Organic Farmer Nervous About GMOs

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Tue, June 5 2012 at 6:31 PM, Updated: Sun, August 26 2012 at 11:54 AM

Organic farmer Steven Gidley said he loves his job.

"It is one of the best lives you could have," said Gidley.

However, he's worried his organic crops could be contaminated and destroyed by pollen carried by air from genetically modified plants also known as GMOs.

"You absolutely couldn't sell your seed as organic," began Gidley.

"I would go from having the potential of a couple thousand dollars in seed to zero," he continued.

He said he suspects his plants are contaminated because just last week a man with Syngenta -- a GMO seed manufacturer approached him.

"If there was no chance of cross contamination I would see no reason why Syngenta would be coming to my place," said Gidley.

He continued, "He was asking if I would sell it to him and I said I could, but ethically not in this lifetime"

NBC 5 contacted a spokesman from Syngenta, he said the company often checks areas around GMO farms to try and lessen the possibility of cross-contamination.

"If this farmer's crop was say within the prescribed distance which I believe is four miles, then it's customary [...] in some cases what we will do is offer to buy a crop from a farmer," said Paul Minehart, Head of Corporate Communications in North America for Syngenta.

"Our goal is to make sure our crops remain pure to also make sure anyone elses crop remains pure [...] so we're happy to be there, we intende to be there for a long time," said Minehart.

Meantime, organic farmer Gidley says he'll continue to refuse any offers.

Gidley said he believes it's Syngenta's responsibility to move their crops.

Minehart from Syngenta said they've contacted the USDA to make sure all guidelines are being met.

About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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