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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Monsanto Responds To Neil Young Documentary "Seeding Fear"

Last week, a documentary film co-produced by Neil Young titled "Seeding Fear" was released along with a detailed statement. (Full details and video here.)

In the film "Seeding Fear", Monsanto is exposed to be a cold, heartless, inhumane Corporation willing to go to any lengths necessary to destroy perceived threats to its business model.

Alabama farmer Michael White in the documentary says: “Even after the lawsuit was over, I couldn’t make him believe it was over. He would cry and keep saying, ‘Oh, they’re going to come back and sue me again,' It destroyed him. It destroyed his life. He went to his grave—this grave—still afraid of [Monsanto].”

Neil Young's pre-buttal stated: “Monsanto is a corporation with great wealth, now controlling over 90 percent of soybean and corn growth in America. Family farms have been replaced by giant agri corp farms across this great vast country we call home. Farm aid and other organizations have been fighting the losing battle against this for 30 years now.”

Now the Monsanto Corporation has responded to the documentary. From Rolling Stone by Kory Grow:
"Mr. White is not transparent in describing his actions or the situation," a rep for the company tells Rolling Stone. "He actually admitted to knowingly planting, producing, saving, cleaning and selling Roundup Ready soybeans illegally. All of this information is available in court documents.

"Protecting patents and copyrights can be difficult in any business – including the entertainment industry," the Monsanto Corporation rep continues. "Mr. White's actions are equivalent to pirating an album, producing thousands of copies and selling bootleg copies – all while knowing what you're doing is illegal and that it will result in criminal charges if caught."

The rep also referenced a LinkedIn blog by Monsanto's chief technology officer, Robb Fraley, in which he responded to Young. "Here's an invitation to establish that dialogue with Neil Young," Fraley wrote. "I invite him to visit our company and talk with us about what we're doing." The rep also provided a link to another blog, hosted on the Monsanto website, titled "Correcting The Monsanto Years," published earlier this month in response to the album Young put out this year, which attacks the company.

"Although they have tended to get a lot of attention, lawsuits between us and farmers who plant seeds without paying for them are actually very rare," the company's statement for Rolling Stone concludes. "Every year, hundreds of thousands of farmers plant our seeds. Since 1997, when we started trying to protect the patents on our seeds, we have gone to trial with a fraction of one percent of those customers. In addition, all of the proceeds we receive from any settlement – including Mr. White's settlement – are donated to youth leadership initiatives and to support the local communities in which farmers live and work."

Young declined to comment to Rolling Stone on Monsanto's statement.
While Neil declined to comment to Rolling Stone on Monsanto's statement, many did on his Facebook page.

A Message From Neil Young -As I write this, the dark act is up for a vote in the House of Representatives;...

Posted by Neil Young on Thursday, July 23, 2015

5,000+ comments. 80,000+ shares.

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At 7/26/2015 02:16:00 PM, Blogger Syscrusher said...

Monsanto talk much, say little.

Don't try to convince me Monsanto, either change or accept your position as evil-doer.

At 7/26/2015 06:27:00 PM, Blogger TopangaDaze said...

Syscrusher: Your comments sound like something I'd expect out of ole Neil himself. What would you like from Monsanto? Give away their product for free? Shut down their doors? Stop searching/creating/modifying organisms (which farmers have been doing for hundreds/thousands of years)?

If Neil is serious, he'll take Monsanto up on their invitation and meet with them. Unfortunately, he'll likely post a few more biased pieces and/or maybe host a one-sided conference flanked by a few well intentioned green folks.

Again, not necessarily a fan of Monsanto, but the truth usually resides somewhere in the middle. Neil doesn't like travelling there...

Take my advice
Don't listen to me

At 7/26/2015 06:44:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not every truth is in the middle

It is a ruthless monopoly

And Mr. White seems more open and sincere than Monsanto

No one should "own" the seeds

At 7/26/2015 08:14:00 PM, Blogger TopangaDaze said...

You said it Keith:

"Mr. White seems more open and sincere than Monsanto"

David will always be a more sympathetic figure than Goliath, but Mr. White actually "admitted to knowingly planting, producing, saving, cleaning and selling Roundup Ready soybeans illegally." I wonder if Neil knew that seemingly significant fact..

Seems like in this instance the truth is somewhere in the middle. Personally I don't lose any sleep over this issue, I just want our hero to be honest and sincere and open to more than one viewpoint. A closed mind pushing an agenda is rarely a good thing.

At 7/27/2015 04:38:00 AM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

Get my pillow

At 7/27/2015 07:06:00 AM, Blogger Syscrusher said...

Topanga talk much, say nothing.

At 7/27/2015 07:11:00 AM, Blogger Peacelover Doc said...

