Neil Young’s campaign against Monsanto is not over

Neil Young, after his album of complaint, The Monsanto Years, returns to the attack of the agrochemical multinational company with a mini-documentary “Seeding Fear”.

On 16th June, there was released Neil Young’s latest album, The Monsanto Years, an obvious complaint against the agrochemical giant, leader in the production of genetically modified seeds and pesticides. But his campaign is not over. Since a few days, a ten-minute documentary entitled Seeding Fear and produced by the Canadian singer was released.



The film was directed by Craig Jackson and realised by the Shakey Pictures, a film production company owned by Neil Young himself. It tells the story of an old Alabamian farmer, sued in 2003 by Monsanto for using GM soy beans patented by the multinational company.


The short documentary retraces the story of the farmer’s son Michael White – already told in the book Seeds of reprisal: Monsanto vs Michael White – to assert the rights of the American farmers sued by Monsanto for copyright infringement.


Michael White in the documentary says:

It’s pretty hard to take your 80-something father to federal court on a walker when he’s falsely accused by a big corporation. Your opposition is a bunch of bunny rabbit lawyers wearing a $1,000 suit. Suing a man that went to war for the freedom for some scumbags to misuse.



Even after the lawsuit was over, I couldn’t make him believe it was over. He would cry and keep saying, ‘Oh, they’re going to come back and sue me again’. It destroyed him. It destroyed his life. He went to his grave still afraid of Monsanto.


Neil Young himself launched his documentary in his Facebook page with these words:

Monsanto is a corporation with great wealth, now controlling over 90 percent of soybean and corn growth in America. Family farms have been replaced by giant agri corp farms (…). It is a story that takes 10 minutes of your time to see. It is a simple human one, telling the heartbreaking story of one man who fought the corporate behemoth Monsanto, and it illustrates why I was moved to write ‘The Monsanto Years’.


A Message From Neil Young -As I write this, the dark act is up for a vote in the House of Representatives;…

Posted by Neil Young on Thursday, 23 July 2015


But Monsanto’s official answer was not long in coming. An attorney of the multinational company – through a public notice to the American magazine Rolling Stone – rejects White’s and Young’s accusations claiming that Mr White is not transparent in describing what happened: White admitted to consciously planting, producing, saving and selling Roundup Ready soybeans illegally and that his words are accompanied by lawsuit documents, adding:

Although they have tended to get a lot of attention, lawsuits between us and farmers who plant seeds without paying for them are actually very rare. Every year, hundreds of thousands of farmers plant our seeds. Since 1997, when we started trying to protect the patents on our seeds, we have gone to trial with a fraction of one percent of those customers. (…)Mr. White’s actions are equivalent to pirating an album, producing thousands of copies and selling bootleg copies – all while knowing what you’re doing is illegal and that it will result in criminal charges if caught.


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