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Letters – for Nov. 26, 2009

If it doesn’t pay, don’t produce it

Growing wheat for sale to the Canadian Wheat Board, I’ve ended up with $1.86 per bushel. From a total price of $11,626.02, I end up with $6,065.35; they took $5,560.67 for expenses, including weighing inspection ($44.35), elevator cleaning ($1,729.65), the freight adjustment ($1,398.62), rail freight ($2,344.34) and the Manitoba Winter Cereals checkoff ($43.71), plus $750 for custom hauling to the elevator, for total freight and hauling of $4,492.96.

It cost me $160 per acre to grow the wheat; I lose money on a 50-bushel crop. For years they never took that much money when I grew wheat. With all the freight costs since the Crow is gone, I won’t be selling any more wheat to the wheat board.

We’ve lost money on cattle since the border closed, with no help from the government. The hog farmers are getting a bailout; it will be the corporations that make the money. They built the hog barns and sucked the farmer in. When I was in hogs in 1959, the price of hogs went to $17 per hog. I got out, and did not lose my ass because I did not have million-dollar hog barns. Each farmer raised about 60 hogs; now they raise 20,000 in a barn. They flood the market and cry for help. A bailout will start another round of new building; they will go broke in the end.

Jack Pawich Cartwright, Man.

Growers’ exclusions are negotiable

Allan Dawson’s news article, “Questions raised about Monsanto penalties” (Co-operator, Nov. 12, page 1), incorrectly interprets Monsanto’s approach to denying technology from those growers who are found to have knowingly and deliberately violated our patented technologies.

Monsanto is not suggesting that growers who steal our technology and refuse to resolve the matter out of the court system will be “banned for life” or denied access to our technology “forever.”

Yes, growers who steal our technology and take their cases to court for final resolution are put on an unauthorized user list. And yes, they remain on that list until such a time that they ask us to reconsider our decision. But Monsanto always remains open to constructive dialogue with growers, even if the courts have determined they violated our patent rights by stealing our technology. If, at a point down the road, a violating grower wants to be taken off the unauthorized user list we would certainly be willing to listen and discuss the situation. And we would work to come up with mutually acceptable terms of access that satisfy our requirement for integrity and honesty and provide us with assurances the grower will respect our intellectual property going forward.

While it is understandable growers want the flexibility to choose any seed brand and any technology of their choice, there is a responsibility that comes with that choice. We believe respecting the agreement they have made with Monsanto is a prerequisite for ongoing access to our technology. Thankfully, every year, thousands of growers choose to do business with Monsanto. In a few isolated cases, growers break their commitments. In these situations, they lose our trust and we can no longer extend them access to our products.

Thankfully, the vast majority of growers each year follow through on their commitments. For that, we are grateful. We value those customers for their support of our products and the respect they have shown us. After all, respect is a two-way street.

Trish Jordan Monsanto Canada

Winnipeg, Man.

Please forward letters to Manitoba Co-operator, 1666 Dublin Ave., Winnipeg, R3H 0H1 or Fax: 204-954-1422 or e-mail: [email protected](subject: To the editor)

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