Allan Skogen

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Allan Skogen is a North Dakota grain farmer.

He is chairman of Growers for Biotechnology, a lobby group that picked up the tab for Monsanto's controversial private dinner with lawmakers in Montana - after which, the lawmakers decided to shelve a bill that would have required Monsanto and other companies to get permission from a farmer before taking a sample from their crops.[1]

Such sampling, often done by the company's representatives without first notifying farmers or asking their permission, is highly controversial. It has often been the prelude for lawsuits launched by Monsanto against farmers for alleged patent infringement regarding the company's patented GM seeds.[2]

Skogen participated in the 2008 Global Farmer to Farmer Roundtable and is a member of the Truth about Trade and Technology Global Farmer Network.

In March 2009 Skogen authored an article for Truth about Trade and Technology called "Tired of Being Left Out In the Cold"[3], in which he argued for the introduction of GM wheat. GM wheat is a crop that even big agribiz views with caution because of consumer resistance to GM crops. GM canola, soy and maize are mostly hidden in animal feed that does not have to be labeled, thus escaping much of the consumer rejection that blights GM crops destined for direct human consumption.

Skogen warns that in the 2009 growing season, with the cold wet start to the year, "Our yields could drop by as much as 40 percent". But Skogen has the answer:

What if modern science was to give us an edge? We already have the know-how. Biotechnology has transformed agriculture for farmers who grow soybeans, corn, and cotton.
Wheat farmers, however, are left out in the cold, both literally and figuratively. We not only need to shake off the chill of January, February, and March, but we also want to take full advantage of the Gene Revolution--something that we've been blocked from doing, thanks to a toxic mix of political confusion and scientific illiteracy.[4]

Bizarrely, Skogen claims "Farmers who plant biotech crops have enjoyed large increases in yield." This in spite of much independent research showing yield drag with GM herbicide resistant soybeans and GM insecticidal maize, the two major GM crops grown in the Americas.[5][6][7][8]

Interestingly, it doesn't appear to be GM crops that have saved Skogen's farm at a time when thousands of American farmers are going to the wall, but federal subsidies. According to an article in the Washington Post, despite the fact that Skogen

uses all the tools of technology and science ... in one essential respect, [he] is still deeply entrenched in the farm system of the last century... he relies heavily on checks from the federal government. Since 2000, his farm has received about $158,000 from Washington under a program that gives grain, rice and cotton farmers an annual allowance in good times and bad."[9]






  1. Kahrin Deines, "Biotech seed bill tabled by Montana senators", Associated Press, 26 March 2009
  2. Press coverage of these cases has been widespread. The issues are summarised in the Sourcewatch article "Goliath and David: Monsanto's Legal Battles against Farmers", which provides links to other articles on the subject.
  3. Allan Skogen, "Tired of Being Left Out In the Cold", Truth About Trade and Technology, March 25 2009 [via AgBioView]
  4. Allan Skogen, "Tired of Being Left Out In the Cold", Truth About Trade and Technology, March 25 2009 [via AgBioView]
  5. Evidence of the Magnitude and Consequences of the Roundup Ready Soybean Yield Drag from University-Based Varietal Trials in 1998. Benbrook C. Benbrook Consulting Services Sandpoint, Idaho. Ag BioTech InfoNet Technical Paper, Number 1, 13 Jul 1999.
  6. Glyphosate-resistant soyabean cultivar yields compared with sister lines. Elmore R.W. et al. Agronomy Journal, 93: 408-412, 2001.
  7. Development, yield, grain moisture and nitrogen uptake of Bt corn hybrids and their conventional near-isolines. Ma B.L. and Subedi K.D. Field Crops Research, 93: 199-211, 2005.
  8. The Adoption of Bioengineered Crops. US Department of Agriculture Report, May 2002.
  9. Dan Morgan, "[Farm Revolution Stops at Subsidies]", Washington Post, 3 October 2004, accessed March 26 2009