From Rural UPdates
June 17, 2001
North Dakota Commissioner of Agriculture Roger Johnson has publicly criticized Monsanto for its lawsuit against the Nelson family, whom the biotech giant alleges violated their contract for Roundup Ready soybeans (see Rural Updates, June 6, 2001). In a June 11 letter to the Grand Forks Herald, Johnson questions Monsanto's motives, in light of the company's cancellation of their scheduled appearance before the North Dakota Seed Arbitration Board to state their case. Mr. Johnson's letter comes as a response to a Monsanto letter stating that the company "would prefer to resolve disputes of this sort without going to court..." If that was really the case, states Johnson, why did Monsanto decide against arbitration, which might have kept the case out of court? All this "raises strong suspicion that the company wants this lawsuit very much," writes Johnson. "It is unfortunate that Monsanto chose not to present its case at a legislatively created forum in North Dakota, instead opting for a potentially lengthy and expensive resolution in federal court. It would have demonstrated that the company wants to deal with its customers in a forthright manner."
Commissioner Johnson's editorial is available at http://web.northscape.com/content/gfherald/2001/06/11/editorial/JOHNSON611.html