Monsanto Canada will never go after farmers who have their fields accidentally contaminated with the company’s Roundup Ready Canola, a company spokeswoman says. “It is and always has been Monsanto’s belief that (Percy) Schmeiser knowingly and deliberately misappropriated its Roundup Ready technology,” said Trish Jordan, the company’s public affairs officer. Schmeiser, a farmer from Bruno, Sask., told a Red Deer audience this week that the agri-chemical giant is suing him because his field was accidentally contaminated with Roundup Ready Canola seeds. He claimed the seeds blew out of a passing truck. Schmeiser also told the Advocate the contamination was found to be from zero to eight per cent, depending on the field. But in fact, Federal Court records show canola samples gathered from Schmeiser’s fields were found to be up to 98 per cent resistant to the chemical herbicide Roundup. Testing on 27 samples was done by scientists at the University of Saskatchewan, at Monsanto’s request, and University of Manitoba at Schmeiser’s request. Federal Court Justice Andrew McKay reviewed the sample results in 2001 and ruled Schmeiser “knew or ought to have known” that the seed he planted was Roundup tolerant and was therefore infringing Monsanto’s Roundup Ready patented technology. Jordan noted three judges from a federal appeal court later upheld McKay’s ruling. “Mr. Schmeiser is free to say whatever he wants, but two federal courts found him not believable.” While the farmer told the Advocate he fears other grain growers with accidental field contamination could be similarly sued, Jordan said Monsanto does not have a history of dragging farmers to court. She said there were only two cases in Monsanto’s history in which court action was pursued against farmers believed to be stealing the company’s “intellectual property.” Jordan said one farmer chose to settle out of court, while Schmeiser didn’t want to accept that option. “We’re not interested in pursuing accidental cases of contamination, whether it be from pollen flow or wind,” she said. When farmers are interested in growing Roundup Ready Canola, Jordan said the company levels with them about their payment and contractual obligations before they sign up. “If they are uncomfortable, they can choose another technology. There are some 200 different canola varieties.”