Is the new Farm Bill also the Monsanto Protection Act?
The farm bill is a package of federal legislation enacted every five to seven years to set the general direction for America’s farm and food policy. Congress enacted the first farm bill in the wake of the Great Depression with the dual goals of supporting America’s farmers and ranchers and helping them to maintain their land.
The current proposed Farm Bill, H.R. 5973, is a far cry from the original and as is so often true – the devil is in the details. There is a small rider in section 733 that gives biotech companies free reign with little to no judicial oversight. For those of you who care to wade through the legalese, the text appears at the end of this article.
If allowed to pass, the Monsanto Protection Act would:
• Violate the constitutional precedent of separation of powers by interfering with the process of judicial review.
• Eliminate federal agency oversight to protect farmers, consumers and the environment from potential harms caused by unapproved biotech crops.
• Allow Monsanto and biotech seed and chemical companies to profit by overriding the rule of law and plant their untested GMO crops despite no proof of their safety for the public and environment.
• Will not just allow, but require the secretary of agriculture to grant permits for planting or cultivating GM crops – even if a federal court has given an injunction against it.
• Would open up the floodgates for the planting of new untested genetically engineered crops, endangering farmers, consumers and the environment."