Farm Press Blog

Benchmark GM crop contamination case a bitter tale

RSS
  • A landmark court case involving GM contamination of organic crops has torn a farming community apart.

Two hundred and fifty miles north, producer John Snooke grows GM canola and believes organic certification and “zero-tolerance” should be changed. From the Mail: “In Snooke’s book, Steve Marsh as plaintiff is going after the wrong guy. The organic certifier NASAA needs to rethink its ‘zero tolerance’ approach to GM, Snooke says, and create a more realistic threshold for when so-called ‘contamination’ occurs.”

The Marsh vs. Baxter case is a web of legal, ideological, and ecological strands — a nightmare to adjudicate. “In agriculture, storms happen, water flows, wind carries unintended matter in different places. That’s why we need thresholds. To allow neighbors to coexist and allow trade to flourish,” Snooke says.

 

Want the latest agricultural news each day? Click here for the Western Farm Press Daily e-mail newsletter.

 

Maybe it's not a case of fault or blame; just two farmers literally on opposite sides of the fence, caught up in the GM-organic tangle — agriculture’s version of the Gordian knot. Whatever ruling or precedent the court lays down, there will be no handshakes or happy endings, as Marsh says “… I also can’t help but know a lot of what Michael has gone through; one thing I do know is that there’s no real winners in this case, whoever wins.”

 

Follow me on Twitter: @CBennett71 or email me: cbennett@farmpress.com

 

Blog archive

How to create an epic environmental disaster

Big Ag goes organic (Come again?)

Farm’s Nazi past still fresh for slave workers

Farmer privacy breach brings suit against EPA

James Bond once worked for the EPA

AK-47 rifle was agriculture’s giant loss?

What treasure is buried beneath farmland?

Farmland hides mobster for 10 years

What are the greatest agriculture breakthroughs in history?

Who are the top 100 private landowners in the US?

Discuss this Blog Entry 3

Anonymous (not verified)
on Feb 4, 2014

Hope Marsh wins Baxter's land in court. Come on Aussies: do the RIGHT thing.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Feb 5, 2014

70%, 1.5 km, and 15 years all seem unlikely. Also, not sure about Australian organic rules but I am not aware of a single farmer in the US that has ever lost their organic certification due to the presence of a GMO crop in an adjacent field.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Feb 9, 2014

To be honest, I feel for Mr Baxter. He has agreed to a buffer zone between the crops. He is growing a legal crop in a legal manner. Is it right he loses everything because a Neighbour deems that a legal food crop has blown onto his property?

Post new comment
or to use your Western Farm Press ID
What's Farm Press Blog?

The Farm Press Daily Blog

Connect With Us

Blog Archive
Continuing Education Courses
New Course
California is becoming the first state in the nation to invoke regulations to reduce Volatile...
New Course
Ant control is an important element of harvesting a high quality almond crop. It starts with...
This accredited CE course focuses on choosing the correct variety alfalfa based on a number of...

Sponsored Introduction Continue on to (or wait seconds) ×