Gary Rinehart has been quoted in several articles as saying that Monsanto investigators approached him in his store in Missouri for no cause and threatened him. Articles have characterized Rinehart as “incredulous” that Monsanto would approach him as he is neither a farm owner nor a seed dealer.
Gary Rinehart was indeed approached by Monsanto investigators in response to a report of patent infringement. The investigators had seen unmarked, brown-bagged seed (generally indicative of saved seed) delivered to a couple of fields. When asked whom they should talk to about the farm, Gary Rinehart’s son, Jeremy, directed them to see his father at the store he operates. When investigators approached him at the store, Gary Rinehart acknowledged that he sharecropped with his brother. He was otherwise uncooperative. He became angry, attracting the attention of others in the store, prompting Monsanto’s representatives to leave. They were there for less than two minutes.
With the knowledge that there was saved seed on the property, and his statement that he sharecropped that property, Monsanto filed suit against Gary Rinehart. We had attempted to discuss the matter with him in the store, but he was uncooperative. Lawsuits are a legal, and often the only, option available when one party in a dispute is uncooperative.
As part of the lawsuit, Monsanto attorneys filed an affidavit stating that investigators had observed Gary Rinehart driving a pickup truck used to transport the saved seed. Gary Rinehart refuted this allegation. We conceded this point and determined that his nephew, Tim, was the person who planted the saved seed on Gary Rinehart’s land. We dismissed the case against Gary Rinehart.
Monsanto eventually reached an agreement to settle the case with Tim Rinehart, his brother’s son. The settlement involved Tim Rinehart agreeing to settle on the seed that he had planted. Interestingly, Tim Rinehart never followed through with the agreed settlement. The matter with Tim Rinehart remains unfulfilled to this day. Monsanto has not collected one cent and this farming operation remains unlicensed to use this technology.