Percy Schmeiser, farmer made famous by legal battle with Monsanto, dies at 89

Percy Field
Percy Schmeiser

Percy Schmeiser, a Saskatchewan farmer who became famous during his legal battle with biotech giant Monsanto, has died. John Schmeiser said his father died quietly [October 13] at the age of 89. He had Parkinson’s disease, his son said Wednesday.

Percy Schmeiser, who was from Bruno, Sask., came into the spotlight in the late 1990s after he was sued and taken to court by Monsanto for using its genetically modified canola seeds without a licence.

He denied intentionally using the company’s herbicide-resistant Roundup Ready seeds, saying they could have blown over from a neighbor’s farm or passing trucks.

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The case went to the Supreme Court of Canada, which ruled that he infringed on Monsanto’s patent but did not have to pay damages to the company.

His death comes days after a movie about his life, simply called Percy, was released.

Schmeiser’s story has also been controversial. Some in the agriculture industry have criticized the Percy trailer on social media, saying it contains inaccuracies, including its depiction of Schmeiser as innocent.

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