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Canadian farmers weigh in on Monsanto case

Canadian farmers weigh in on Monsanto case

A California man won a US$289-million verdict against he chemistry manufacturer

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Canada’s ag industry is offering its insights after an American court case ruling linked to a popular crop protection product.

Farmers are questioning the merit behind a San Francisco County Superior Court jury’s decision to award DeWayne Johnson, a groundskeeper, US$289 million from Monsanto. Johnson sued Monsanto claiming exposure to glyphosate caused his non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Monsanto plans to appeal the decision, Reuters reported.

Several studies indicate that Monsanto’s glyphosate product isn’t carcinogenic but others suggest glyphosate could be linked to cancer.

Farmers question whether the jury in the Johnson case used science-based information to reach its decision or if it acted based on social perception.

“I think that’s something everybody should be scared of, because in this application, however you feel about Monsanto and RoundUp, if we apply that same philosophy that courts don’t have to use science and evidence to make rulings, then that’s a very dangerous place for society,” Jeff Nonay, owner of Lakeside Dairy in Legal, Alta., told Global News Tuesday.

Since the jury’s ruling Friday, other Canadian farmers have come out in support of science and recognized the need for different conversations.

Lesley Kelly, a Saskatchewan canola producer and blogger on the High Heels & Canola Fields site, posted a letter to Johnson. She suggests a need for change in how farmers and non-farmers interact.

“This is about farmers and the ag industry knowing that we have to do things differently,” she wrote. “I don’t know what that is just yet but I want to learn and have those conversations with you to figure this out.”

Kelly also invited Johnson to her farm and indicated she would spend time with him in San Francisco.

Adrienne Ivey, an Ituna, Sask. rancher who runs the View From The Ranch Porch blog, wrote about a mother watching her children walk through a field sprayed with glyphosate. She was the mother.

“Her university education and science background taught her that a field previously sprayed with glyphosate held no more toxicity for her children than a field sprayed with salt water, which actually has a higher toxicity level,” she posted.

Last year, Health Canada deemed glyphosate safe when used according to the label.

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