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ORGANIC FARMERS INCREASE RESISTANCE TO INDUSTRY'S PROPOSED 'ORGANIC CHECKOFF' MANDATORY TAX.

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Wednesday, 20 May 2015 Category Potatoes in History 0 Comments

'Slate' coverage of the growing battle being waged by organic farmers against the orchestrated 'Organic Checkoff' mandatory tax proposal being pushed by processor trade group Organic Trade Assn (OTA). If organic processors want their products promoted, organic farmers are vociferously suggesting (http://noorganiccheckoff.com/what-are-farmers-saying-about…/) they should pay for it themselves. OTA should NOT expect hard-pressed organic farmers to swallow a proposal requiring farmers pay a mandatory tax. "...by virtue of its current income cutoff, the proposal '[allows] voting rights to the large farms,' Ed Maltby, the executive director of the Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance and a retired dairy farmer, says. 'So, it’ll be the large conglomerates that dominate discussion'...Maltby worries that the organic checkoff would follow the same blueprint as existing checkoff taxes. 'The beef checkoff really shows how there’s no transparency' in those programs, Maltby says. '[Checkoff] money goes to corporate interests in the end and supports corporate policy'....an organic checkoff tax would likely carry disproportionate benefit for industrial, corporate growers. Paying into a national tax fund is a far cry from the type of regional economic development that will best serve small farmers as they struggle to maintain a hold in an increasingly monopolized, corporate-controlled industry." Jim

http://www.slate.com/articles/life/food/2015/05/organic_checkoff_proposal_why_farmers_oppose_the_organic_trade_association.html

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MAMAS DON'T LET YOUR BABIES GROW UP TO BE GMO SHILLS.

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Wednesday, 20 May 2015 Category Potatoes in History 0 Comments

This discerning article by Dr. Jonathan Latham concludes there is a VERY ROCKY ROAD AHEAD for the increasingly pariah GE crops. "The media lynching of Chipotle has an explanation that is important to the future of GMOs. The cause of it is that there has long been an incipient crack in the solid public front that the food industry has presented on the GMO issue. The crack originates from the fact that while agribusiness sees GMOs as central to their business future, the brand-oriented and customer-sensitive ends of the food supply chain do not...over the last five years, as the reputation of GMOs has come under increasing pressure in the US, the cost to food brands of ignoring the growing consumer demand for GMO-free products has increased. They might not say so in public, but the sellers of top brands have little incentive to take the flack for selling GMOs...for agribusiness titans who have backed GMOs, like Monsanto, Dupont, Bayer and Syngenta; a race to be GMO-free is the ultimate nightmare scenario...New GMO products are coming on stream that will likely make crop biotechnology even less popular than it is now...For Monsanto and GMOs the situation suddenly looks ominous." Jim

http://www.independentsciencenews.org/health/monsantos-worst-fear-may-be-coming-true/

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'ALEC' IN THE HOT SEAT AND ACCUSED OF TAX FRAUD BY WATCHDOGS.

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Monday, 18 May 2015 Category Potatoes in History 0 Comments

The ratchet is being turned up on American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). "On Tuesday, Common Cause announced that it was submitting a new round of evidence to the IRS showing that ALEC does not qualify as a 501(c)3 nonprofit charity because, under federal law, 'no substantial part' of such a charity's activity can 'be attempting to influence legislation.' Common Cause President Miles Rapoport told reporters on Tuesday that his group has now gathered enough evidence to prove beyond a doubt that ALEC has always been a lobby group, not a charity." Jim

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/30809-wielding-new-evidence-watchdogs-push-irs-to-investigate-alec-for-tax-fraud#

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INDISPENSABLE INSIGHT FROM ETC GROUP INTO THE TRUTH BEHIND MONSANTO MERGER MANIA.

