A predatory virus: Scientists have been given permission to field test
a virus engineered to express the insect control properties of a
A Mighty Mite- the USDA the same USDA that is taking over organic
growing granted a permit for testing a transgentic predatory mite to
control the spider mite
Heat resistant nematode Scientists at Rutgers University were given
permission to test a genetically enginneered nematode for insect
The USDA is even enginneering microbs . There is nothing they have not
corrupted with their wickness and this is the group that is taking over
organic growing. the fox watching the hen house .
and on and on . The USDA is changing life on earth as we know it and
are genetically engineering life that they cannot control. yet this
same USDA is taking over organic growers . how can they make rules for
organic growers and at the same time release thing that destroy any
chance to be organic. Just say now to USDA organic takeover untill the
USDA EPA FDA start acting on the side of the organic grower . This is a
hostal takeover and the higher ups in the organic movement should not
give up years of work so easy to the USDA that is killing off organic
growing by releasing genetically engineered life they can not control
that will destroy our organicness. We get drift and pesticide overspray
and the USDA does nothing now we will get gene altered life creeping
into on land and the usda is the cause . Make them the USDA take a stand
protect organic growers from drift over spray and lab made life before
they try to regulate and charge organic growers a fee. If any one wants
to force you to pay to grow
organic know they are out to rip u off. if your group and certifier does
not fight the USDA tooth and nail leave them and do not support them
they are not supporting us. Earth be warned the USDA is out
to change life on earth as we know it and there is nothing we can do about
it .. the new world order says every head must bow the USDA is God and
alone. Organic growers have no choice we have been sold out. Organic is
soon to be a joke. all land will have gene altered life. hairloom seed
is no longer any good. all processed food will be gene altered. all
animal feed will be gene altered , all crops will be gene altered .
where are the leaders of the organic movement? are they kissing up to
so they can have a place at the table .we must fight principlaities and
powers and spitural wickness in high
Do not put the fox incharge of the hen house or there will soon be no more
The earth is not the USDA's the earth is the Lords and the fullness there
On Wed, 15 Jul 1998 Sprinkraft@aol.com
> ACRES, USA: A Journal of Ecological Agriculture
> T R A N S I T I O N S
> Steve Sprinkel
> TDA certified organic farmer
> McDade, Texas
> national organics editor, ACRES, USA
> July, 1998
> Forks in the Road
> It’s not that the organic farming movement had not faced large challenges
> before the USDA released the Proposed Rule on the National Organic Program at
> the end of 1997.
> Corporate farmers entering the organic produce market provoked some hardships
> which we were able to overcome in the mid-1980s. In the 1990s consolidation in
> wholesale and retail distribution followed suit, and most small farm organic
> producers capably responded by selling closer to home by building a consumer
> base through farmer’s markets, community supported agriculture and direct
> marketing to the gourmet trade.
> The challenges the organic movement faces in mid-1998 are more complex and
> troublesome than anything we have faced before, and they make the aborted
> false-makeover of federal organic standards look like much smaller potatoes.
> Take for example “globalization” as a metaphor, not just as a marketing and
> communication concept, but as a biological imperative. We may be able to keep
> genetic engineering out of US or Codex Alimentarius ( international) organic
> standards on paper, but, knowing what we do about nature, will it be possible
> to sequester our growing areas from genetic contamination while the wind
> drifts and bees and other pollinators fly?
> Welcome to the Sci-Fi Movie
> Fact we wish was still fiction: also known as the 21st century, and seemingly
> scripted by Robert Heinlein or Arthur C. Clarke, we are about to merge into a
> new century and a new millennium bracketed by scientific discoveries that are
> being commercialized before the test tubes have dried on the rack. The
> business community generally , and some health consumers, long had railed
> against the FDA and EPA’s long evaluation periods before releasing new
> products for use. When it took office, the current federal administration
> promised to speed up that process, and they did, right when the most
> threatening technology of all was poised to go online: genetic engineering.
> We’re not talking about Rhone-Poulenc’s new formula for another
> organophosphate pesticide, or an arthritis remedy based on the synthetic mimic
> of an obscure plant from Sri Lanka. Take patent number 5,723,765 for example.
