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Protect Organic Farms from Monsanto and GMO Contamination: Support the DeFazio Amendment

Certified organic pistachios

Tomorrow, an amendment to strike down a provision for St. Louis-based agribusiness Monsanto will be introduced by Congressman Peter Defazio (D – Oregon). Without full support by DeFazio’s Representative peers, this Monsanto rider will remain in the 2013 Agriculture Appropriations bill, and end judicial review of approvals of new genetically engineered crops.

Say that again?

If approved, this rider (Sec. 733) referred to as the “Farmer Assurance Provision” would effectively remove access by organic and Non-GMO farmers to the court systems they would need, when genetically engineered crops contaminate their organic fields and seed supplies.  “This is nothing more than a Monsanto profit assurance provision,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of Center for Food Safety.

The Center for Food Safety, National Family Farm Coalition, ACLU, Sierra Club, Organic Trade Association and many others formally submitted a letter against the rider to the Appropriations Committee on June 19 2012.

It’s not surprising that Monsanto –who counts herbicides, pesticides and crop seeds as their top 3 revenue sources– would leverage their lobbying weight in this push. As noted by Organic Consumers Fund,  this rider “…is a response to successful lawsuits brought by the Center for Food Safety on behalf of organic and non-GMO farmers and seed growers that attempted to block planting of genetically engineered sugar beets and alfalfa while the USDA conducted a court-ordered review of the dangers of contamination.” Read why the Court of Appeals dismissed Monsanto’s appeal in 2011, a big win for defendants Center for Food Safety, Organic Seed Alliance, High Mowing Organic Seeds and the Sierra Club.

Speaking of revenue, Monsanto’s earnings are up. Way up. The 112-year-old company is expected to announce earnings of $4 billion in Q2 of 2012, 11.4% higher than the same time period last year. Chemicals are big revenue earners for companies like this, and individual farmers that grow our organic and non-GMO food can’t protect themselves alone.

What can you do? Pick up the phone and contact your local Representative. Urge their support of DeFazio’s amendment. Forward this message to your friends and family members. Once organic and non-GMO farmers lose their voice, we all lose out. Not sure who your Representative is? Find him/her with this tool: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/ Since we’re based in San Diego, we called our local representative, Congressman Duncan Hunter. As the amendment by DeFazio has yet to be introduced, his office asked that our request for commentary be emailed. We’ll let you know what he says.

Don’t forget to support the GMO labeling measure on California’s ballot this November, as  well as The Non-GMO Project and Organic Trade Association (OTA) as they work to keep GMO food accountable and transparent. At Sunfood, we’re verified as non-GMO and a proud member of the OTA.

To learn more about Mansanto, and how they are shaping the future of food, consider their recent $210 million purchase of Precision Planting, Inc, a company that specialized in increasing farm yields via monitoring and germination tools. As stated in a June 21 press release, Precision Planting’s team is now part of Monsanto’s Integrated Farming Systems unit, which specializes in “… advanced agronomic practices, seed genetics and innovative on-farm technology.”  Precision Planting’s tools monitor everything about a farm’s field: weather, minerals, moisture levels, soil type, seed rates, crop yields, all with dates and times, in real-time.  Basically, Monsanto purchased the equipment they need to keep full tabs on every single crop around the world. Learn the full impact of Monsanto’s purchase in Alan Guebert latest Farm and Food column.

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