Monsanto spent $2.46 million lobbying gov't in 1Q

Monsanto Co. spent $2.46 million in the first quarter to lobby the federal government on a proposed changes to U.S. patent law and other agricultural issues that could affect the world's largest seed company, according to a disclosure report.

Patent issues are of vital concern to Monsanto because the company develops and sells patented genetically engineered crops. Monsanto's use of patents is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. At issue is whether Monsanto has violated antitrust laws though its tight control of patented genes.

Monsanto's lobbying expenditures are up from the $1.28 million the company spent during the same period last year, but down slightly from the $2.53 million the company spent in the fourth quarter of 2009, after the DOJ launched its investigation.

Monsanto also lobbied the federal government on litigation surrounding the USDA's approval of genetically engineered crops, according to the report filed April 19 with the House clerk's office.

In the January-to-March period, Monsanto lobbied Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to the report.