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Monday, 18 May 2015 Category Potatoes in History 0 Comments

Yes, your instincts were correct to be skeptical about Monsanto's recently disclosed desires for tax-evasion-via-merger with one Euro-based multi-national or another. However, that side show is only the tip of the iceberg of the march by Industrial Ag towards absolute and total consolidation - a tightening noose 'round the neck of both farmers and consumers. Do not miss this MUST READ report from Pat Mooney and his team at ETC Group. "When a single corporation sells the seed, knows the prevalence of pests and sells the pesticide, knows the local soil conditions, then divvies up the fertilizer, predicts the weather at harvest and sells the crop insurance, the notion of cross-sector (and antitrust) begins to lose meaning." Jim

http://www.etcgroup.org/content/seedy-characters?utm_content=refugia%40zoho.com&utm_source=VerticalResponse&utm_medium=Email&utm_term=Seedy+Characters&utm_campaign=Monsanto%2FSyngenta%3A+From+Gene+Giants+to+Agribehemothscontent

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NY TIMES ARTICLE ON NEW LEAKED USDA VOLUNTARY GMO LABELING PROGRAM.

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Monday, 18 May 2015 Category Potatoes in History 0 Comments

Time will reveal program details and those details will indicate whether this program merits respect. However, experience has taught us all to be wary of both USDA and the NY Times. "In his email, Mr. Vilsack said a large food company had approached the agency about using the verification program to get approval for its system of vetting crops for genetic alteration. Mr. Vilsack did not disclose the name of the company, and the food industry has buzzed with speculation about who it was." Jim

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/16/business/us-approves-sunopta-system-for-detecting-genetically-modified-crops.html?ref=business&_r=1

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STUNNING LEAKED DETAILS FROM SECRET TPP TRADE DEAL DISASTER.

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Friday, 15 May 2015 Category Potatoes in History 0 Comments

The TPP represents a dark bi-partisan corporate coup of epic proportions. NOW is the time to call your U.S. Senators and urge them to VOTE NO on TPP. "According to language in the TPP’s leaked intellectual property chapter, the trade deal would require all participating countries to enact automatic market exclusivity periods on many essential medical drugs, including biological therapies used to treat cancer. In this way, no country would be able to take action within their borders to bring down the cost of treatment by reforming the patent system or reducing the period of exclusivity. It could also limit the U.S. government from negotiating with pharmaceutical companies for lower prices and better reimbursements for patients requiring Medicaid and Medicare. And it would spell disaster for developing countries signing on to the deal...The TPP will include an “Investor-State Dispute Settlement” (ISDS) provision, which allows international investors—mainly multinational corporations—to sue a country if its laws interfere with their profits. Corporations are able to bypass domestic courts and go before an international tribunal of private lawyers, who can, in turn, force nations to pay compensation or 'reparation' to corporations—sometimes handing over millions in taxpayer dollars...TPP would enable countries importing goods to the U.S. to bypass our existing chemical safety regulations...We must take a stand and demand public health comes before corporate profit. We must stand against the TPP which blatantly and unapologetically shifts power away from people and toward corporations." Thanks to our friend Chris Hardy for this article. Jim

http://ecowatch.com/2015/05/14/tpp-increase-risk-breast-cancer/

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WENDELL BERRY ON THE MANY PITFALLS OF INDUSTRIAL AGRICULTURE.

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Thursday, 14 May 2015 Category Potatoes in History 0 Comments

Recent "The Atlantic" article by Wendell is characteristically incisive, original and MUST READ. A monumental loss to the fabric of rural culture and our country's ecological security is the steep decline in the "eyes-to-acres ratio." "...for any parcel of land in human use there is an “eyes-to-acres ratio” that is right and is necessary to save it from destruction. By “eyes” Wes means a competent watchfulness, aware of the nature and the history of the place, constantly present, always alert for signs of harm and signs of health. The necessary ratio of eyes to acres is not constant from one place to another, nor is it scientifically predictable or computable for any place, because from place to place there are too many natural and human variables. The need for the right eyes-to-acres ratio appears nonetheless to have the force of law...We can suppose that the eyes-to-acres ratio is approximately correct when a place is thriving in human use and care." Jim

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2015/03/farmland-without-farmers/388282/

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THE ECOLOGIST WEIGHS IN ON THE NEED FOR SAFE FOOD PRODUCTION FREE FROM ADDICTION TO FARM CHEMICALS.

