An Agricultural Law Jeremiad: The Harvest Is Past, the Summer Is Ended, and Seed Is Not Saved

31 Pages Posted: 30 Jan 2014 Last revised: 1 May 2014

James Ming Chen

Michigan State University - College of Law

Date Written: January 30, 2014

Abstract

The saving of seed exerts a powerful rhetorical grip on American agricultural law and policy. Simply put, farmers want to save seed. Many farmers, and many of their advocates, believe that saving seed is essential to farming. But it is not. Farmers today often buy seed, just as they buy other agricultural inputs. That way lies the path of economic and technological progress. Seed-saving advocates protest that compelling farmers to buy seed every season effectively subjects them to a form of serfdom. So be it. Intellectual property law concerns the progress of science and the useful arts. Collateral economic and social damage, in the form of affronts to the agrarian ego, is of no valid legal concern. The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and seed is not saved.

Keywords: Seed, biotechnology, PVPA, patent, herbicide, glyphosate, Monsanto

Suggested Citation

Chen, James Ming, An Agricultural Law Jeremiad: The Harvest Is Past, the Summer Is Ended, and Seed Is Not Saved (January 30, 2014). Wisconsin Law Review, Vol. 2014, 2014; MSU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 11-29. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2387998 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2387998

James Ming Chen (Contact Author)

Michigan State University - College of Law ( email )

318 Law College Building
East Lansing, MI 48824-1300
United States

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