In the video Mr White says something along the lines of 'most farmers can't afford to get their day in court' in the Monsanto release Robb Fraley says 'Every year, hundreds of thousands of farmers plant our seeds. Since 1997, when we started trying to protect the patents on our seeds, we have gone to trial with a fraction of one percent of those customers' I wonder what the percentage is of farmers they went after who's resources ran out before they got to trial. Regarding an earlier comment/question >What would you like from Monsanto? I would like them to eliminate the gene in their seeds that prohibits the crop from producing seeds that can be used the following year.

At 7/27/2015 11:11:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Never in my life would I have thought that I would spend so much time and energy arguing against Neil Young. So weird - I have spent so many years supporting him through everything - I defended all the albums up to this one. Except maybe Arc.

I was posting quite a bit on facebook, but have stopped as the thread is now too large, and it is now just noise. I also believe in being civil and nice to people during these facebook threads, a belief that most people do not share with me.

Monsanto is a business, you can probably pick any large corporation and find examples of questionable business practices. And corporations should be called out. But of all the things that Neil could rally against, I was so disappointed that he picked this. Hate toward Monsanto and GMO's are filled are so much misinformation, and Neil did nothing but add to that. Especially disappointed when he linked to some minor study on GMO's and stating "case closed". Cases are never closed in science, and anybody were to close the case, it would be with the vast majority of scientific studies that came to the opposite conclusion.

The movie also disappointed me. It was not so long ago that Neil released the movie on the 2006 CSNY tour, which allowed people to express their disagreement with Neil's position on the war (I was on Neil's side on that project). The Seeding Fear movie is not so balanced, seems Neil is helping create fear.

I really want this chapter in Neil's career to be over and it will be interesting to see if I can pretend it never happened when the next album comes out.

I already posted my thoughts on the issues on previous threads, but I can't help correcting things that I see above: Peacelover: the so-called Terminator gene has never been used in any products released by Monsanto. And Keith, Monsanto does not have a monopoly...they are one of 6 major seed companies and not the largest.

One last side note: it was interesting that I got into direct discussions with Lukas Nelson on Neil's page on several threads. We agreed on just about nothing, but it was interesting debating with him. At one point, I thanked him for playing "Double E" and he said he was sure they would play it again. And then they didn't. I blame Monsanto for that.

At 7/27/2015 12:13:00 PM, Blogger Peacelover Doc said...

Thanks Johnny, Can you post a link showing Monsanto has never released any products containing that gene? I would be interested in seeing that.

At 7/27/2015 12:30:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I think they may have considered releasing it, but there were protests around 1999, and they haven't released it in the subsequent 16 years. You never know what the future holds -- not sure if it is good or bad really, but for the time being, it is still in the labs and not the fields. And if you believe Monsanto, they have no plans on releasing it.

At 7/27/2015 01:01:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

Thank you all for your comments on this important topic -- the food that we eat.

We hope to have more to say on all this, but appreciate everyone taking the time to comment and keep it civil.

We're all the journey of learning and we can not begin to tell you how much our journey here at TW has educated us about so much like BluRay's, PONO, hybrid vehicles or GMO's for examples.

Never stop questioning because nothing is written in stone unless...

At 7/27/2015 01:03:00 PM, Blogger said...

Conversation. Do it Neil. It's like not talking to the jihadist because they're the bad guys. Maybe the CEO of Monsanto has a hot line into Dick Cheney, but the rest of those people are just that...people. Talk. Expose. Let's hear it all put before both sides. Let's get to a better place. Don't change. Don't back down. Just talk.

At 7/27/2015 01:25:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

ps - and thanks WBKM for all you to do bring commercial free music to the people.

Definitely a lot of confusion and chaos on the subject... much of deliberate from both sides.

Where we're having the most problem right now is how it is really starting to be ingrained that "Science is the New Religion". As in, if it is in a peer reviewed journal than it is gospel. Once something becomes gospel than it can no longer be legitimately questioned. This was a major problem that was encountered back in the Dark Ages. We need a New Renaissance really soon. like now. Thanks Neil for getting that ball rolling.

Now how about Willie, John & Dave? The other farm Aid founders seem oddly silent in supporting Neil. Once again Neil is lonely out in front. But this is when the wheat gets separated from the chaff...

At 7/27/2015 08:17:00 PM, Blogger SONY said...

Don't talk about corporations hijacking all your rights!
People wanna hear about love.

Don't say Citizens United has killed democracy!
People wanna hear about love.

...if it will make them feel alright.

Tell 'em Neil. The only MF in music with balls big enough to lambast what
he sees as injustice.

Oh yeah, there was another once....he got shot to death.

Just gimmie some truth!

At 7/27/2015 08:40:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

Thanks SONY!

"The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it."
~~ George Orwell

At 7/27/2015 08:46:00 PM, Blogger Marmooskapaul said...

John Mellencamp did the Scarecrow album thirty years ago. Kind of in the same vein, but easier on the ears...

At 7/28/2015 04:30:00 AM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

'Scarecrow' has some great songs 'Monsanto' doesn't. Rain On The Scarecrow.


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