We think of Monsanto and other companies as developers and promoters of GMOs. But thanks to passage of the Federal Technology Transfer Act of 1986, as well as President Reagan’s Executive Order #12591—“Facilitating Access to Science and Technology”—the USDA is also directly in the business of developing, patenting, and promoting biotechnology inventions. The difference is that USDA slips the patents, developed from government research and paid for by US taxpayers, into the hands of private companies such as Monsanto and Syngenta.You read that right. According to the USDA’s own Agricultural Research Service (ARS), about sixty new patents are issued for USDA inventions each year. These patents are then transferred through licenses to the private sector—mostly to biotech companies. ARS has released more than 400 new crop germplasm lines since 2000, and the USDA spends about $220 million taxpayer dollars on biotechnology research each year.
Stop the crony relationship between USDA and biotech
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