Thursday, January 30, 2014

An Agricultural Law Jeremiad: The Harvest Is Past, the Summer Is Ended, and Seed Is Not Saved

James Ming Chen, An Agricultural Law Jeremiad: The Harvest Is Past, the Summer Is Ended, and Seed Is Not Saved, 2014 Wisconsin Law Review (forthcoming), available at or

SoybeansThe saving of seed exerts a powerful rhetorical grip on American agricultural law and policy. Simply put, farmers want to save seed. Many farmers, and many of their advocates, believe that saving seed is essential to farming. But it is not. Farmers today often buy seed, just as they buy other agricultural inputs. That way lies the path of economic and technological evolution in agriculture. Seed-saving advocates protest that compelling farmers to buy seed every season effectively subjects them to a form of serfdom. So be it. Intellectual property law concerns the progress of science and the useful arts. Collateral economic and social damage, in the form of affronts to the agrarian ego, is of no valid legal concern. The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and seed is not saved.


Blogger Unknown said...

Sort of a silly commentary. Very unacademic and myopic. There is more to science than test tubes, heisted research, and purchased scientific opinion my friend. Science today is not quite what it used to be. Some great things have happened, and some not so great. I am a 70 year old chemical engineer. Science is much like nuclear fission. It is an immense source of energy. It is almost unsurpassable as far as input/output efficiency ratio, yet the byproduct/waste, a collateral constant, is equally unsurpassable with regards being an enduring menace with million year half lives. Sometimes I lament in the fact that my three year old granddaughter acts more responsibly than do several of the so called hotshots in my scientific community. Science in the hands of a profit mongering corporation does not always assure progress. Any Scientist will tell you that.

3/22/2014 12:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd agree with Chris Eddy's comment, except I would omit the words "Sort of" before "A silly commentary." The loss of so many varieties of vegetables, and the tastelessness of those we have left belies the "advancement" of agriculture this article applauds.

4/05/2014 6:57 PM  

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