OrganicAg News Issue #17 5th June 2014

With most of the harvest done,the cows dry,the fruit either on ship or in cool store,this is the time of year as primary producers we can be more involved off our production units;time to question our respective sectors and their leaders,time to engage and empower and direct those that speak on our behalf.
I congratulate MPI for the launch of the next stage of discussion on Direct Sales of Raw Milk,a good document with good timing (see below);all interested need to act now on this.
There are plenty of issues that will move a long way between now and when the demands of production again allows time to engage fully in the 'out of gate' issues that can so seriously affect our businesses.This of course will be all the more the case with a general election by the time we lift our heads from the demands of setting up the season ahead.
So to the issues that may fit those criteria.
Marsh v Baxter.
The challenge is to read  with an open mind,an ambition to understand the legal framework that we all live and work within.If we merely read with a reactionary state of mind we will continuously trip over our own emotion and preconceived position.
With understanding we may be able to alter the approach we take and achieve an outcome we can accept.
A summary of the Judgement by the WA Supreme Court;
and the full 150 page judgement;
some of the international media coverage.
Genetic modification test case highlights gaps in Australian regulations
"But in general terms, I think there will be a lot of interest in this case, purely because it's going to be setting a precedent. And I think that other courts will be looking at it in terms of how they can apply the principles that come from that decision."

Organic certifier defends role in GM court case

"The supply chain has had FSANZ (Food Standards Australia New Zealand) that's looked after all the concerns around food that we grow for people. All those bodies have been vindicated in the way they've gone about providing growers with choice with crop types they grow today."

Does Australia need laws for 'biotrespass' to protect organic farms?

The case went back to the basics of tort law. Justice Kenneth Martin cited Lord Atkin’s classic 1932 dictum in Donoghue v Stevenson:

"The rule that you are to love your neighbour becomes in law, you must not injure your neighbour, and the lawyer's question, 'Who is my neighbour?' receives a restricted reply."

In an epic 150-page judgment, Martin grappled with the complex factual matrix of the case, while also showing a certain wariness at the novelty of the dispute, and the public controversy over GM crops

GE Free NZ reaction.

New Zealand's reputation as a producer of safe, clean food will be destroyed by a handful of farmers deciding to use GE crops.

Did the certifier over react?

No Such Thing As GMO Contamination' Rules Australian Court in Landmark Decision, Rebuffing Organic Activists

The Australian court ruling has no direct impact upon U.S. law. While similar concerns and fears of “GMO contamination” are also widespread among organic farmers in the US, there has been no case in which an organic farmer has lost organic certification because of cross pollination. However, conventional growers have had grain rejected for shipment because of the presence of GMO seeds.

The US Department of Agriculture says there is no threshold for the amount of acceptable cross pollination, and handles the concern as such:

Unlike many pesticides, there aren’t specific tolerance levels in the USDA organic regulations for GMOs. As such, National Organic Program policy states that trace amounts of GMOs don’t automatically mean the farm is in violation of the USDA organic regulations. In these cases, the certifying agent will investigate how the inadvertent presence occurred and recommend how it can be better prevented in the future......................


That’s similar to the policy adopted by the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movement (IFOAM):

Organic certification shall not imply it is a ‘GE-free’ certification. Rather it shall be presented as guaranteeing ‘production without GE/GMOs’.  As there is no guarantee that organic products are 100% free … Organic producers and associations shall actively inform the consumers of this fact to insure fair marketing claims and to avoid future debates about consumer deception.

well worth a read to develop an informed and balanced understanding (Bill)

NZ legal viewpoint.

Mai Chen of ChenPalmer Law was to present at the Organic Sector Forum 2014, the session been 'The Right to Farm' and the topic was clarity around legal aspects of GE use in NZ, in particular the liability issue of cross farm boundary incursion and the Central Government relationship with Regional/Local Government relating to 'GE Free Declaration'.

As the Forum is no longer happening read the 'advice', it is not an easy read, it is however an essential read if you wish to engage in informed discussion on this topic rather than purely emotional reaction.

It is also an essential read if you are a farmer/grower whether you intend to grow GMO crops or someone in your district intends to;

Memorandum Advice relating to GE.pdf

Raw Milk—direct sales the next step.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is seeking public submissions on a consultation document that outlines options for the future sale of raw milk to consumers. We are sending you this letter because you made a submission on earlier proposals for raw drinking milk in 2011 and we thought you may still be interested in the issue.

for the letter of intent;

for the discussion document;

Organic Promotions will be submitting comment after discussing this at the June OrganicAg Pastoral Extension Groups. The Organic Promotions submission from 2011 can be viewed here;

On first read I find the intent to be forward looking and responsive to many of the submissions made in 2011, it is now time for those interested parties to step up and consolidate the forward path by way of engagement with MPI. I would again note that MPI had made a significant commitment to engage with the sector at the Organic Sector Forum 2014, just a shame the same could not be said of the organic and raw milk sectors.

