Farmer Assurance Provision or Monsanto Protection Act?


The Farmer Assurance Provision is in a section of a bill (in Section 735 of US H.R. 933) that was signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 26th, 2013. This bill allows farmers to continue to grow crops while legal challenges regarding the safety of the crops are going on.

Upsets have arisen from the fact that this was slipped into a spending package that averted a government shutdown. Critics call this the Monsanto Protection Act because it doesn’t allow courts to halt the sale or planting of controversial GM seeds if health issues arise. Those against the bill believe it is harmful to allow the planting of new GM crops “while the agency conducts further review, after which time it’s likely too late to undo any harm”[3].

But supporters point out that “the legislation does not…allow farmers or seed companies to sell seeds proven to be harmful. Rather, it provides legal consistency so farmers and businesses do not get yanked one way or the other based on the temporary findings of competing court systems…” [1].

In 2010, the Center for Food Safety and some organic farmers convinced a court that GE sugar beets had environmental and health dangers (with no evidence), and a federal judge ordered all the seedlings to be pulled from the ground. GE sugar beets made up 95% of the nation’s crop and this technicality would have destroyed as much as half of America’s sugar production. The USDA ruled to allow planting of GMO sugar beets in July 2011[1].

Those in support believe that this protects farmers from such court technicalities.

Those against believe this just provides protection for Monsanto and other GM seed producers and is “a special interest loophole” [2].

What do you think? Say a new GM crop is approved and is released onto the market, but then studies find potential health risks upon consumption. What should happen during the time that GM crops are being re-evaluated? Should farmers be allowed to continue to plant and grow the GM crop if there are potential health risks? Or should they be forced to destroy their crops causing them financial harm, even if there is no actual health risk found?

Please comment with your thoughts!

1. Anon. Don’t Misrepresent the Farmer Assurance Provision. BIOtechNow [Internet]. [cited 2013 June 26]. Available from:

2. Simon M. Is Outrage Over the Monsanto Protection Act a Turning Point for the Food Movement? Huffington Post [Internet]. 2013 May 23 [cited 2013 June 26]. Available from:

3. Anon. Senator seeks to overturn so-called Monsanto Protection Act. NY Daily News [Internet]. [cited 2013 June 26]. Available from:


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