> The Terminator
> The ability of seed manufacturers ( we can’t really call them “growers” for
> very much longer ) to produce seed that will grow a crop but will produce seed
> that is sterile was briefly discussed here during the spring’s myopia over the
> NOP. Monsanto/Delta Pine and Land Co. and the USDA ( well, what do you know?)
> are the co-owners of this technology. ( please see separate commentary by
> An article in the New Scientist of June, 1998 stated: “ Terminator technology:
> that's what farmers are calling a breakthrough in genetic engineering designed
> to prevent the seeds of agricultural crops from germinating. They fear it
> could spell the end of the tradition in poorer countries of saving seed from
> one season’s crop to replace the next.
> The patent owners expect the technique to be adopted within the next five
> years by all the major seed companies, which have been looking for ways to
> prevent farmers from recycling seeds from their crops for many years.
> "It's terribly dangerous," says Hope Shand of the Rural Advancement
> Foundation International, a pressure group based in Canada. "Half the
> world's farmers are poor and can't afford to buy seed every growing season.
> Yet they grow 15 to 20 per cent of the world's food."
> The technology depends on a promoter sequence from a gene calle llate
> embryogenesis abundant (LEA) that activates the gene to which it is attached
> only when the plant's seeds are maturing. The researchers attached the LEA
> promoter to a gene that
> produces a protein which prevents germination.
> Melvin Oliver of the USDA's labs in Lubbock, Texas, who invented the
> technique, claims that seeds manipulated in this way will grow into healthy
> plants that produce sterile seeds. He anticipates that it will be welcomed by
> seed companies, who regard the replanting of seeds as theft of their
> intellectual property. "Our system is a way of self-policing the unauthorized
> use of American technology," says Oliver. "It's similar to copyright
> protection." Willard Phelps, a spokesman for the USDA, predicts
> that the new technique will soon be so widely adopted that farmers will only
> be able to buy seeds that cannot be re-germinated. "
> But Camila Montecinos of the Center for Education and Technology in
> Santiago, Chile, which works with local farmers, is calling on governments
> to outlaw the new technology. "This is an immoral technique that robs
> farming communities of their age old right to save seed," she says. "It
> should be banned." ( New Scientist, June 1998)
> It is possible to mitigate and prevent pesticide drift, to site an organic
> farm where there is not water pollution that would compromise the integrity of
> the product, and we have devised a system that provides for the segregation
> of organically produced products to protect consumers.
> However, a lawsuit filed in the United Kingdom last month underscores how
> organic farming is now exposed to technology that may lead to contamination we
> may not be able to plan for: Guy Watson, an organic farmer there, contends
> that a genetically modified rapeseed test field will put his adjacent organic
> farm at risk and cause him to lose his certification should wild cruciferae
> become contaminated from that experiment in the event of cross pollination.
> Watson has filed a lawsuit to protect his land from the unpredicted
> consequences of the GE plantings. ( Watson later was rebuffed, when the
> judicial panel reviewing his suit said that it was without merit.)
> “M O N S A N T O: Food.Health.Hope”
> That’s what that rug-making, Agent Orange spewing, poison spreading giant
> wants Wall Street to believe it stands for now. I’d like to know when the
> Department of Justice or the Securities Exchange Commission is going to
> formally question the legality of monopolizing US ( and world) agriculture.
> The con Monsanto is now running is the most evilly cynical bit of propaganda.
> Even a conventional agriculture magazine as careful as Progressive Farmer is
> willing to bite the hand that feeds. PF’s July cover story is at least willing
> to ask the question:" Should growers be concerned?"
> After getting a surprising public spanking during the USDA comment period on
> the NOP, when the conventional wisdom put thumbs down on GE in organic
> production, the St. Louis-based company is now obliged to spend millions here
> and overseas to undo the ill will generated by their partners in crime at the
> FDA, USDA and the White House.