Organic Farming ‘Could Sequester All Carbon Emissions’

Organic farming practices could sequester more than 100 percent of our current carbon emissions, according to research from the Rodale Institute.

We Are Soil.

Vandana Shiva.

Creative work in being stewards of the land and co-creators of living soil is not an “input” into a food system, but the most important output of good farming. It cannot be reduced to “labour” as a commodity. Land, too, is not a commodity. Creating, conserving, rejuvenating, fertile and living soil is the most important objective of civilisation. It is a regenerative output.

Antibiotics in food chain 'greater threat than terrorism' - Zac Goldsmith

A new report from the World Organisation for Animal Health says the widespread use of the drugs on farm animals is a key factor in increasing resistance to such drugs in humans. We asked Zac Goldsmith, a Conservative MP and former editor of The Ecologist magazine, how significant the risk to human health could be.
Read more:


Are Antibiotics Making You Fat?

Overweight? Don't blame your lack of self-control, blame your doctor - and farmers - for their heavy-handed use of antibiotics.

That's the argument in a new book by a leading microbiologist, Dr Martin Blaser.

He claims that the antibiotics we consume in meat and dairy products may be to blame for 'a mysterious array of modern plagues', including childhood diabetes, asthma, food allergies, autism and eczema.

Read more:

Bolthouse, Plum hot spots in tepid earnings report from Campbell Soup


Recent acquisitions in the natural space—Bolthouse Farms and Plum Organic—were among the bright spots in a disappointing quarterly earnings report for Campbell Soup Company.  The development points to changing sales patterns within the United States overall.

Organic Eggs Boost the French Market.

Organic eggs give a boost to the French egg market globally in trouble. According to CNPO (Centre National de la Promotion de l’Oeuf), sales of organic eggs in supermarkets and hypermarkets showed a revenue growth of 8.7 % in 2013, against an increase in all grades combined of only 2%.


One Degree Organic: like CPGs from the farmers’ market

By Maggie Hennessy, 29-May-2014

The founders of Canadian bakery products manufacturer One Degree Organic Foods think the current packaged food landscape has distanced consumers far too much from Mother Nature. They’re looking to narrow the gap between food producers and the end consumer with a line of 100% traceable sprouted breads, cereals, flours and seeds.


National Agricultural Fieldays.

June 11th to14th.Hamilton.

Some 16 companies are listed as organic for this event...............

read more here

Organic Expo.

Auckland July 5th & 6th.

New Zealand's Consumer and Trade Sustainability Show, 4th year in 2014, unveils "4 shows under 1 roof". It will showcase the range of creative and responsible products, organic, services and innovation already available and soon to be, which can help us all live a healthier lifestyle and achieve a healthier planet. -

more here;

Video of Issue.

Yeo Valley marketing their dairy range---in rap!

Celebrating the International Year of the Family Farm.

James and Annie Millton  mark 25 years of organic/biodynamic grape production and wine making in  2014, heavily involved in the development of the NZ organic wine sector James is currently the Chair of Organic Wine New Zealand.

Millton was the first producer in New Zealand to attain BioGro certification for organic wine production in 1989. Having practiced traditional methods of cultivation and production centred on biodynamic principles since inception, Millton was the first winegrower in the Southern Hemisphere to gain the biodynamic certification Demeter in 2009........................

Celebrating 30 years of wine production.
Organic Wine NZ.

Website of Issue.

With GE/GMO/Transgenic/ Zinc Finger Nuclease or any other name used to describe the what we all refer to as GE, it is important to be informed on organisations that question and challenge those advocating these practises. With the WA ruling I am sure the current NZ Government and the likes of Federated Farmers will see this as a green light to push the final aspects their ambitions.

Quote of Issue;

We can no longer just sell a product. We must also sell the production system, sell the experience,and we must guarantee safety, New Zealand has what it perceives as a marketing opportunity in today’s world, a clean green image.That image needs to be part of every food export that leaves these shores. The clear streams and rolling green hills that are the envy of the world and created our clean green image didn’t happen by accident. They came from our ability to control our environment. From 2-45,T and our ability to control weeds such as blackberry and gorse. From DDT that kept grass grub at bay. From the manufactured fertiliser that made grass and crops grow. And from aerial topdressing that put fertiliser where it was wanted, when it was wanted.It came from yesterdays technologies.

And while some of these technologies are frowned upon today they were leading edge in their time—the knowledge economy of yesterday.
Russell Jordan
Chairman Fresh Vegetable Sector.
Commercial Grower (magazine)
August 2000.
(speech to the annual conference)
from Bill—the first part (4 sentences) reads well enough, 14 years on where do the industry leaders stand?

Be sure to forward this to your networks if you find it useful or interesting---encourage others to subscribe---

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