|Percy Schmeiser in Stuttgart (2008);|
|MLA for Watrous|
1967 – 1971
|Preceded by||Hans Broten|
|Succeeded by||Donald Cody|
|Born||January 5, 1931 (age 82)|
|Political party||Saskatchewan Liberal Party|
Percy Schmeiser (born January 5, 1931) is a farmer from Bruno, Saskatchewan, Canada. He specializes in breeding and growing canola. He became an international symbol and spokesperson for independent farmers' rights and the regulation of transgenic crops during his protracted legal battle with agrichemical company Monsanto Company. He was the subject of the 2009 film David Versus Monsanto.
Monsanto v. Schmeiser 
In 1997, Percy Schmeiser found Monsanto's genetically modified “Roundup Ready Canola” plants growing near his farm. He testified that he sprayed his nearby field and found that much of the crop survived, meaning it was also Roundup Ready. He testified that he then harvested that crop, saved it separately from his other harvest, and intentionally planted it in 1998. Monsanto approached him to pay a license fee for using Monsanto's patented technology without a license. Schmeiser refused, claiming that the actual seed was his because it was grown on his land, and so Monsanto sued Schmeiser for patent infringement.
For the next several years, the case traveled through the Canadian court system. Meanwhile, Schmeiser became an international symbol and spokesman for the movement against the genetic engineering of food. He accepted speaking engagements, and received donations for his defense fund, from around the world. Ultimately, a Supreme Court 5-4 ruling found partly in favor of Monsanto, because Schmeiser had intentionally replanted the seed that he had saved.
The publicity around the case focused on whether Monsanto would be held responsible for “genetic engineering crop contamination”. This issue was, in explicit fact, not considered by the courts. The patent infringement finding was based solely on the determination that Schmeiser had collected crossbred seeds, and then replanted and harvested them the next year. No punitive damages, costs of the technology use fee, or legal fees were awarded to Monsanto, as the Supreme Court also ruled 9-0 in Schmeiser's favor that his profits were exactly the same with or without the presence of the Roundup Ready Canola.
Schmeiser v. Monsanto 
On August 11, 1999, Schmeiser sued Monsanto for ten million dollars for "libel, trespass, and contamination of his fields with Roundup Ready Canola". However, that suit went nowhere.
In 2005, more Roundup Ready Canola plants appeared in Schmeiser's fields. Schmeiser and his wife sent Monsanto a bill for $660 in cleanup costs. Monsanto offered to pay the costs with the stipulation that the Schmeisers sign a release stating they would not discuss the terms of the agreement; Percy described this release as a gag order. Schmeiser refused to sign, and filed a lawsuit in small claims court for the same amount. On March 19, 2008 Monsanto settled out of court, paying the $660 without stipulation.
Other accomplishments 
Schmeiser served as mayor of Bruno from 1966 to 1983, and also as member of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan for the Watrous constituency for the Liberal Party of Saskatchewan from 1967 to 1971. Schmeiser has served as a town councillor of Bruno since 2003 and currently serves as the deputy mayor.
Schmeiser was the recipient of the Merit Award for Dealer of the Year in 1984 by the Saskatchewan Manitoba Implement Dealers Association. He was appointed to Saskatchewan's Real Estate Commission in 1993 and served until 1999. In 2000, he received the Mahatma Gandhi Award for working for the good of mankind in a non-violent way. In 2007, Percy Schmeiser and Louise Schmeiser were named winners of the Right Livelihood Award:
... for their courage in defending biodiversity and farmers' rights, and challenging the environmental and moral perversity of current interpretations of patent laws.
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Now, at 70, I am involved with this fight with Monsanto. I stood up to them because a farmer should never give up the right to use his own seed. I felt very strongly about it because my grandparents came here from Europe in late 1890s and early 1900s to open this land, to be free, and to grow what they wanted to grow. Now we are going back to a feudal system that they left because they were not free—basically we are becoming serfs of the land.
Farmers should be concerned about this judgment as they now may lose their ability to continue with this practice. I believe that this ruling is an injustice and Parliament must act to ensure that farmers' rights are protected. The playing field between farmer rights and the bio-tech companies rights has been tilted towards the companies with this decision.
I have always campaigned on the right of a farmer to save and re-use his own seed. This is what I have been doing for the last 50 years. I will continue to support any efforts to strengthen the rights of a farmer to save and re-use his own seed.
- "Journeyman Pictures : documentaries : David Vs Monsanto". Journeyman.tv. Retrieved 2012-11-25.
- Federal court of Canada. Monsanto Canada Inc. v. Schmeiser Date: 20010329 Docket: T-1593-98 Retrieved November 25, 2012.
- Canadian Supreme Court Decision
- Hartley, Matt (2008-03-20). "Grain Farmer Claims Moral Victory in Seed Battle Against Monsanto". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2009-11-16.
- [dead link]
- "Right Livelihood Award: 2007 - Percy & Louise Schmeiser". Rightlivelihood.org. Retrieved 2007-10-03.
- "Monsanto vs Schmeiser". Percyschmeiser.com. Retrieved 2012-11-25.
Further reading 
- CBC News Online (May 21, 2004). "Indepth: Genetic Modification - Percy Schmeiser's battle". CBC.ca. Retrieved November 25, 2012.
- Cluis, Corinne (2011). "Rounding up the Schmeiser Case: Benefit and Liability Issues of Transgenic Crops". The Science Creative Quarterly (6). Retrieved November 25, 2012.
- "Percy Schmeiser vs Monsanto: The Story of a Canadian Farmer’s Fight to Defend the Rights of Farmers and the Future of Seeds". Democracy Now!. September 17, 2010. Retrieved November 25, 2012.