> That’s right. Way back in 1996 the President provided Monsanto an info-mercial
> on the floor of the US Congress during his State of the Union speech when he
> told us that he had “Monsanto onboard.”
> Or maybe it is Mr. Clinton who Monsanto has onboard the Silver Bullet Express:
> GE is touted as the miracle technology that will wean agriculture from
> synthetic chemicals.
> Once Again, Where is Consumer Protection?
> Add the concerns of consumers to this micro-view. As Monsanto conglomerates
> much of this technology in a global race against Novartis, DuPont, AgroEvo,
> and Pioneer, the St. Louis based manufacturer is spinning off its home and
> garden division ( Ortho, etceteras), then merging with American Home Products
> so Monsanto will be too big for DuPont to swallow, and then buys Cargill’s
> 1.4. $B overseas seed production and distribution system to sell their
> product in the third world, where the negative news may not have spread and
> the World Bank is willing to pay for it routinely. Why isn’t this a monopoly?
> These things are important to organic farmers and consumers everywhere because
> it further limits our choices in where to plant, what to plant and where to
> obtain the seed.
> Last fall we reported that international organic certifier Oregon Tilth, was
> working on a program to assure that seed used by the farmers in their program
> was not GE contaminated. Soon, we may have to ask ourselves very vexing
> questions about the suitability of using cotton seed meal, compost from cotton
> gin trash, or alfalfa meal, or fish emulsion, or blood, hoof and horn meal, on
> an organic farm when such fertility inputs are potentially a product of
> genetically engineered species. Just asking..........
> Or, hold on to your hat, what about manures and compost from conventional
> livestock operations where GE produced feeds are utilized. Uh-oh. I think I
> see a legume-based crop rotation in my farming future. I think I also see a
> much more sophisticated market for certified organically produced seed and
> planting stock, particularly open pollinated varieties. Such negative
> developments end up encircling organic producers, providing fewer and fewer
> choices in seed or fertility selection, and they may create opportunities to
> innovate. But this is one challenge most of us would rather not have had to
> The UK: Action and Concern
> In a recent poll held in the UK, 91% of farmers are very nervous about growing
> GM crops.
> Activist groups, like the Lincolnshire Loppers, are pulling up GE trial
> plantings or scything them down. Such acts of civil disobedience are practical
> ( people just don’t want plants modified by viruses living near them) and the
> actions also contribute to press coverage of the issue. In response, Euro-
> based international agribusiness AgroEvo called on the British government to
> cease publication of the locations of their test sites.
> Alun Rees, writing in The Express (UK) on Tuesday June 30th, reported that
> Britain's leading organic farmer has called for an end to all experiments
> with genetically modified crops in this country.
> Helen Browning, newly appointed chairwoman of the Soil Association ( a private
> certification and advocacy organization on par with Oregon Tilth here in the
> US) called for the British Government to declare Britain a GMO-free zone.
> She believes that this will not only protect our environment but provide a
> profitable future for our farmers. In an uncompromising interview with the
> Express, Ms Browning gave a stark warning of the global implications of GM
> agriculture. She said the danger is that non gm(GM) crops will cross pollinate
> with gm(GM) ones.
> Meanwhile , material from GM crops, whose new genes are often inserted by
> means of a bacteria of virus, could enter the microbe life of the soil,
> changing it irrevocably. Browning warned this would mean that eventually all
> crops would contain genetically altered material.
> The 36 year old mother, who runs an organic farm in Wiltshire said "The
> problem is that we do not know and no one knows, what might happen if this
> goes wrong.
> "The Soil Association would like to see Britain declared a GM free area. It
> would be difficult to uphold with GM food already being imported, but at
> least we could try. We could find ourselves one of the few places producing
> natural crops that would be in demand all over a world dominated by GM foods.
> It would be a tremendous selling point."
> French Confederation Paysanne Calls for GMO Destruction
> In Bagnolet, France on 23 June 1998, the French countrypeoples group
> Confederation Paysanne called for the destruction of GE ( or GMO) corn
> plantings there. Noting the “ exceptional gravity of the health, social-
> economic and social questions posed by the dissemination of GMOs ....and that
> consumers have never demonstrated any demand for GMO food and fiber products”,
> they conclude that the French farming community now stands at a pivotal fork
> in the road.
