OrganicAg News issue #6 February 2014


The world focuses on a couple of farmers in Western Australia this week, for many this is the only story that counts!

GM Vs. Organic or simply 'The Right to Farm'?

For me the argument is not just can a farmer choose GM, it is, can his choice, be it avocados, apples, pigs, dairy, organic,etc, have a lawful negative impact on an adjoining or nearby business or enterprise of another lawful entity?

Take a look at the coverage and the case.

Follow-up on the Steve Marsh court case—Western Australia. From issue #4.

Now that the first week of this courtcase has taken place –lets revisit and see where this is at.

the background;

.......certified organic, that I wasn't going to go broke at the same time." He didn't go broke. Quite the opposite. Before long, he was selling to artisanal bakeries in the big cities, where people would pay $7 a loaf for organic spelt bread. He started milling flour, and running some organic fat lambs. Business was good.

For some time, though, Marsh had been bracing himself for the moment that came that November morning almost three years ago. He was repairing a fence along the boundary...........

The daily report from the courtroom;

In order to establish the common law remedy recommended by State governments as a remedy for expected economic loss caused by contamination,  Tort law is applicable. This case involves both negligence and nuisance. Negligence requires the injured party to establish, on the balance of probabilities, that the defendant owed them a duty of care, they breached that duty of care and they suffered actual loss. Nuisance involves causing unreasonable damage of a plaintiffs enjoyment of his land.

The ABC take on this;

Chair of PGA's western grain growers John Snooke is frustrated by the lack of public support for choice in agriculture and the advantages of new technologies.

"When you look at the facts, Michael Baxter has done nothing wrong other than grow a legal crop.

"When you push the alarmism aside, the case is very clear, that Steve Marsh is trying to impose unnecessary conditions on his neighbour and trying to stop him growing GM canola.

or from the UK;

NZ; The Environment Court rules....................

The Environment Court decision recently released [1] has upheld the right for the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, in its Regional Policy statement, to place wording for a precautionary approach to be taken on the growing of genetically modified (GMO) crops in the region.....................

or this .....

Herbal Ley pasture works?

For years the organic sector has been belittled for the use of 'weeds', we prefer to call herbs, and now the wider industry is catching up............

........And the ewe hoggets weaned 1.2kgs heavier than those on pasture."

Lambs off plantain also graded better than off grass.

"It was clear the plantain lambs graded better, yielded better and put on weight faster."

Natural or Native?

well worth a read;

......The word "natural" and its derivatives such as "nature's way", "nature's own", "grown naturally", a "product of nature" and "naturally organic" are tossed into product advertising like minties at a lolly scramble.

They convey a feeling that something, a product or a process, is honest and true, as in the way Mother Nature intended, and not artificial or false, in the sense of being man- made.....................

Natural ? Organic? what's in a name?

Colle Farmers Market, a leading organic food advocate, discusses the differences between natural and organic foods, and how the marketing industry has recently blurred the lines.

According to a February 4th article from Food Navigator titled "'Natural' means whatever food marketers want it to mean, says new organic food campaign," marketers have begun to label many

US organic crop insurance change.

Organic producers were first able to obtain crop insurance under the Agricultural Risk Protection Act of 2000. However, due to the lack of data, organic farmers were initially charged an additional 5 percent surcharge and were only able to insure the "conventional price" for their crop – not the organic price.  Many organic producers felt the surcharge was not justified and that crop insurance prices needed to better reflect what they received in the marketplace. -

See more at:

Danish government considers dropping VAT on organic meats

By By Gerard O'Dwyer, in Helsinki, 10-Feb-2014

Denmark's ministry of agriculture (MoA) is examining a proposal, supported by the country's farming, retailing and consumer groups, to abolish VAT on organic products, including meat. The ministry is expected to deliver a decision once Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt's centre-left administration completes its budgetary review in April.

Demand for organics on the rise in UK.

A powerful organic marketing campaign, set up by growers and retailers, plus better availability has boosted demand

Supermarkets and food associations have claimed that demand for organic fruit and vegetables is on the rise.

or the Guardian;

and in Scotland;

Annual organic sales figures for 2013 are likely to show their first increase for five years when they are published on March 12 by the Soil Association..................


