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Pesticide Contamination Constitutes Illegal Trespass

Pesticide Contamination Constitutes Illegal Trespass

According to this article, the Minnesota Court of Appeals recently ruled in favor of Oluf Johnson, an organic farmer who sued the Paynesville Farmers Union Cooperative Oil Co. because pesticides sprayed on its crops contaminated his fields.  The court ruled that the drifting of pesticides onto Johnson’s farm constituted trespass.

This victory is potentially very meaningful, if it is used as a precedent in cases involving GMO crops. Every time Monsanto genetically alters a seed, it patents that seed.  That patent allows it to sue any farmer whose crops are contaminated by its seeds – even if that farmer doesn’t want the GMO seeds and has not intentionally planted them – claiming the farmer has violated Monsanto’s patent.

However, this ruling could lay the groundwork for organic farmers to claim that the drifting of GMO seeds onto their property, like pesticides, is trespass.  It is not organic farmers who violate Monsanto’s rights, but quite the opposite.

The ruling could give victimized farmers a vehicle for claiming damages.  What’s more, due to the fact that, when GMO seeds are planted, it is inevitable that they will be wafted onto neighboring farms, it could give courts the legal grounds for preventing Monsanto from continuing to plant GMO fields, at least in certain locations.  If GMO crops are planted close enough to non-GMO farms that planting them necessarily leads to illegal trespass, then surely it must be illegal for Monsanto to plant in such locations.  It seems sometimes that Monsanto always wins when it goes to court, but this ruling appears to be a step in the right direction.

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Read more: Conscious Consumer, Food, Health, Nature, , ,

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Sarah Cooke

Sarah Cooke is a writer living in California. She is interested in organic food and green living. Sarah holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Naropa University, an M.A. in Humanities from NYU, and a B.A. in Political Science from Loyola Marymount University. She has written for a number of publications, and she studied Pastry Arts at the Institute for Culinary Education. Her interests include running, yoga, baking, and poetry. Read more on her blog.


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11:41AM PST on Dec 15, 2012

Thank you Sarah, for Sharing this!

This is exactly what the Farmers who lost their Farms to Montsanto, should do. Remember, Montsanto Claimed that because the Wind blew the Seeds into the other Farms and their GMO Crops were growing there, that the Farmer was Guilty of Infringing on their Patent. In the first place, the GMO's Contaminated the Crops and, because Montsanto Allowed their Seeds to go onto the neighboring Farms, they should also be Guilty of Illegal Trespass.

10:19AM PST on Nov 10, 2012

Of course it's trespass but can the scientists tracking the national butterfly (the Monarch, which is ALSO the California STATE butterfly) sue Monsanto if it's products contaminate the food supply of the Monarch Butterfly enough to throw out the Monarchls breeding cycle?

12:27AM PST on Nov 9, 2012


8:33AM PDT on Mar 21, 2012

thanks for helping foster hope by sharing this news!

5:42AM PDT on Mar 21, 2012

Thanks for the article.

5:58PM PST on Feb 26, 2012


5:51PM PST on Feb 26, 2012

Cheers and justice to Mother Nature!

7:38AM PST on Feb 26, 2012

thank you

11:33PM PST on Feb 25, 2012

YES!!!..Another victory!!! Keep signing every petition you can find against Monsanto!!!Thankyou!!

4:44AM PST on Feb 24, 2012

Farmers working together on the trasspass suits would work better with some farmers.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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