> In their communique, the Confederation saij that, “ the GMO process threatens
> the independence of farmers with regard to the multinationals' marketing of
> health products and seeds: The Confederation believes that GMO technology
> offers " an advantage only to the pharmaco-chemical-seed firms and
> industrialized agriculture. Nobody else: neither consumers nor farmers have
> any need for it.”
> An embargo on $200M of GE corn is also leveraging this action at the
> grassroots level. Consumers and farmers are strengthening their collaborative
> efforts in order to put the brakes firmly to the GE juggernaut.
> The Final NOP Count: 275,000
> Far outpacing any previous comment on a USDA Proposed Rule, 275,000 formal
> comments were received by the National Organic Program staff, according to
> their final and official count. NOP Director Keith Jones, says that it will
> take until the end of July to fully “characterize the comments” so that public
> input can be used in the drafting of a revised Proposed Rule. We can guardedly
> assume that the “ BIG THREE” of Genetic Engineering, Irradiation and Sewage
> Sludge will not be included in the revision, which is expected sometime in the
> next 6-8 months. Judging from how far off the mark the USDA was in the first
> go-round, nothing can be taken for granted. The waste-treatment sector was the
> only group in favor of anything that the overwhelming majority of respondents
> opposed. Though organic acreage is only 2-3% of the US total in cultivated
> farmland, the Bio-solids industry didn’t want anyone casting their “ product”
> in a bad light, which is what happened, once John and Jane Consumer realized
> for the first time that vast areas of conventional farms receive this
> Over 200 members of the US Congress also wrote to USDA Secretary Glickman to
> protest the unworkable proposed standards. Now if we can just link that
> interest to a complete overhaul of the genetic engineering issue.
> Congratulations Consumers
> In an article penned for the Albuquerque Journal by Joran Viers , agency
> director for the New Mexico Organic Commodity Commission, the state-run
> organic certifier in the “ Land of Enchantment”, consumers were highly
> praised for the volume and quality of their response to the USDA.
> Joran Viers says that Organic is much strengthened and better understood by
> virtue of the NOP comment process, and believes that organic agriculture will
> continue to expand for the following reasons:
> 1. People are demanding more control over how and with what their food is
> produced. Stories like the recent Wall Street Journal article on the use of
> toxic industrial byproducts as unlabeled, unregulated fertilizer ingredients
> get people concerned, and they see organic as an alternative based upon a
> philosophy of working in a biologically responsible way.
> 2. The availability of toxic chemicals as pesticides will be increasingly
> restricted as the EPA implements the Food Quality Protection Act. For example,
> the commonly used soil sterilizer methyl bromide is coming under increasing
> fire in California and Florida over potential links to cancer. It doesn't take
> a rocket scientist to figure out that a substance toxic to all soil life is
> going to be toxic to humans, too. Unfortunately, as evidenced by two
> editorials in the most recent issue of New Mexico Farm and Ranch publication,
> mainstream agriculture is loath to give up the use of known toxic chemicals.
> 3. More and more farmers want to take control over how they farm, and to do it
> in a way that doesn't leave them worried about their children’s' health.
> Farmers can see that the chemical farming treadmill is mostly a benefit to
> the companies that manufacture and sell all these products. Science is
> beginning to look at organic methods, and it's no surprise that they are
> found to be effective.
> Federal Appropriations for Organic Production
> Liana Hoodes of the National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture in Pine
> Bush, New York, advises that the Senate Agriculture Appropriations
> Subcommittee has included the following supportive language in its official
> "The Committee expects the Secretary to construct a National Organic Program
> that takes into account the needs of small farmers. The Committee directs the
> Secretary to establish a progressive user fee scheme so that small farmers,
> handlers, and certification agents are not excessively burdened. Furthermore,
> the Committee directs that not less than $250,000 of the funds available for
> the National Organic Program be used to offset the initial costs of
> accreditation services, a subsidy necessary due to the lack of Department
> expertise in organic accreditation and insufficient data on the industry.
