This is a guest post by Meg Hamill, a freelance writer who also works at LandPaths in partnership with the Open Space District of Sonoma County, California.
California passes its first law protecting farmers who have not been able to prevent GE contamination of their non GE crops.
We’ve all heard the horror stories: A farmer’s crop is contaminated by Genetically Engineered (GE) seeds, and that farmer is subsequently harassed and brought to court by the biotech patent owners (such as Monsanto) of those seeds. In some cases, that farmer has also been held liable for contaminating other farmer’s crops with his own unintentionally contaminated crop. Just this week, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a landmark piece of legislation, protecting California’s farmers from just such liability.
It is the first bill to be passed by the California Legislature that brings regulation to the Genetically Engineered (GE) crops. The bill, AB541 (Huffman, D-Marin/Sonoma) protects and compensates farmers who have not been able to prevent GE contamination of their non-GE crop. AB541 was sponsored by a coalition of agriculture organizations and food businesses, including California Certified Organic Farmers, Earthbound Farm and the California Farm Bureau Federation.
The bill also requires mandatory crop sampling when the biotech patent owners investigate alleged violations.
Source: Organic Consumers Association
Photo Source: Photo from Flickr.com under a Creative Commons License
Meg Hamill has been working in the environmental non-profit field in Northern California for the past six years. She currently works as a naturalist for LandPaths (in partnership with the Open Space District) in Santa Rosa California. She teaches poetry in the public school through California Poets in the Schools (CPITS) and has traveled extensively throughout South and Central America, picking up Spanish along the way. In 1999 she completed a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. Meg holds an MFA in Creative Writing and has published two books of political/environmental poetry. Read more, buy books and e-mail Meg at www.meghamill.com.