Commentary: Drop Monsanto name in spending bill

Published online: Sep 22, 2013

The media and anti-biotech spokespersons are back at it in attacking the Farmer Assurance Provision being included in the upcoming congressional appropriations bills.

Just because the anti-biotech groups call the provision the Monsanto Protection Act, the media goes right along with it in headlines and articles. The media is going for readers. I know that readership increases on any article that we post with the word Monsanto in it. But I've digressed too far from the real issue.

According to the Huffington Post, House of Representative Republicans will include an extension of the Farmer Assurance Provision in the government appropriations bill "designed to avert a government shutdown." The spending bill released this week by House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) contains the provision.

The provision basically allows farmers who are in the process of growing biotech crops to be allowed to harvest and sell those crops instead of destroying the crops and not selling them, if a court case is filed and an injunction against production of the previously approved biotech crops occurs.

Extensively quoting anti-biotech spokespersons, the Huffington Post allows propaganda against Monsanto and other biotech companies operating the U.S. by repeating the derogatory misnomer of the provision. There are quotes by activists about the "secret rider slipped into a must-pass spending bill."

Including this provision in the Senate spending bill is not thought to be a problem according to the Huffington Post investigation. But senators and representatives have begun to line up on either side of the issue for when a vote is required.

As I wrote several months ago, the Monsanto Protection Act does not exist, or if activists are going to fight the biotech industry as a whole, they should be using the proper legal reference or provision name.