Organic Farmers Condemn Biotech Report

American organic farmers are condemning a US Department of Agriculture report on biotech farming as favoring genetically modified food production at the expense of organic agriculture and favoring the interests of major agribusinesses over small farmers.

For the last 12 years, genetically modified foods have been increasingly popular in the United States. Modified crops can often withstand extreme temperatures, pesticide use, and pest populations with more resiliency than their organic counterparts can. As a result, modified crops are often popular with large-scale farmers.

The USDA report, released last week, sought to explore how biotech farmers and organic farmers could coexist. The report comes in the wake of a series of lawsuit attempts by organic farmers against agricultural giant Monsanto, which has been accused of aggressive tactics in defense of patented genetically modified crops. In particular, organic farmers have been frustrated when GMOs are planted in neighboring fields and cross contamination compromises their produce.

The final USDA report appears to heavily favor biotech farmers. While the report does state that farmers should show respect for their neighbors, it concludes that all American farmers have the right to make their own crop choices, including genetically or non-genetically modified crops.

In addition, the report did not address any compensation mechanism for farmers whose crops were contaminated by GMOs, leaving many organic farmers with the sense that the USDA is favoring major agribusinesses.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer