Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Restricted Use Pesticide Texas 20,000 to 50,000 lbs. in 2010 and 2011 to 280,000 pounds per year

TEXAS Stop the Super Weed/Monsanto Attack Last Day to Comment...
What’s Happening Right Now in Texas is Utterly Destroying Monsanto’s “Sustainable” Farming Claims
While the agrochemical and GMO giant Monsanto claims to be a “sustainable” company on its web page, the ongoing, persistent and potentially devastating problem of superweeds is just one of many reasons why its claims do not appear to hold water, as many grassroots activists have noted in light of recent events. In Texas, for example, millions of acres of genetically modified cotton are now at risk of being lost, with the use of heavy, harsh chemicals the only proposed solution yet again.
A petition was filed by the Texas Department of Agriculture with the EPA recently to allow the emergency use of the toxic herbicide propazine in order to save one of its major crops: genetically modified cotton, from the emerging growth of the farm chemical-resistant weeds, making life difficult for the state’s many farmers.
The request, which was filed on June 18, is now open for public comments until July 3, which the EPA says it will consider before making the decision of whether to grant the request.
According to the Center for Food Safety, Texas’ GMO cotton is under attack by a familiar foe that has been ravaging genetically modified crops in various spots across the country: a glyphosate-resistant type of Palmer amaranth, aka the pigweed, which is popping up across GMO fields en masse and forcing many to hire workers to chop them down by hand.
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s ubiquitous Roundup herbicide; thus far, 14 different glyphosate resistant “superweeds” have been documented in GMO fields.
Ironically, the hearty, persistent “weed” is actually more nutritious than the GMO crops it has been infesting, including in the Midwest where a potentially “devastating” infestation is threatening genetically modified corn and soy.
Three Million Acres of Poison” in Texas?
The Texas Department of Agriculture is requesting what would amount to a 10-fold increase in the use of the banned chemical (since 2010) according to the Center for Food Safety, “from just 20,000 to 50,000 lbs. in 2010 and 2011  to 280,000 pounds per year.”
“Herbicide-resistant crops lead to increased herbicide use and this is just the beginning,” said Bill Freese, Science Policy Analyst at Center for Food Safety.
“Monsanto, Dow Chemical, and the other pesticide-seed giants have developed a host of genetically engineered crops that will trigger a huge spike in the use of toxic weed-killers. This is hazardous to farmers, to consumers and to the environment.”
Texas hopes to use the toxic chemical on up to three million acres of cotton, the vast majority of which is GMO, which amounts to “hundreds of thousands of pounds of the pesticide, a chemical solution that has been banned due to its toxicity by the European Union.
In the U.S., propazine is considered a “possible human carcinogen,” a category the EPA uses for particularly hazardous farming chemicals. It’s considered an endocrine disruptor that disrupts the hormonal system, much like the infamous chemical atrazine, and one that causes birth defects when fed to pregnant rats according to the Center for Food Safety.
Propazine also takes years to break down, and has been found in both ground and surface water samples.
The proposed amount of three million acres to be sprayed with the banned chemical represents about ¼ of the U.S.’ annual production of cotton, and about 90 percent of all U.S. cotton is GMO, although the number has been dropping.
Freese continued, calling on major governmental organizations to curb the use of agricultural poisons.
“USDA and EPA need to do their job of protecting American citizens and agriculture by rejecting this request. They should also stop these companies’ from introducing more pesticide-promoting, genetically engineered crops,” he said.
“This request clearly demonstrates that herbicide-resistant crops – by generating an epidemic of resistant weeds – lead directly to increased use of hazardous chemicals,” “EPA should reject this request.” ?

Roundup in Texas: Spray Drift Showdown in the GM Cotton Fields

Eric Herm and his father farm over 6000 organic acres in Texas. He is the fourth generation of his family to run his farm. And now he is conflict with the neighbours he has known all his life because they are all GM farmers and their spraying is killing his crops. This is his story:

"I can't tackle Monsanto in court. But I will not hesitate to sue my neighbours if roundup spraying continues to damage our farming."
As an organic and non-GMO cotton farmer, I wake up each and every morning to an uneasy notion: We are surrounded and heavily outnumbered.
 Over 100,000 acres of cotton is planted in my home county (Howard) here in West Texas. More than 90 percent of that is genetically modified cotton these days.
 Every field on our farm either borders or is within one mile of fields where Roundup Ready cotton is planted year after year. On a 20-mile stretch of road between my house and our farthest field, we're the only family farm remaining that is not planting GMO crops.
 Still, it's not about the odds. It's about what is right. It's about creating more life, not vanquishing it.
 Poisoned and invaded
 Each spring, neighbours begin firing up their 100-foot, $200,000 spray rigs, pumping out gallon after gallon of Roundup, filling our environment with hundreds of millions of gallons of the nation's highest-selling herbicide.
 Some spray in 20 mph+ winds, which happen almost daily here from February to July. It's as if climbing on board one of these menacing spray rigs convinces some people the laws of physics do not apply. Not only can technology make us apathetic and arrogant, it can also make us ignorant.
 Some neighbours assure me, "I'd never intentionally drift on you." Or my personal favourite, "I'm only putting out ten pounds of pressure. It won't drift."  Really? Ever heard of parts per million?
 One neighbour sprayed in 30mph winds blowing straight toward my 250 acres of organic cotton. My plants had just reached the surface, knowing sunlight for almost 48 hours before he blasted away like a machine-gun sniper, picking off millions of baby plants in a matter of minutes. The front 50 acres looks like a bomb went off on the surface.
 Often, Roundup will not kill the plants. They merely suffocate, struggling to survive until they process the poison out of their system. This often takes up to three weeks, stunting the crops. They're unable to grow or mature during this time-frame. All of their energy goes into surviving. This impacts the yield and overall vitality of the crop.
 The real "tattle-tales" in nature are the Roundup Ready cotton plants I find sporadically in my field. They represent one to two percent of the total population, but when a completely healthy plant stands six inches taller than the rest, you know what it is and how real the seed contamination risks are in our business.
 To date this season, we've had more than 300 acres damaged by Roundup drift. I've turned in four cases to the TDA (Texas Department of Agriculture). The crops won't recover this season. Neither will my blood pressure.
 Taking a stand and fighting back
 We're not the only farmers experiencing this. Every organic cotton farmer I know goes through this every spring. And it's getting worse. Each season, some GMO farmers get more and more careless in the conditions in which they spray, affecting all those around them.
 Some non-GMO farmers are giving up and planting GM seeds rather than cause problems with neighbours or standing up in this fight. This worries me. Why are not more farmers willing to make a stand? What are we afraid of? If we don't make the stand, who will?
 Of the 12 million plus acres of cotton planted each year in the U.S., more than 90 percent are GMOs. Less than 14,000 acres are organic. Farmers as a whole are an endangered species since we represent about one percent of the U.S. population, but organic and non-GMO farmers are becoming as scarce as a Mexican spotted owl in the wild.
 If we stay silent in these times; then shame on us. If we continue to take the beatings of chemical drift, and GMO contamination from cross-pollination, without fighting back, then how do expect to ever survive this invasion of our rights to farm in a healthier manner?
 How do we expect organic and non-GMO agriculture to survive for future generations?  We need more education and awareness spread in our farming communities on herbicide drift problems, but that won't happen if we remain silent. It won't happen unless we are willing to stand up and fight.
 Neighbours becoming enemies
 Out of 25 potential neighbours, we only have one who calls us to let us know he is spraying. Just one. Being a "neighbourly" farmer has taken on a new look in the 21st century for most.
Speaking with one neighbour (who farms close to 10,000 acres of GM cotton) I've known my entire life on the phone, he stated, "I just hate to see you make enemies." My response was, "Making enemies is not my intention. Getting their attention is."
 And with Monsanto's future line of 2-4,D resistant GM seeds. I've made a decision. No more neighbourly discounts. I don't care if it is my cousin, best friend, or anyone else, but any and every time I suspect Roundup drift, I'm dealing with the TDA.
 At least they provide free testing on tissue analysis for glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup.) Plus, my neighbours have to provide spraying data sheet information, as well as uncomfortable interviews and investigations from the TDA. Fines and fees may be assessed. This summer alone, more than a dozen different neighbours have had to submit spray logs and conduct interviews with a TDA agent. They can count on more of the same in the future.
 Fighting for our future and for agriculture and healthy food
 I stay vigilant, monitoring every section of our fields. I'm constantly reminding our neighbors to please not spray in high winds. There is very little education and awareness when it comes to herbicide drift. Most farmers don't believe these chemicals will drift more than 100 yards. I've seen them drift up to one mile. Most farmers think simply because winds are below 10mph, these chemicals won't drift. Many biological factors come into play such as humidity, inversion, soil and moisture conditions.
 Most likely, I can't tackle Monsanto in the court of law. But I will not hesitate to sue my own neighbours if this recklessness continues to damage our farming operation and abilities to grow non-GMO plants each and every season. That's a fair fight. It is an unfortunate one. But at least it is fair. I don't know any billionaire farmers.
 Am I popular right now in my farming community? Not at all. But at least my neighbours now know what I'm willing to do to protect our crops. Is this the end-all of my predicament? Hardly. But I am able and willing to fire back.
 As organic and non-GMO farmers, we're expected to always be defensive because we're in the minority these days. Playing offense is the only way we can expect to protect the health of our own crops and land, as well as agriculture's future. We must be determined to stand up against the invasion of destructive chemicals even if that means standing up against our own neighbours.
 Visit Eric Herm’s website at for more information.


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