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Wednesday, 13 May 2015 Category Potatoes in History 0 Comments

Rural residents are hugely impacted. The necessary paradigm shift goes way beyond simple focus on celebrity chemicals like glyphosate and neonicotinoids. Fortunately, the proven system called organic farming stands ready to meet the need. "In relation to rural residents, the glyphosate cancer risk is just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, people across the UK who live near conventionally farmed cropland have no protection from any of the poisons currently permitted under Government policy to be sprayed on fields...As the real life exposure for residents, as opposed to a mere bystander, is both repeated acute and chronic exposure over the long term, it is cumulative, and is to innumerable mixtures and cocktails of pesticides used on crops...Considering how many millions of rural residents will be living in this situation then this is, without a doubt, a catastrophic public health and safety failure on a truly scandalous scale...One of the first duties of any Government should be to protect the public, but this is patently not happening...This is largely because of the relentless lobbying of the narrow and self-serving interests of the agro-chemical industry and big agricultural producers that for decades have had almost complete control over Whitehall in setting the pesticides policy agenda." Jim

http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2848400/its_not_just_glyphosate_and_neonicotinoids_why_we_need_a_pesticidefree_future.html

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SWEDES SHOW HOW EATING ORGANIC ELIMINATES A FAMILY'S PESTICIDE LOAD.

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Monday, 11 May 2015 Category Potatoes in History 0 Comments

Established 'pesticide tolerances' DO NOT grapple with the impact of MULTIPLE chemicals in food and should therefore be suspect. Keep that fact in mind when you read about this study which shows an IMMEDIATE AND DRAMATIC DECREASE in pesticide levels in people when their diet switched to ORGANIC FOOD. "The Swedish Environmental Research Institute (IVL) was commissioned by Coop, Sweden's largest grocery store cooperative, to find out whether switching to an all-organic diet could reduce the level of pesticides found in people's bodies...The results were fairly astonishing, especially in the kids. On average the pesticide loads in the family's bodies dropped by a factor of 9.5. In some cases, undetectable levels of some of the chemicals occurred after just a day or so. IVL tried to control the experiment as much as possible by asking the family to use only organic personal hygiene products and detergents, and not to buy any new textiles during the two weeks of organic consumption." Jim

http://www.treehugger.com/family/swedes-show-how-eating-organic-nearly-eliminates-your-pesticide-load.html

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JIM HIGHTOWER EXPOSES THE LOOMING DISASTER THAT IS TPP.

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Monday, 11 May 2015 Category Potatoes in History 0 Comments

JIM HIGHTOWER EXPOSES THE LOOMING DISASTER THAT IS TPP. You can always count on maverick populist Jim Hightower to speak the truth. Jim spoke at our local college back in the 1980s during his tenure as the elected Texas Agriculture Commissioner He is quick-witted and a real firecracker. We have been listening to him ever since. We'd support him as USDA Secretary in a heartbeat.


http://www.whav.net/cms/?p=8489

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MIRACLES DO HAPPEN: REVOLUTIONARY ELECTION IN ALBERTA HAS THE PEOPLE TAKE CHARGE.

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Friday, 08 May 2015 Category Potatoes in History 0 Comments

New Republic coverage of an absolutely stunning Tuesday election in Canada. "To explain this in American terms: Imagine that Texas just overwhelmingly elected a legislature dominated by a left-wing party that opposes major oil pipeline projects...The difference this year was that the people of Alberta were willing to listen to an alternative view. A year of plummeting oil prices and the layoffs they wrought showed many Albertans how flimsy the economic plan was in the province, predicated as it was on a presumption of endless abundance. Falling oil prices led to an austerity budget from the sitting Progressive Conservative government. We were told that as long as we gave oil sands companies total control, we would reap the economic rewards. Once that was proven to be untrue, the larger conservative narrative crumbled." Jim

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/121730/how-socialist-party-just-took-over-texas-canada

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WE SHOULD BE CALLING PESTICIDES BY THEIR REAL NAME: BIOCIDES.