Korean training day.

Recent changes in South Korean Organic Regulation may have an effect on you and your customers' business.

This one day seminar addresses the practical issues and solutions. It will be delivered by Sth Korean and NZ experts

When: Tuesday 25 February 2014 Where: 30fl ANZ Centre, 23 - 29 Albert St Auckland City

Main points of the seminar include:

Investigating the impact of the newly enforced "Act on Promotion of Environmental-friendly Agriculture and Fisheries, and Management and Support for Organic Foods" Overview of the Korean organic standards Learning the process now involved in receiving Korean organic certification Gaining an understanding of the Korea market and how to approach it

Cost: NZD$550 +gst per organisation 2-3 people
NZD$330 +gst per organisation 1 person.
Includes all training morning and afternoon tea and lunch.

Contact: Brendan Hoare or +64 (0)27 288 8618 for more details and a registration form.

Second National Conference on Biological Farming Systems 20 and 21 February 2014

The soil and water resources affect all aspects of New Zealand life. These resources must be protected and nourished so that it will continue to look after us long into the future. Rotorua is an ideal location due to the growing local and national emphasis on water quality.

The theme of the 2nd national conference is "Biological farming under different land uses", reflecting the vital role of biological farming in sustaining our economy, our environment, and our communities.

Programme now available.

Field of Farmers.

February 23rd 2014.

RegenAg are incredibly excited to announce the return of Joel Salatin for a one day workshop titled "Field of Farmers".

Registration numbers in both NZ and Australia don't support Daniel and Sheri (Joel's son and daughter in law) joining Joel on the tour as planned. While we were looking forward to hearing their "side of the Polyface story" their withdrawal gives us a whole day to experience Joel's wisdom & wit.

Celebrating the International Year of the Family Farm.

True Earth Organics supply fruit, vegetables, cerals and dairy farm support feed to a cross section of the organic sector. Also active in both organic and community groups (Hawkes Bay Vege. Growers).

Scott Lawson and partner Vicki Meech are committed to growing Bio-Gro certified organic berryfruit and vegetables. They are currently one of the largest producers of certified organic berry fruit and vegetables in New Zealand.  Pioneers in their field, they started as a one man band in 1992 and became certified organic in 1994.

Website of issue;

From the USA.

The Cornucopia Institute, through research and investigations on agricultural and food issues, provides needed information to family farmers, consumers and other stakeholders in the good food movement and to the media. We support economic justice for the family-scale farming community – partnered with consumers – backing ecologically produced local, organic and authentic food.

Check who 'owns' organic companies—you may be surprised!

In 1995 there were 81 independent organic processing companies in the United States. A decade later, Big Food had gobbled up all but 15 of them

and who owns the worlds seed industry?

Since the 2008 economic downturn, Dr. Howard notes that "there have been more than 70 seed company acquisitions by the top eight firms, as well as a number of biotech company acquisitions and joint ventures."  Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta now control over half the global market – a dramatic shift since 1996 when the top three corporations in the global seed industry controlled 22% of the industry

Quote of this issue.

"At present there is a small but vociferous body of opinion that conventional farming based on modern technology is detrimental to the well-being of the soils on which we farm and to the health of those consuming our farm products.The cry is for a return to methods of production of earlier decades and centuries based on a full return and build up of soil organic matter and the stimulation of microbial activity to promote the greater formation of humus.......................

...............It is suggested that New Zealand farmers, who already harness biological farming processes better than any other country in the western world, should go several steps further along this pathway so as to be able claim a premium price for produce grown under completely biological farming systems."

R.S. Scott

Assistant Director(Soil and Plant)

Agricultural Research Division

Ministry Agriculture & Fisheries.

Preface to the ' Report on Biological Farming' ,NZ MAF 1983.

untill next issue.

Bill Quinn,
Organic Promotions.
R.D.4 Paeroa. 3674.
Organics'---integrity through transparency!