> Also, the Committee directs the Secretary to follow the recommendations of the
> National Organic Standards Board, as required by the 1990 farm bill, in
> issuing final regulations as to what substances are on the national list."
> Organic Field Crops: instability and an answer
> Joe Vogelsburg of Kansas, the new Field Crops Committee chair for the Organic
> Farmers Marketing Association, has been handed a golden opportunity to build
> membership in the cooperative. Early reports from a number of buyers and
> distributors note that certain organic grains may not hold on to their high
> prices of 1997. Buckwheat will be flooded by Chinese imports, and millet and
> milo still lag behind, lacking a federal livestock standard that will amplify
> the demand for those grains. And in a letter from American Health and
> Nutrition, organic soybean farmers who contracted at $22.00/bu have been
> advised that they should accept a new contract at $20.00, due to the Asian
> economic free-fall, which AHN calls an “ Act of God.” Unless hail has
> flattened all the tofu factories, I don’t think that rationale is going to
> wash, and that is where Joe Vogelsburg comes in.
> Unless growers have the means to act in concert they will be picked off, one
> by one, scattered out as they are across the country. The OFMA marketing
> program, while still under development, seems now to be an idea whose time has
> come, and Field Crops is the production sector best suited to lead the way.
> Dave DeCou, an organic farmer from Eugene, Oregon, is the new OFMA
> Produce/Perishables Committee chair. Dave’s principal project will be to
> create a better price reporting system, and the committee will begin with
> limited reports from the Pacific Coast, Indiana, Iowa and Texas. While
> cooperative marketing per se will be much more troublesome for perishables at
> the outset, produce growers are much in need of timely price information, and
> market availability data. If any organic farmers are interested in an
> international organization, built and owned by certified organic farmers, they
> can get in touch with the new Organic Farmers Marketing Vice President,
> Cecilia Bowman, Organic Farmers Marketing Association Telecommunications
> Office. Email: email@example.com Website:http://www.iquest.net/ofma/. US POST:
> 8364 S SR 39, Clayton, IN 46118. Telephone:317-539-4317
> National Organic Standards Board member Bill Welsh continues as OFMA
> President. Other members of the board are: Steve Gilman ( New York), Eric
> Kindberg ( Iowa), Marina Buchan ( Canada), Nick Morcenik ( Canada), Paula
> Anderson ( Texas) LaRhea Pepper ( Texas), Tom Wittman ( California), Pamela
> Saunders ( Wisconsin), Ron Nigh ( Mexico), Jay Feldman ( Washington, DC),
> Steve Sprinkel ( Texas ) .
> Organic Livestock Standards Under Discussion
> Leslie McKinnon, Coordinator of the Organic Certification Program for the
> Texas Department of Agriculture, announced at a recent meeting of the TDA
> Organic Standards Committee meeting that organic livestock standards will be
> reviewed and implemented by the end of 1998. Unlike many states or regions,
> Texas still does not have significant organic dairy or egg production, nor
> standards for certification that will support the growth of that market. Meat
> standards will also be included in those new standards, much to the
> satisfaction of organic ranchers like Richard and Peggy Sechrist of
> Fredericksburg, Texas, who have been frustrated trying to market their product
> in a market flooded by “natural” beef products, for which there are no
> standards nor verification. The new standards will govern only Texas-
> produced and Texas-marketed livestock, similar to the New Mexico state
> program, which utilizes state inspection.
