American Soybean Association (ASA) President and Canton, Miss.-based soybean farmer Danny Murphy welcomed the Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling today in Bowman v. Monsanto. The court’s 9-0 ruling expresses support for the protection of intellectual property. Murphy commented on the case’s broad implications for agricultural innovation: “By ruling unanimously in favor of maintaining the integrity of intellectual property laws, the Supreme Court has ensured that America’s soybean farmers, of which Mr. Bowman is one, can continue to rely on the technological innovation that has pushed American agriculture to the forefront of the effort to feed a global population projected to pass 9 billion by 2050.
“Revolutions in seed science have enabled soybean farmers to produce more food, feed, fiber and fuel with significantly reduced strain on resources. Without the protection of intellectual property that the court reaffirmed today, the companies on whom my fellow soybean farmers and I rely would have no real incentive to make the investments necessary to develop new soybean varieties that yield more, resist disease, weeds, and pests, are drought tolerant, or have improved nutritional profiles.
“Intellectual property protection sparked a sea change in investments by public and private seed breeders into improved seeds for soybeans and other crops. The Supreme Court’s decision today recognized that if you take away the incentive for those entities to strive for a better seed, they won’t make those investments and farmers eventually won’t have the benefits of improved seeds.”