Seed Concentration Project
The OCM Crop Seed Concentration Project pursues aggressive and appropriate pro-market regulation to bring fairness, innovation and competition back to the U.S. crop seed industry. We engage in public education and advocacy, while building a lasting foundation to achieve these goals.
What’s the problem?
Higher seed and chemical costs
In addition to rising fuel and chemical prices, farmers are also paying higher prices for crop seed with less choice in the market. Companies that should be assisting farmers are instead crippling them.
The price for transgenic traits and glyphosate have skyrocketed. Monsanto increased the price of its transgenic corn varieties by about 20% in 2008.
Monsanto controls about 60% of the glyphosate market. The price of its trademark brand (Roundup) has increased by 30 to 50% in some parts of the U.S.
Limited future innovation
Research in transgenic, conventional and organic seed becomes limited when one company consolidates a high proportion of plant breeders, germplasm, and breeding technologies.
Threats to farmers’ independence and livelihoods
Monsanto’s effort to enforce licensing agreements and protect its patent rights has dramatically altered American agriculture. Monsanto has filed more than 100 patent infringement lawsuits against U.S. farmers. Sometimes the farmers and businesses it targets are completely innocent. Yet these farmers undergo undue financial and emotional stress in their effort to avoid costly lawsuits.
OCM’s public education campaign aims to raise awareness about the problem of market concentration in the seed industry and mobilize grassroots action. This includes holding public meetings and other events, speaking at conferences and hearings, and engaging political leaders and the media.
An important project goal is to support state attorneys general who are participating in a multi-state investigation relating to alleged violations of U.S. antitrust and trade practice laws in the seed industry, as well as encourage other attorneys general to join the investigation.
Attorneys general who engage in antitrust investigations have the power to subpoena documents and other information from companies that allegedly use monopoly power to harm competition. A lawsuit may follow the investigation if they identify a violation of state or federal antitrust laws.