© The Watchers
Agrichemical giant Monsanto Co. today filed a federal lawsuit against two Erie-area farmers, accusing them of planting seed saved from plants grown from the company's genetically engineered products.

According to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh, farmers Harold Wiser, of Carlton, and Steve Wiser, of Girard, bought Monsanto's wheat, soybean and corn seeds. The seeds are genetically engineered to be resistant to Monsanto's pesticides, which "will cause severe injury or death to varieties that do not contain the [pesticide-resistance] technology."

The farmers had signed an agreement in 2003 outlining how the seeds could be used. Not authorized: Saving seeds from plants grown from the Monsanto products, and planting them the next year.

That, though, is what the Wisers did in 2009 and 2010, Monsanto alleged in the lawsuit. That practice infringes on the company's patent, the complaint contended.

Monsanto wants the Wisers to pay triple any damages they have caused the company. The company also claimed that the Wisers still owe it $166,944 for seeds bought in 2010.

Neither the Wisers, nor Monsanto's attorney, could be reached for comment.