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New Florida law leaves CRDF’s Monsanto-Bayer GMO venture in a rut

A new Florida state law could strip Monsanto-Bayer from profiting from the millions of dollars that CRDF has poured into the conglomerate for genetically modified citrus.

The law, which modifies the Florida Citrus Commission, mandates that “any new variety of citrus fruit which is developed as a result of any research or study accomplished using any percentage of funds from the State Treasury as well as any technology that enhances the marketability of new or current citrus fruit varieties” be offered exclusively to the Florida Citrus Commission and Department of Citrus for up to eight years. Citrus Industry has the story.

That’s bad news for Bayer and its friends.

CRDF has been under fire for its tight relations with the German multinational and for pursuing GMO citrus resistant to HLB/citrus greening – a scheme that would take many years to develop and cause the extermination of Florida’s natural citrus industry.

Monsanto-Bayer didn’t see enough money in it for them, and held CRDF hostage, threatening to back out unless the organization, under Rick Dantzler’s leadership, came up with more cash.

Any understanding there might have been that Bayer would profit from Florida taxpayer-funded breakthroughs is now pushed out the door.

Any new citrus varieties or related technologies developed with Florida tax dollars “must be made available exclusively to the Florida Citrus Commission for commercial licensing for 90 days before being up to other licensees. Should the commission use that exclusive license, it must retain exclusive use for eight years,” according to Citrus Industry.

Dantzler had praised the unproven Monsanto-Bayer GMO as “kryptonite” against citrus greening, going so far as to discuss a campaign to convince people that genetically mutated oranges were still real Florida oranges, but conceded that a GMO development would be “many, many years away.”