Organic Farmers Suffer 77-fold Increase in Lost Revenue from GMO Contamination in Last 3 Years

Organic-Farmers-Suffer-77-fold-Increase-in-Lost-Revenue-from-GMO-Contamination-Last-3-Years

Monsanto has many weapons in its arsenal when it comes to eliminating competition from non-GMO and organic farmers. After more than two decades of pushing their products onto US farmland with purposely flawed safety studies, the sheer presence of genetically modified crops poses an existential threat to the business of traditional and organic farming.

A new report has come out showing the extraordinary costs that non-GMO and organic farmers incur from GMO contamination of their crops.

“Results from the newest USDA survey indicate that of the farmers who chose to answer the question, 92 had experienced monetary loss between 2011 and 2014 averaging approximately $66,395 per farmer during that timeframe. Overall, GMO presence cost organic farmers at least $6.1 million over four years. This figure is 77 times that reported during the 2006 to 2011 timeframe—a staggering increase.”

The USDA conducted its first survey this year of the financial losses suffered by non-GMO and organic farmers from contamination. They did so at the urging of rights groups such as Food and Water Watch, who conducted their own survey in 2013.

That report found that one in three farmers had dealt with GMO contamination, causing many buyer rejections at a median cost of $4,500 each rejection. Considering the 77-fold increase in financial burden since previous years, it is clear that the biotech industry is pushing their competition toward financial ruin.

But genetic contamination is only half the story. The USDA’s report excludes losses incurred from pesticide drift, which occurs when crops such as Monsanto’s “RoundUp Ready” corn are sprayed and the chemical drifts onto nearby fields. This will become a bigger burden as more chemical–resistant GMO crops are approved by friendly federal agencies.

“Regarding drift issues, one farmer we surveyed wrote, ‘my only problem comes from drift when commercial chemical sprayers spray on a windy day and the spray drifts across the road or buffer strip to kill my alfalfa or other crops. I call the company and complain but they have never compensated me for my loss as of yet.’ Regarding dicamba, another farmer wrote, ‘I’m more concerned with spray drift—especially with the effort to release Banvel-resistant soybeans. Everyone knows how volatile that chemical can be—not only to organic farmers but all farmers and home owners.’ Even Roundup, considered to be less harmful and less prone to drift than 2,4-D and dicamba has been a huge problem for organic growers. One farmer wrote, ‘in the last 16 years I have had three instances where spray drift has affected my fields. All three times it was Roundup. It has totaled $65,000 and I have had to start the three-year transition process [for organic certification] all over., Not only has spray drift negatively affected relationships between neighbors, it has resulted in organic farmers being forced to take some areas of their farm out of organic production completely.”

All of these burdens—from wind-driven pollen contamination to post-harvest seed/grain mixing to pesticide drift—are borne by the victimized farmers. They must establish buffers or adopt delayed planting regimens, and they alone bear the financial cost of rejected crops.

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Meanwhile, biotech companies enjoy regulatory and financial support from their co-conspirators in federal departments, as they slowly grind the competition to dust.

Adding insult to injury, last year Monsanto persuaded their friends at the Supreme Court (including former Monsanto attorney Clarence Thomas) to grant Monsanto the ability to sue farmers whose fields are inadvertently contaminated with GMO material.

The results of these attacks on multiple fronts are being seen, with the number of organic farms decreasing over the past few years.

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Justin Gardner is a peaceful free-thinker with a background in the biological sciences. He is interested in bringing rationality back into the national discourse, and independent journalism as a challenge to the status quo. Gardner finds inspiration in the garden and people who promote peace and goodwill to all life.