Case: The Neighbors

Statement of Jake Miller, organic farmer

I've been growing organic crops for almost 25 years. I inherited the farm from my father, he brought this seed back from the World Corn Exposition back in 1903. That means the seed would have been one hundred years old this year. And to think, it's all ruined now. That Bransen and her genetic monster of a crop.

I grow an old fashioned variety of corn on my farm. It's very high in demand on this market. My market is seed. I sell my corn mainly to organic dairy farmers; they have to have GMO-free crops to field their cows or the milk they produce won't be considered organic.

I get so angry every time I think about it. All of my seed was ruined. Ruined! I took my seed to get tested like I do every year. It never occurred to me that this year it would actually come back positive for genetic contamination. I almost didn't believe it when I heard it. I was so shocked.

I had to call the organic dairy farms I sell to and tell them they would have to find another person to buy their feed from. It was almost embarrassing. This wasn't just my loss, it was theirs as well. I thought I was doing a great thing by becoming an organic farmer. I wanted to give people a choice. They deserve to have the choice for healthier, science-free food.

Organic farming is sustainable. How can you argue against that? I"m not only helping the people out, I'm protecting the earth.

And this is what I get. A year's worth of ruined crop and a worthless seed.

Minsento produces a product that hurts the environment and infringes upon my rights as an organic farmer and the rights of those who buy organic and I'm stuck footing the bill.

What bothers me most, I'll tell you, is that Minsento and Bransen in no way suffer. I've suffered a major loss here.

There are so many GMO farmers out there, and in a way they are all responsible for what happened to my seed. It's the pollen of their corn that does this--and I'm not the first one to lose a crop, either. There are so many of them that they could all easily pay for my losses. Even Minsento is rich; they can afford to give me restitution for what happened. That company reaps all the benefits from the mutant corn they produce but what are they doing to pay for the harm it causes? NOTHING!

And what about next time this happens? I can't control all the pollen that floats around from crops that aren't my own. Bransen is in a better situation to control his crops than I am. How can I be responsible for something I can't control?

So I have to tell you, Mitch: I'll come to this discussion you're organizing, but I can't see how it will help.

Links

Homepage
Mitch's Journal
Miller's Statement
Bransen's Statement
Minsento's brochure
Notes: Options
Notes: GMO farming
Notes: Organic farming
Notes: Previous cases



Back to Jean Goodwin's homepage.
Last updated 16 April 2003.
(C) Copyright 2003 Jean Goodwin and Jennifer Sanford. All rights reserved.