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Wednesday, 06 May 2015 Category Potatoes in History 0 Comments

Andrew Kimbrell of Center for Food Safety borrows a page from Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring." "'A single corn kernel coated with a neonicotinoid can kill a song bird.' As a long time environmental lawyer and campaigner, I should not have been stunned by that fact but I was. Shaking my head in dismay, I read on, 'Even a tiny grain of wheat or canola treated with the ...neonicotinoid... can fatally poison a bird'...The anger-stirring realization that a song bird could be felled by a single seed and the prospect of bees being silenced forever brought me back to the words of Rachel Carson, written more than half a century ago in Silent Spring. 'These... non selective chemicals have the power to kill every insect, the 'good' and the 'bad,' to still the songs of the birds and the leaping fish... they should not be called insecticides but biocides.'" Jim

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-kimbrell/they-are-biocides-not-pesticides-_b_7205586.html

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Guest Book Review by Douglas Williams: Introducing Altered Genes, Twisted Truth

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Monday, 27 April 2015 Category Potatoes in History 0 Comments

 INTRODUCING ALTERED GENES, TWISTED TRUTH

Steven M. Druker

 

Steven M. Druker is a public interest attorney who in May 1998 initiated a lawsuit against the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which compelled that government agency to make available to him copies of all its internal files related to genetically engineered (GE) foods. In this way he was able to probe beneath the agency’s public pronouncements and to see if they jibed with what the agency really knew and how they had actually operated. In subsequent months he combed through more than 44,000 pages of messages, reports and memoranda and, in the process, made a number of startling discoveries. In his own words:

 

“By the time my investigation was finished, I had compiled extensive evidence of an enormous ongoing fraud. It revealed that the FDA had ushered these controversial products onto the market by evading the standards of science, deliberately breaking the law, and seriously misrepresenting the facts – and that the American people were being regularly (and unknowingly) subjected to novel foods that were abnormally risky in the eyes of the agency’s own scientists.”

 

Druker continued his investigation and gathered more and more evidence that extended even further into significant fraudulent collusion between bioengineering companies, numerous government agencies, and a number of seemingly reputable scientific organizations and associations. It became clear to him that the “misrepresentation” was both deliberate and widespread. The consequences of this connivance on the part of all these supposedly reputable and responsible entities are yet to be determined because, despite their claims, there has never been any conclusive and honest testing by the producers of genetically engineered crops and products as required by law and expected by the public.

 

Just recently Steven Druker published a book describing in clear and comprehensive detail the facts that he has discovered and compiled over the years. The book is called Altered Genes, Twisted Truth, and its subtitle is remarkably direct: How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government, and Systematically Deceived the Public.

 

The book is over 400 pages and perhaps too long for many readers to undertake, but I heartily recommend it for anyone who is genuinely concerned about the future health of the people of this country and the world. At the same time, I would urge everyone to become more alert to this danger that is being passed off by so many as innocuous and untrue. It should be noted that a comprehensive lab test in France on rats has shown that the tumors and other abnormalities that result from the ingestion of GMO food products only manifest slowly and may not be evident until perhaps mid-life, when they started to appear in the normal lifetime of the rats.

 

To provide a further assessment of this book, I refer to the words of two knowledgeable and respected scientists, one of whom, Jane Goodall, wrote the Foreword for the book. In her concluding words, she wrote: “Druker has, without doubt, written one of the most important books of the last 50 years; and I urge everyone I know, who cares about life on earth, and the future of their children, and children’s children, to read it. It will go a long way toward dispelling the confusion and delusion that has been created regarding the genetic engineering process and the foods it produces.”

