Posts Tagged ‘organic’


Posted on January 14th, 2014 by Organic  |  No Comments »

There are new regulations being proposed by USDA APHIS concerning the ability of Bio-Tech crops and Organic or NON-GMO crops to “co-exist”. Post your own comment at Here is my comment:

GMO crops are inherently incompatible with Non-GMO and or Organically raised crops due to the possibility of contamination. As the law is now, a contaminated farmer would have a very difficult time receiving compensation for the lost market value and even perhaps the loss of Organic Certification for the crop or the acreage. Even worse, the owner of the GMO patent might sue the farmer for patent infringement. This system is unfair, unsustainable and un-American. I do not believe that this situation has not changed. From my perspective the huge Biotech companies have close to free range to ruin the genomes of basic food crops such as corn and soy, and are so powerful as to intimidate both the government and food producers into compliance with their wishes. This puts profit before people and real food safety. The USDA, EPA and FDA should be protecting us from these threats, not supporting fast track approval of one after the other of these very dangerous organisms.

If regulatory avenues are not working against these giants with the ability to lobby politicians into compliance with their wishes, then give the people the chance to decide with the food dollars they spend and LABEL GMO FOOD!

Sustainable Farming? Really?

Posted on February 14th, 2013 by Organic  |  No Comments »

Baxter Black, Cowboy poet and author of a weekly syndicated column recently wrote a column (week of Feb. 7th) claiming Biotech companies such as Monsanto, Dow, Pfizer etc. saved the world from starvation by creating chemical alternatives to crop production and GMO crops. I disagree and here is my response:

Dear Mr. Black,

I usually enjoy reading your weekly column but occasionally you change horses so to speak and attack environmentalists, animal rights groups and now “sustainable farming” and though not mentioned specifically, but by association, “organic agriculture”. While many of your articles put a righteous human face on those that are in the business of raising this nation’s food, and give much respect and credence to the personalities the animals we raise certainly have, these few out of character articles attack those who in my opinion most represent the values and ideals you champion in your column.

The farmers and ranchers you vilify want to raise healthy food, make a profit, respect the animals they raise, and do it in such a way as not to destroy the land, water and wildlife they love.  Farmers were once told to plow from fence row to fence row.  Grow the same crop in succession. Pour the chemicals to it. Yields down? They have a new chemical for it. Who profited from these practices?

Not farmers apparently. Farming is not one of those valued and respected professions. The number of farmers continues to decrease as consolidation in the industry increases. The average age of a farmer is in the late 50’s. A cubicle looks pretty good to a young person compared to the rigors of farming vs. the returns.

Not the environment. Toxic chemicals continue to contaminate watersheds and aquifers, especially in agricultural areas. Cancer rates are shy high among agricultural workers.  Species of wildlife are disappearing at an unprecedented rate. Fisheries are dying off.  Weeds are becoming resistant to herbicides; bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics.  The globe is heating up, ice sheets are melting, ocean levels are rising, disasters of huge proportions are straining FEMA’s budget. Dependence on chemicals is similar to drug addiction; you always need a bigger fix.

Not commodity prices either. As the yields you show on the graph increase, the costs of inputs, fuel, labor and machinery also skyrocket while the price for a bushel of grain has not increased proportionately.  My grandfather used to make a good living on 120 acres. Now 600 acres is not enough ground to support a family growing corn and soy. It was you that lamented in a recent column how many more steers it took to buy a new pick-up truck than it did back in the day.

The farmer that looks beyond today, that rotates his crops, that leaves stubble on the ground to prevent wind and water erosion, that increases the soils tilth, sequestering carbon, increasing the soils capacity to absorb water and allowing roots to penetrate deeply, whose soils are not as subject to erosion, that have a healthy population of earthworms and beneficial organisms, that have healthy populations of beneficial insects to naturally combat pests and weed populations are controlled by healthy stands of mixed species of beneficial plants, those are the “sustainable” farmers.  Honey bees can actually survive on a “sustainable farm”.

I do not believe that new chemicals and technology that move away from natural systems are the answer to feeding the world. I do not believe that in the 3rd world it is sustainable to teach and subsidize farming methods that are totally reliant on chemical inputs.  If 50% of the money spent on researching a chemical alternatives to food production was spent researching sustainable agriculture, I believe equal progress would be made toward sustainable solutions.

Organic food consumption continues to grow and now many universities are teaching sustainable methods in conventional agriculture. You cannot foul your own nest and expect to raise healthy young. I think you are riding a Shetland in the Kentucky Derby on this issue. Do you have any corporate sponsors?

Thomas D. McCracken

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

Insect Season

Posted on March 11th, 2011 by Organic  |  No Comments »

Those pesky insects will be out and about all too soon. Mosquitoes, no-see-ums, biting flies, sweat bees and other bugs can be so irritating. Questions about the safety of the chemical DEET have been increasing of late prompting many to seek a natural alternative. Our all natural insect repellent is not only proven effective, but is made with many organic ingredients that are actually beneficial to the skin. Our customers have used this product in Africa, India and other countries around the world. Here in the San Luis Valley of Colorado we have some of the nastiest bugs around during the early summer and the locals have been using our insect repellent for years with great results. This product will be in high demand soon, so order now and be ready! Available in a convenient spray bottle.  Read More