Anonymous tipsters often prompt Monsanto farm investigations

Critics of Monsanto - and they are legion - demonize the company for seizing control of food production technology and undermining the tradition of seed-saving in agriculture. Monsanto's agents - called the "seed police" by some farmers - arrive on a farmer's doorstep when they get a tip about cheating or when their figures show that a farmer hasn't bought enough seed to account for all of the crop he is harvesting. That's how the lawsuit in the U.S. Supreme Court involving Monsanto patent rights began. Vernon Hugh Bowman says the Monsanto agents who arrive at his southwest Indiana farm seven years ago were polite and inquisitive. But Bowman was insistent he was doing nothing wrong.

Supreme Court to hear soybean case

The U.S. Supreme Court has set the stage for a David vs. Goliath confrontation pitting a 74-year-old Indiana farmer against Monsanto Co., the genetic engineering giant. The court agreed on the first day of this year’s term to hear Vernon Hugh Bowman’s challenge to the reach of Monsanto claims for its lucrative patent on Roundup Ready seeds.