 

The other experienced and knowledgeable scientist is Philip Regal, PhD, Professor Emeritus, College of Biologicsl Sciences, University of Minnesota. His comments on the book are these: “Steven Druker’s exceptionally well-researched and well-written book elucidates the scientific facts about genetically engineered foods that the PR myths have been obscuring. It provides a unique and invaluable resource not only for concerned citizens, but for historians of science and technology as well. In a comprehensive and skillful manner, it demonstrates how the integrity of science was compromised as a highly influential community of biologists with special interests in genetic engineering muddled scientific truth in order to protect the image of bioengineered foods and to advance their growing partnerships with big business and government. Ultimately, the book reveals that what’s at stake here is not only the safety of our food supply, but the future of science.”

Douglas M. Williams

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Vermont's historic first-in-the-nation Right-to-Know GMO Labeling Law - a CONCEPT SUPPORTED BY OVER 90% OF AMERICANS - is scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2016. The ample lead time is fair and designed to provide food companies with sufficient opportunity to conform to the new honesty and transparency requirements. Despite this display of the peoples' will being implemented, Industrial Food continues its self-serving whining and legal interference. "'For someone who doesn’t want to put that label on their products there are many, many avenues to go and many opportunities to find non-GMO ingredients,' Stander said. On July 1, she does not expect the grocery stores to look any different. She said consumer demand for non-GMO products is growing, and some manufacturers are responding. 'I think what we are going to see is a lot like what we’ve seen already; we’ve seen more and more products sprouting non-GMO labels on them,' Stander said." Jim

http://www.vnews.com/news/16618339-95/vt-ag-adopts-gmo-labeling-rules-for-food-retailers

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UPDATE. SELF-DEFENSE INITIATED AGAINST ANOTHER SERIAL CHARACTER ASSASSINATION INITIATED BY BIOTECH.

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Monday, 27 April 2015 Category Potatoes in History 0 Comments

The attack on Dr. Oz is yet another display of the clear pattern orchestrated to STIFFLE PUBLIC CRITICISM of their faulty genetically-engineered (GE) products. "A week after 10 doctors urged Columbia University to sever ties with Mehmet Oz, the celebrity doctor appeared on his syndicated television show to denounce allegations that he promotes 'quack treatments'..The doctors calling for Oz’s dismissal have included his stance on GMO labeling as one of their leading complaints...Henry Miller, the lead author of the Columbia letter, had previously criticized that segment in a piece for Slate, defending the apple as safe and calling Oz’s statements 'New Age nonsense'...'What Henry Miller does is he speaks on behalf of big corporations and he tells big lies on their behalf,' said Ruskin. Four of the doctors who signed the letter, including Miller, have at some point been associated with the American Council on Science and Health.
'They are rent-a-scientists,' Ruskin said about the council." Jim

http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2015/apr/23/dr-mehmet-oz-gmo-labeling-public-health-columbia-university

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Farmers turn to GMO-free crops to boost income FARMERS TURN TO GMO-FREE CROPS TO BOOST INCOME.

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Tuesday, 21 April 2015 Category Potatoes in History 0 Comments

Always good to hear of farmers doing independent thinking and following consumer demand. I also hope they keep going and transition from nonGE crops - leaving the toxic chemical treadmill behind - and become certified organic farmers. There is unmet demand for American certified organic grains and legumes. They will be better off, their customers will be better off and the environment will be better off.

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/money/agriculture/2015/04/18/non-gmo-farming/25951693/

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WILLIE NELSON THE FARMERS' FRIEND AND THIRTY YEARS OF FARM-AID.

