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Schmeiser warns of 'fear culture' among prairie farmers

(Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- Ian O' Neill, Stratford Beacon-Herald, 09/22/03 via Agnet:

Speaking in Tavistock, Ont. Saturday afternoon at the Board of Trade/Men's Club, embattled Saskatchewan farmer Percy Schmeiser was cited as warning of an emerging "fear culture" among prairie farmers, stating, "We should never have trusted Monsanto.

The story says that the 72-year-old former MLA and longtime farmer from Bruno, Sask., is visiting Ontario to campaign against GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and to generate support for his court battle against Monsanto. The multinational agricultural giant has successfully sued Schmeiser for patent infringement, and he is appealing the case to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Mr Schmeiser was further quoted as saying that he and his wife will "go down fighting for the average farmer. Who developed the seeds and plants we have today? Our farmers. Whoever controls the seed supply ultimately controls the food supply."

For his part, Mr. Schmeiser says Monsanto should charge a royalty fee only during the first year a farmer uses the patented canola seed. If the farmer plants the seed again in subsequent years, no royalty fee ought be charged, he believes.

Mr. Schmeiser also says that in the second year of use, Monsanto must allow farmers the choice to use pesticides and fertilizers not manufactured by Monsanto.