Black Farmers Deliberately Sold Bad Seeds

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Whatever4
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Black Farmers Deliberately Sold Bad Seeds

#1

Post by Whatever4 » Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:09 pm

Black farmers were deliberately sold ‘fake seeds’ in scheme to steal their land: report
Black farmers in the Mid-South region surrounding Memphis used science to uncover a multi-million scheme to put them out of business and steal their farmland, WMC News reported Tuesday.

At the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show show in March of 2017, African-American farmers believe that Stine Seed Company purposefully sold them fake seeds.

Thomas Burrell, president of the Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association, explained how black farmers were receiving one-tenth of the yield as their white neighbors.

“Mother nature doesn’t discriminate,” Burrell said. “It doesn’t rain on white farms but not black farms. Insects don’t [only] attack black farmers’ land…why is it then that white farmers are buying Stine seed and their yield is 60, 70, 80, and 100 bushels of soybeans and black farmers who are using the exact same equipment with the exact same land, all of a sudden, your seeds are coming up 5, 6, and 7 bushels?”

The results were so stark, resulting in millions of dollars in losses, the farmers took their seeds for scientific testing by experts at Mississippi State University.

The tests revealed the black farmers had not been given the quality “certified” Stine seeds for which they had paid. :snippity:
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More at the link. https://www.rawstory.com/2018/07/black- ... nd-report/


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Whatever4
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Re: Black Farmers Deliberately Sold Bad Seeds

#2

Post by Whatever4 » Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:29 pm



"[Moderate] doesn't mean you don't have views. It just means your views aren't predictable ideologically one way or the other, and you're trying to follow the facts where they lead and reach your own conclusions."
-- Sen. King (R-ME)

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TollandRCR
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Re: Black Farmers Deliberately Sold Bad Seeds

#3

Post by TollandRCR » Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:38 pm

Absolutely gross. People should go to jail for this. Monetary damages too. Stine Seed Co. specifically advertised the yield of its crops.


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Sugar Magnolia
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Re: Black Farmers Deliberately Sold Bad Seeds

#4

Post by Sugar Magnolia » Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:41 pm

I hope the farmers take every penny of their money, and get to see some of it before they all die of old age.

My friend Julian just wrote a book (Catfish Dream) about a Black farmer in the Delta who dealt with a whole raft of shit similar to that.



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Re: Black Farmers Deliberately Sold Bad Seeds

#5

Post by AndyinPA » Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:45 pm

At first, I was a little shocked at this in this day and age, but that didn't last long. This is appalling.



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Re: Black Farmers Deliberately Sold Bad Seeds

#6

Post by TollandRCR » Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:46 pm

Racism lives.


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Re: Black Farmers Deliberately Sold Bad Seeds

#7

Post by DejaMoo » Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:12 pm

My previous career was working for a small seed company. Providing guaranteed true-to-variety seed is of critical importance, because farmers often have growing contracts requiring them to plant specified varieties. If the field scout determines they aren't growing the specific type of, say, bean, the contract for their crop is void. And now the farmer is stuck trying to sell his harvest on the open market for whatever he can get, when he'd previously had a solid contract for a specified price.

Stine Seed is based in Iowa. The farmers are alleging that a company rep promoted certain Stine soybean strains as being compatible with Southern growing conditions. He them sold them the seed on credit, financed by Stine. They further allege that the rep did not sell them actual Stine certified seed, but seeds purchased elsewhere, which were then placed inside Stine seed bags. The rep badgered them to permit him to treat the seeds (for legume crops like soybeans, this is a nitrogen-fixing bacterial inoculant designed to boost the plants' growth and yield).

That's where I smell a rat, because typically the treatment is done at the processing level. You order your bulk seed, you tell your rep exactly what you want. For example, when ordering seed corn, you don't just pick the variety, you tell us whether you want the "rounds" or the "flats". The shape and size of the seed varies from different parts of the ear, and you select the size and shape that works best with your planting machine. If you want your seeds treated, you specify that, too - and what kind of treatment - inoculant for leguminous seed, hot-water treatment for cruciferous seed, maybe an antifungal treatment to minimize seed rot in cold, wet soils. We then deliver exactly what you want, in sealed bags. I've never heard of a seed company doing post-production seed treatments. Why bother? If the farmer changed his mind after placing the order, just sell him the treatment and let him apply it himself. (We did that, too.) But by doing a post-sale treatment for the farmers, this rep had a plausible explanation for why they received their seed in bags that had already been opened.