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Tuesday, 21 April 2015 Category Potatoes in History 0 Comments

In the midst of hard times and a divided country, Willie is a force for bringing people together. Good article by the daughter of a Montana rancher. "After months of buildup, I got Willie on the other end of the phone line for 20 minutes. It was difficult to connect the wary, but kind, voice on the phone to the Willie Nelson of my youth. In my small Montana town, Willie was a living Western movie. We’d beg our parents for quarters in dusty bars to play songs like 'Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys.' It was just a little funny and a little sad when some of us babies went off to become doctors and lawyers and such. Even if we didn’t always agree with his politics, it felt like he was singing for and about rural America. As a progressive cowboy, Willie had his boots planted in two worlds, and he won a wide fanbase for it... In 1985, Nelson recognized the dire state of American agriculture, and launched Farm Aid...After three decades of farm advocacy work, how do things look to Willie? 'There is a lot of organic farming going on these days and it’s helped out the small family farmer. The farm-to-table markets are doing well,' he said. 'People have learned to buy locally and sustainably, and it’s turning into a better situation than it was, but it’s not perfect. There are still a lot of farmers out there in trouble.'" Jim

http://grist.org/people/willie-nelson-the-man-the-myth-and-what-he-means-to-farmers/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=EDIT%20Weekly&utm_campaign=weekly

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Honest organic farmers and loyal organic consumers deserve more than ignoring exposure of this serious problem.
"The Organic Foods Production Act, passed by Congress, is a good law but both the Bush and Obama administrations have rolled out the red carpet for corporate agribusiness lobbyists to shape organic regulations and enforcement with an emphasis on profit rather than organic integrity.
Over the past decade, Cornucopia has hammered the USDA and the White House on grossly incompetent, or intentionally harmful, management of the organic program. We have filed numerous legal complaints, some of which have shut down factory farms or constrained their production, while others have been ignored or dismissed.
So, throughout most of 2014, Cornucopia contracted with a professional aerial photography service to photograph 15 'certified organic' factory farms from West Texas to the eastern seaboard. We forwarded over 250 highly detailed 50-60 MB images to the USDA. We additionally provided scores of other satellite photos and supporting documentary material.
Our flyover campaign was the subject of an investigative report on December 11 in the Washington Post (so we know this landed on the USDA Secretary’s desk). And what have been the results?
Nothing." Jim

http://www.cornucopia.org/2015/04/see-no-evil/

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NEW COVERAGE OF ORGANIC COMMUNITY LAWSUIT AGAINST USDA.

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Monday, 20 April 2015 Category Potatoes in History 0 Comments

This article from Yankton, South Dakota confirms the broad reach of organic to the far corners of our country. “'This is a foundational lawsuit, which will impel the USDA to obey the law,' said Jim Gerritsen, president of the one of the plaintiffs, Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association in Washington, Maine. 'It is important that the organic community maintains its historical role of protecting the integrity of the organic industry.'"
“'We are deeply concerned that the organic decision-making process is being undermined by the USDA,' according to the plaintiffs’ joint statement. 'Legally, the agency’s decision represents a rule change and therefore must be subject to public comment.'" Jim

http://www.yankton.net/neighbors/article_cbd51040-e574-11e4-9ce3-d77a4c2e0967.html

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MONSANTO'S BIGGEST PROBLEM? PR SPIN CAN'T ERASE BAD KARMA.

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Monday, 20 April 2015 Category Potatoes in History 0 Comments

Monsanto's prospects sink as the truth becomes more widely known. "The allegations enraged the industry's critics, who have been busy touting recent reports linking popular herbicides often used in tandem with genetically engineered crops, or GMOs, to cancer and antibiotic resistance.
"Both controversies are renewing calls for tougher restrictions on certain herbicides and mandatory packaging labels for groceries containing GMO ingredients.
"'If true, this is a major scandal at the USDA,' wrote Gary Ruskin, director of the pro- labeling group US Right to Know, in a March 30 letter to the US House and Senate agricultural committees demanding an investigation. 'It is not the proper role of the USDA to engage in a cover up for Monsanto and other agrichemical companies.'" Jim

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/29992-monsanto-is-in-hot-water-again

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