April 23, 2014

Blunt under criticism over Monsanto provision; says he supports Farm Bill (AUDIO)

Senator Roy Blunt (R) talks with the press about Monsanto.

Senator Roy Blunt (R) talks with the press about Monsanto.

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) is under criticism for inserting a provision in the Agriculture Appropriations bill that critics say directly benefits Monsanto, a major contributor to his previous campaigns. Blunt says he denies doing that.

Blunt says there are no provisions that directly benefit Monsanto in the Agriculture Appropriations bill, which has been approved by Congress. Blunt says, however, there is a different provision on the bill that benefits farming families.

Blunt says the provision would protect farm families in the instance that they plant a crop the U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved and said is legal to plant.

“What we’ve had in the country in the last few years is a couple of big cases,” he says. “One on alfalfa, one on sugar beets where the USDA would approve a crop, farm families all over the country would plant that crop and then some federal judge somewhere would say, ‘I think that needs more study,’ so you can’t harvest that crop, you can’t sell that crop.”

Blunt says in both cases, higher federal courts eventually reversed the decisions by federal judges, saying that if a crop was legal to plant it should have been able to sell.

He says the Soybean Association, the Farm Bureau and the Corn Growers Association believe a provision should be in place in order to benefit farming families.

President Obama signed it into law two weeks ago.

AUDIO: Mary Farucci reports. (1:03)