Don is a graduate of California State University, Fresno with a degree in Biology. Since 1981, Don has been the Vice President and General Manager of Terranova Ranch Inc., located 25 miles SW of Fresno, California, farming approximately 6,000 acres, in addition to 1,500 acres custom farmed for other clients. The farm has a mix of conventional, organic and biotech crops ranging from organic pima cotton, walnuts, seed product, and tomatoes to biotech alfalfa, corn and Pima and upland cotton, along with a diversity of other annual crops. Perennial crops grown include organic and conventional walnuts, conventional wine grapes, almonds, pistachios, olives, and prunes.
Don was appointed by State Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross to the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Cannella Environmental Farming Act Science Panel in 2011. Additionally, Don recently served on an appointment at the federal level on the Working Group for the Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture (AC21).
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Q: If I am an organic farmer, and GMO technology contaminates my crops, do I have any recourse? How do I regain my organic certification? What do I do with my contaminated crops? Who is held responsible, and what damages can I claim?
A: I am an organic farmer and have been since 1993. I am also a conventional farmer and have been growing biotech crops since 1998. No organic farmer has ever lost his certification due to inadvertent GMO presence in his crop. The federal National Organic Program (NOP) has stated that as long as the organic grower did not intentionally use “excluded methods”―e.g., GM seed is an excluded method in organic production―a grower will not lose his organic certification. So, unless an organic grower intentionally plants a crop with GM traits, the certification of his organic land and crops will not be [...]Business Practices GMOs & Farmers