The two possibilities that come to my mind are that this rep saw an opportunity to swindle a bunch of farmers by selling them cheap seed, which he packaged in Stine sacks and hoped to improve its yield by actually treating it with a legit treatment after the fact. In that case, the motive would've been simply for him to line his pockets at their expense. The other possibility is more sinister: was the seed company involved, too? What were those seeds treated with? Was it, perhaps, a treatment designed to reduce germination and yield, thus forcing the farmers into a financial crisis where they owed Stine Seed money they couldn't pay, giving the company a chance to grab some or all of their land?

Although Stine and its owner don't sound like the most ethical types, I'm gonna go with Occam's Razor here and assume it was just the rep looking to rip off a bunch of (he thought) black hick southern farmers for his personal gain. Even so, him being the company's rep, they're in this, too. They can't allow this to happen, and if that's what did happen, they have to make good. Whether their billionaire owner feels that way I don't know (doubtful, or it wouldn't have gotten this far).

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Re: Black Farmers Deliberately Sold Bad Seeds

#8

Post by Whatever4 » Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:14 pm

One of the best things about Fogbow is that we have people with expertise on practically everything!

:grouphug:


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Re: Black Farmers Deliberately Sold Bad Seeds

#9

Post by Sam the Centipede » Wed Jul 11, 2018 3:16 am

Who would have thought that the seed business would be so complex? Whoops, sorry for channeling the OSG; what I meant was thank you DejaMoo! That was a really interesting and informative insight.

I wondered whether it might be simply a racist aiming to stick it to black farmers on (what he saw as) white men's land, but it seems overly convoluted for nastiness alone to be the driver.

Is there a way it could be a scam for the rep to pass off cheap seeds obtained from an illicit source by putting them in Stine bags? But that seems tricky: presumably seed bags have batch, variety, treatment etc. information on them so using old bags (perhaps rescued from a planter) wouldn't do.

I am intrigued to hear the full story when it comes out.



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Re: Black Farmers Deliberately Sold Bad Seeds

#10

Post by DejaMoo » Wed Jul 11, 2018 10:09 am

Sam the Centipede wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 3:16 am
Is there a way it could be a scam for the rep to pass off cheap seeds obtained from an illicit source by putting them in Stine bags? But that seems tricky: presumably seed bags have batch, variety, treatment etc. information on them so using old bags (perhaps rescued from a planter) wouldn't do.
According to the complaint, the farmers received the seed in Stine bags that had already been opened. As I noted previously, the seed company rep's offer to treat the seeds after purchase would provide him with an explanation for why the bags had been opened before delivery to the farmers. The bags had the required labeling attached, but the labels were enclosed in plastic instead of being directly attached (usually sewn into a seam) as is typical. Having the labels in plastic bags or seals would make it simple to substitute the original labels with doctored labels.

Further, the farmers say they submitted samples of the allegedly defective/mislabeled seed to a university lab for germination testing, which confirmed their claim of very poor (essentially zero) rates of germination. The complaint says the company had previously asked the farmers to return leftover seed to them, which is again unusual - and the farmers knew it. You buy the seed, you own it. The seed company has no claim on unused seed.

I did the germination testing at the company I worked at. People assume - almost always wrongly - that if their seeds fail to sprout, the seed is defective/mislabeled. Actually, the law requires us to test seed for germination and then record the observed percentage - and we don't test in the field, we test inside the lab or greenhouse, under ideal conditions. So it's perfectly feasible that seed with a confirmed high germination percentage could substantially or completely fail in the field, depending on variables such as soil temperature/moisture levels, weather conditions, depth of planting, etc.

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I am intrigued to hear the full story when it comes out.
You can download and read the complaint here.



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Re: Black Farmers Deliberately Sold Bad Seeds

#11

Post by Sam the Centipede » Wed Jul 11, 2018 10:25 pm

Thanks DM! The complaint tells an interesting and disturbing story, even on my quick reading.

I find it convincing and await the defendants' attempts to explain away such clear pointers to a criminal conspiracy which, I feel, should end up with some people facing time working on prison farms.

I cannot evaluate the particular evidence but I like the way the plaintiffs point to indications of dishonest tampering, such as the unusual way the bags were opened. They also explain that the labeling of seed bags with papers inside ziplock envelopes was open to abuse by unscrupulous people.

This affair is disgusting and nasty and, if true, I wish the worst on the perpetrators.



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