Posts Tagged ‘Genetically Modified Organisms’

GMO Free Zone

Posted on April 25th, 2011 by Organic  |  No Comments »

Open letter to the Saguache County Commissioners:

Friends, As you may have heard, the federal government has approved the use of Genetically Modified
Alfalfa in the USA with no restrictions. It appears the USDA has caved in to corporate pressure
from the likes of Monsanto who will profit from the sale of these seeds as well
as from the sale of the herbicide Roundup. This transpired despite overwhelming
public comment against the approval of a crop that has the ability to cross
pollinate with non-GMO alfalfa over large distances potentially contaminating
farmers crops. It is possible that these modified genes could spread across the
entire country, virtually eliminating organic and non-GMO farming of alfalfa,
the countries 4th largest crop. Alfalfa, unlike other GMO crops
grows wild in ditches and roadsides enabling the mutant genes to spread

What many do not know is that in a lawsuit claiming damages due to GMO contamination the
burden of proof is on the farmer (claimant), making compensation much harder to
obtain and for most, financially impossible. Monsanto and other large
corporations are standing behind those that use their products in lawsuits
around the world. Family farmers have no chance against the bio-tech behemoths.

Another disturbing trend is that many weeds are becoming resistant to Roundup, causing
producers to use more of this herbicide and eventually resorting to other more
harmful chemicals. Current studies indicate that 11 million acres in the USA are showing
resistance to Roundup. In Roundup Ready corn, producers are finding that the
plants do not have the resistance that the older varieties had to other problems
such as insects & pathogens. Alarmingly, GMO pollen may be contributing to
a decline in the bee population that we all depend on for the production of most
fruits, nuts and other foods. Why are we taking this risk?

While the First Lady grows an organic garden on the grounds of the White House, her
husband’s administration approves GMO crops for mass consumption. I understand
that the First Family eats organic food on a regular basis. Do they know
something the general public should know?

What can be done? I think that the San Luis Valley
could be a safe haven for non-GMO crops creating a significant marketing niche
for farmers here. Our mountainous ecosystem provides a barrier to contamination
from GMO crops in the lowlands. This could allow us to produce clean alfalfa
for sale to organic dairies around the country. It’s also likely that
conventional milk producers will eventually choose to offer products that claim
to be GMO free, just as they have with Bovine Growth Hormone and antibiotics.

Additionally, the San Luis Valley could be a source for clean seed for organic producers who may not be able to
find seeds that meets organic production standards due to GMO contamination.

It is likely that some in the valley might want to plant the new GMO alfalfa seed. However,
this valley is home to a large community of organic farmers who could lose
their livelihood if their crops become contaminated with GM alfalfa. I propose
that the Saguache County Commissioners declare the county GMO
free. Then take it another step, approaching the other counties in the valley
to join us.  This has the potential to be
a significant economic boost for the valley well worth considering.

I am interested in what others think. Contact me at:


Thomas D. McCracken