a re-post from the L.A. Times.
Farmers say consolidation in the industry means they’re forced to buy more costly seeds. But Monsanto, the world’s largest seed firm, says competition ‘is alive and flourishing.’
By P.J. Huffstutter, March 11, 2010
For 40 years, farmer Todd Leake and his family have battled bitter cold, hungry pests and a short growing season to coax soybeans out of their fields in eastern North Dakota.
The one thing they never had to fight for, though, was their seeds.
A decade ago, salesmen from as many as 50 seed companies would compete for their dollars. Each would promise healthier plants, richer yields or a better discount.
Today the Leakes have little choice: There are four seed companies in their area, and all sell seeds that include genetic traits patented and licensed by Monsanto Co., the world’s largest seed firm.
“There’s basically nothing else available,” said Leake, 48. “You have to use their seeds and pay their prices.”
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