Big Trouble for Monsanto?

(NaturalNews) Purveyors of conventional and genetically-modified (GM) crops — and the pesticides and herbicides that accompany them — are finally getting a taste of their own legal medicine. Minnesota’s Star Tribune has reported that the Minnesota Court of Appeals recently ruled that a large organic farm surrounded by chemical-laden conventional farms can seek damages for lost crops, as well as lost profits, caused by the illegal trespassing of pesticides and herbicides on its property.

Oluf and Debra Johnson’s 1,500-acre organic farm in Stearns County, Minn., has repeatedly been contaminated by nearby conventional and GMO farms since the couple started it in the 1990s. A local pesticide cooperative known as Paynesville Farmers Union (PFU), which is near the farm, has been cited at least four times for violating pesticide laws, and inadvertently causing damage to the Johnson’s farm.

The first time it was realized that pesticides had drifted onto the Johnson’s farm in 1998, PFU apologized, but did not agree to pay for damages. As anyone with an understanding of organic practices knows, even a small bit of contamination can result in having to plow under that season’s crops, forget profits, and even lose the ability to grow organic crops in the same field for at least a couple years.

The Johnson’s let the first incident slide. But after the second, third, and fourth times, they decided that enough was enough. Following the second pesticide drift in 2002, the Johnson’s filed a complaint with the Minnesota Agriculture Department, which eventually ruled that PFU had illegally sprayed chemicals on windy days, which led to contamination of the Johnson’s organic crops.

PFU settled with the Johnson’s out of court, and the Johnson’s agreed to sell their tainted products as non-organics for a lower price, and pull the fields from production for three years in order to bring them back up to organic standards. But PFU’s inconsiderate spraying habits continued, with numerous additional incidents occurring in 2005, 2007, and 2008, according to the Star Tribune.

After enduring much hardship, the Johnson’s finally ended up suing PFU in 2009 for negligence and trespass, only to receive denial from the district court that received the case. But after appealing, the Johnson’s received favor from the Appeals Court, which ruled that particulate matter, including pesticides, herbicides, and even GM particulates, that contaminates nearby fields is, in fact, considered illegal trespass, and is subject to the same laws concerning other forms of trespass.

In a similar case, a California-based organic farm recently won a $1 million lawsuit filed against a conventional farm whose pesticides spread through fog from several miles away, and contaminated its fields. Jacobs Farm / Del Cobo’s entire season’s herb crop had to be discarded as a result, and the court that presided over the case acknowledged and agreed that the polluters must be held responsible.
Precedent has now been set for organic farmers to sue biotechnology companies whose GMOs contaminate their crops.


The stunning victories of both the Johnson’s and Jacob’s Farm / Del Cobo against their chemical-polluting neighbors is huge, in that it represents a new set legal precedent for holding conventional, factory farming operations responsible for the damage their systems cause to other farms. And with this new precedent set, many more organic farmers, for instance, can now begin suing GMO farmers for both chemical and genetic pollution that drifts onto their farms.

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Jason Rink is the Editor-in-Chief of The Liberty Voice. Executive Director of the Foundation for a Free Society. He is the producer and director of Nullification: The Rightful Remedy, and the author of “Ron Paul: Father of the Tea Party” the biography of Congressman Ron Paul. See more of his work at his writing at JasonRink.com and his film production work at FoundationMedia.org.

11 Comments

  1. RobertNroland

    January 17, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    Wonder what the O in GMO stands for. No matter, Monsanto has enough money and high level political connections (worldwide) that nothing will be done.

  2. Aaron

    January 17, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    About TIME! in what other situation can one person polute another persons, destroying private property and the fruits of labor and get away with it!? I think this aught to go BEYOND just the pesticides “trespassing” and also includ GMO DNA trespassing. Since Monsanto wants to file charges on everyone who might be “stealing” their patented DNA, I think it aught to be trespassing of the DNA from the farmers who bought monsanto to begin with. The farmers that want to run GMO fine but it should be their responsiblity to put up pollen catching nets or what ever it takes at all of the edges of their fields, and they should be the ones responsible if a non-GMO farmer ends up with GMO crop.
    ———————————————————————
    ah here we go that’s what I was looking for quote:

    “But after appealing, the Johnson’s received favor from the Appeals Court, which ruled that particulate matter, including pesticides, herbicides, and even GM particulates”

    EVEN GM PARTICULATES!!!!!!!!

  3. Melody Mammino

    January 25, 2012 at 9:34 am

    This is FANTASTIC NEWS IN THE NATURAL HEALTH WORLD! We are making ground. Way to go, Minnesota!! So stoked about this encouraging word :)

  4. DaveMan50

    January 26, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    I thought the O in GMO was organisms, as in bacteria and fungi.

  5. Winn

    January 29, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    Sooooo, the organic farms get to sue the Non-organic farmers for damages due from the GMO pollutants that the farmers bought from Monsanto. I’m glad that they won and I praise Minnesota for taking a stand, but have you seen the movie, “Food, Inc.?” Monsanto is a “Mafia Type” company that “Persuades” these farmers in to buying their product and if they don’t, they suffer the consequences…in a HARSH way. They have NO CHOICE but to buy…”they make them an offer that they can’t refuse.” And the farmers never wanted to go this route, BTW. So I’m think’in, shouldn’t Minnesota go after Monsanto? Shouldn’t EVERYONE go after and sue Monsanto? I’d advise all of you to check out the movie, “Food, Inc.” and there are similar movies out there, as well. I just can’t remember the names right now. But if you GOOGLE anything, it’s right at your fingertips! Good luck and good reading, to you.

  6. Claudia

    January 30, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    This is so encouraging! I love seeing the small farmer win these cases, for they have been so hammered by Monsanto for almost 20 years if not more, it’s maddening!

    My congratulations and gratitude to the ones who have won this battle! I celebrate your victories with you!

  7. DeeDee

    January 31, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    I am screaming with delight!!! A small battle has been won… We do our best to support you in fighting this war. Thank God for those who know how to do this! We are behind you all of the way. God only knows if there are any seeds left that are not contaminated! (This is why the gov’t has the heirlooms saved in hermetically sealed vaults!)

  8. Jan Jost

    February 1, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    AMERICA WAKE UP!!!!!!!MONSANTO WANTS TO CONTROL THE WORLDS FOOD SUPPLY AND THEY HAVE TO BE SUES MORE THAN MANY MANY MANY MANY TIMES TO PUT A DENT IN WHAT THEY ARE
    DOING. EUROPE WILLNOT ALLOW WHAT THEY DO. BUT WE HAVE FOR PROFIT HEALTHCARE SO, DO YOU SEE THE WRITING ON THE WALL!!! WE MUST RISE, WE MUST STAND UP AND SCREAM

  9. stephen palmore

    February 17, 2012 at 7:45 am

    We need to find a legal reason to file 100,000 small claims against Monsanto and roll the wins in small claims to larger suites , just overwhelm the gangsters till they are broke!!!

  10. Steve

    February 17, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    SWEET!

  11. Karole

    February 22, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    Monsanto needs to be run out of business… and the politicians that allowed DNA (life) to be patented need to be run out of Washington!

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