives in biotech seeds as soon as the RR1 patent expires. 

Johnson says because the patent for these soybeans expires in 2014, the immediate development of generic-based products or timely access to regulatory data is needed so that new seeds containing the generic version of RR1 can be available to farmers in 2015.

According to the NFU President what Monsanto has outlined does not solve the whole problem of pre and post patent issues. A strategic plan must allow for the empowerment of more readily available development in the biotech industry. It is important to realize that all patented biotech traits face this issue and the non binding agreement Monsanto has mentioned only works with one.

American Farm Bureau Federation president Bob Stallman says his organization recognizes the need for a long-term approach to address a future where multiple generic biotech products will exist in the marketplace. Stallman says they are committed to working to ensure that generic products are available to farmers and that those products continue to have marketplace acceptance abroad.

According to Stallman farmers who choose to continue planting a biotech crop no longer covered by patents, from either purchased or saved seed, must be able to count on those crops being accepted in international markets. Due to the often-shifting sands of international trade regulations, however, maintaining approval for any biotech crop can be an expensive, time-consuming matter.