Monsanto says Erie farmers didn't violate seed agreement

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A day after an attorney filed a federal complaint accusing two Erie-area farmers of violating Monsanto Co.'s patents, the agrichemical firm announced Thursday that the accusation was made in error.

The two farmers, Harold V. Wiser and Steve Wiser, may owe money for seeds for corn, soybean and wheat products they received in recent years, according to a statement issued by Monsanto. But they are no longer accused of violating their agreement not to use seeds saved from plants grown from Monsanto's genetically engineered kernels.

"The filing was submitted by a third-party vendor and mistakenly included a claim for patent infringement and named Monsanto as the plaintiff. The filing will be amended today," the company's statement said.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh, and then transferred to Erie, said the farmers bought Monsanto's wheat, soybean and corn seeds. The seeds are genetically engineered to be resistant to Monsanto's pesticides. Monsanto bars farmers from saving a portion of their harvest of such plants and replanting them in subsequent years, which is otherwise a time-honored farming practice.

Rich Lord: or 412-263-1542.


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