Neil Young took on the corporation Monsanto, which manufactures genetically engineered seeds for agriculture, on his recent record The Monsanto Years. Now he has released a 10-minute short, Seeding Fear, which tells the story of a farmer named Michael White, who with his father Wayne, took on the corporation in court. The film was released by Shakey Pictures and co-executive-produced by “Bernard Shakey,” Young’s pseudonym.
“The film I would like you to see tells the story of a farming family in America, but the same thing is happening around the world,” Young wrote, under his own name, in a statement. “It is a story that takes 10 minutes of your time to see. It is a simple human one, telling the heartbreaking story of one man who fought the corporate behemoth Monsanto, and it illustrates why I was moved to write The Monsanto Years. The film presents a rare opportunity to hear from the source as Mr. White is one of only four farmers who is still legally allowed to speak about his case as all the others have been effectively silenced.”
Monsanto sued the Whites for patent infringement, accusing Wayne decades after he stopped farming. “It destroyed his life,” Michael says of his father in the film. “He went to his grave – this grave – still afraid of [Monsanto].” The farmer later adds, “It’s pretty hard to take your 80-something-year-old father to federal court on a walker when he’s falsely accused by a big corporation.” The clip closes with Young’s song “Monsanto Years.”
Following the publication of this article, a rep for Monsanto told Rolling Stone, “Mr. White is not transparent in describing his actions or the situation. He actually admitted to knowingly planting, producing, saving, cleaning and selling Roundup Ready soybeans illegally. All of this information is available in court documents.” Read the company’s full statement here.
Young timed the release of the video to a vote taking place in the House of Representatives, the proposed Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015. If passed, it would allow food companies to decide whether or not to label products as containing genetically modified ingredients. “The dark act takes away the rights of those people to vote for or against things like GMO labeling in their states,” Young wrote. “It does seem ironic. If the act is passed, it will truly be a dark day for America.”
In other Young news, the singer recently announced he was planning on pulling his catalog form all music-streaming sites. And he recently asked a group of Apache activists to open for him and speak out against a mining-industry land-grab, on a New Jersey date of his Rebel Content Tour. “It’s been pretty awesome to be up on stage and look out and see so many people supporting us, yelling for us,” Nizhoni Pike, of the organization Apache Stronghold, recently told Rolling Stone. “And we know some of his songs. We’ve been singing along!”