> Meanwhile, a national effort to adopt interim organic meat standards, formally
> proposed to the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service ( FSIS) has been
> renewed this summer, lead by the Coulee Region Organic Production Pool in
> Wisconsin and backed by NOSB chair Bob Anderson of Pennsylvania and Diane
> Bowen, Executive Director of California Certified Organic Farmers. No one can
> argue that it is not reprehensible that after 8 years, US organic livestock
> producers have been hung out to dry while the natural labels have garnered the
> market for healthy meat products. Will FSIS act promptly now while the
> National Organic Program is revising the comprehensive federal standards? Tom
> Billy, the FSIS director, will hold meetings with industry representatives
> this summer, something that might not have happened if the federal organic
> program had not engendered such an immense outpouring of consumer comment this
> Organic Livestock Workshop
> The above mentioned topic will be covered in depth at the end of July in
> Farmers, marketing experts and organic certifiers will crack open the
> mysteries of USDA requirements for the production, processing and marketing
> of organic meat July 30 at the Craig and Joanie Murphy farm near Morris,
> Minn. The fee for the workshop, which runs from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., is $5
> ($4 for Land Stewardship Project members). The fee covers lunch and
> informational handouts. To register, call the Land Stewardship Project at
> (320) 269-2105. The Murphy farm is five miles south on Highway 59, three
> miles west on County Rd. 8, three miles south on County Rd. 7 and then 1/2
> mile west. The farm is on the south side of the road.
> Topics of this workshop will include processing requirements, humane handling
> systems, grading, and target pricing to make the most of a farmer’s bottom
> line. This farm workshop and tour will clarify livestock’s role in supporting
> a healthy organic system, completing the nutrient cycle and contributing to a
> complete whole farm plan.
> Presenters will include: Pam Saunders, a beef farmer and coordinator of the
> Coulee Region Organic Producer Pool (CROPP); Ben and Karen Cook, organic beef
> producers from Adrian, Minn., who market through CROPP; and Ken Knight, owner
> Knightro Powered Marketing and a consultant to CROPP. CONTACT: Marsha Neff,
> LSP (507) 523-3366; firstname.lastname@example.org
> Hugh Lovel for Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture!
> Bio-dynamic Farmer (and ACRES author and contributor ) Hugh Lovel recently
> filed his intent to run for Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture with that
> state’s Secretary of State's office. He and his campaign manager aim to
> qualify him for November's election as the Green Party candidate for
> Agriculture Commissioner.
> Lovel wants to give consumers of Georgia quality farm products that are vital
> and untainted and produced to benefit rather than at the expense of the
> "Can we farm without dangerous chemicals?" he asks rhetorically. "You bet!"
> he asserts. "We can't make the transition overnight, of course, but
> historically, chemical farming is a very recent notion that cannot last. It's
> basically untenable, and it's got farmers on a treadmill where they're losing
> Formerly a psychologist, Hugh quit practice twenty-three years ago to found
> Union Agricultural Institute on a sixteen acre tract west of Blairsville near
> the North Carolina border. Presently he is a leader in the world-wide bio-
> dynamic movement, putting farming back in touch with its roots and getting
> farmers off the input treadmill. 75 years of implementation world wide shows
> biodynamic methods in the long run are much more economical and productive
> than the chemical alternatives. Even more importantly, say its boosters,
> biodynamic farming regenerates people, the environment and the Earth.
> "Our constituency is everyone who wants to live," says Lovel. "Above all we're
> realists. We're dealing with the real issues that Tweedledee and Tweedledum
> won't touch. Ecological wisdom, human rights, grassroots government, an
> economy for all rather than a few, that's exciting stuff. The very fact we're
> emphasizing these values shows we're
> realistic about not ignoring what's killing us all. And it's essential to be
> real about dealing with these things.”
> But what sort of chance does a third-party or independent have in the face of
> the two-party monopoly?
> "Of course its possible, because its so necessary." says Lovel. "Farming is
> generally very ill-paid and hazardous. Production is tainted and devitalized,
> and the environment is being wrecked in the process. Who gains? A
> tremendously small segment of the population, and if these few only realized
> it even they don't gain. Everybody loses, and that's a formula for political
> Frequent ACRES contributing editor Howard Garrett has taken the internet
> another step farther with a new automatic service. You ask a question, and the
> computer culls the appropriate answer from the good doctor’s growing
> encyclopedia of organic answers and automatically send it to you. Give it a
> Thanks to SANET, BAN-GEF and many other correspondents for contributing
> important information. If you have organic news in your region, touching on
> marketing, certification or production innovations, please send to
> Steve Sprinkel
> Bastrop County Texas
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