“We’ve fought them before and we’re not afraid of them.”
Those are the words of Warren T. Burns, one of the attorneys representing a Kansas wheat farmer who is taking on the biotech giant Monsanto. According to the Associated Press, farmer Ernest Barnes filed suit against the company on Monday after genetically modified wheat was found growing in a field in Oregon. Barnes is claiming the company’s gross negligence has hurt U.S. growers. Genetically modified wheat is not approved for U.S. farming and this discovery may show that the GMO crops that were tested in certain states have infiltrated the food system by actually growing in the field where approved wheat is farmed.
Since the announcement, Japan has suspended some import orders. This is just an indicator of what may happen if GMO wheat contaminates the American wheat crops. Other countries have strict laws about GMOs; more than 60 countries have banned GMOs and most do not want any products sent to their country if they contain GMOs. The wheat industry was still on the up and up, as no GMO wheat has been approved for U.S. farming. Now that it seems there’s been a contamination, who knows what will happen.
This is pivotal to those of us who would like to see all GMOs eradicated from the food stream. Monsanto has cleverly made its way into so many of our farms and all the farmers have struggled to fight back because the giant company has huge resources and lengthy contracts that have saved them time and time again. It doesn’t hurt to have the president sign a protection act in your name, either. All the while, Burns told us this morning that this suit is different because it’s about contamination, not contract. There’s no loop holes if your herbicide resistant crop landed in another farmer’s field.
And if there was any question about that, be sure the tests were run. As farmers were attempting to clear a field in Oregon and a large section did not die upon spraying, they sent the suspicious plant to the lab in May. The lab at Oregon State University identified the wheat as an herbicide-resistant Monsanto wheat. This crop was only approved to grow for testing purposes in specific spaces, and it was growing right along in another farmer’s field. If this happened in one field in Oregon, where else could it be?
Ernest Barnes is not alone in his case against Monsanto. Many other farmers feel they too have been majorly hurt by this company. Burns said they expect additional filings this week. Barnes farms 1,000 acres in Elkhart, Kansas. His civil lawsuit will play out in the Wichita, Kansas courtrooms.
Burns made it clear that they were not afraid of Monsanto and he said that he and his team are very sensitive to protecting their clients – the farmers.
We’re right behind them. This may be the case to crack the big bullies who seem to be taking over our food supply and knocking out our beloved farmers. The whole world counts on the wheat farmers in this country.
June 6th, 2013