News Feature | February 25, 2014

What Can Form A Better Marriage Than Biotechnology And Organic Farming

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By Liisa Vexler

A new campaign has begun to combine biotechnology with organic farming. The war cry of “Coexistence” has become the symbol for cleaning up Australia’s farms. The notion of sustainability is nothing new, but when Steve Marsh took on Michael Baxter in the landmark case Marsh v Baxter, the Agricultural Biotechnology Council of Australia decided it was time to step in and do something. The council launched their new website to provide information to those interested, which is appropriately named “Coexistence.”

When Steve Marsh’s farm was allegedly contaminated by canola material manufactured by GM, he sought compensation in court. Through the incident, he lost over 70% of his organic farm capability. Frustrated by what happened and resolving to improve the rights of farm owners, he took retribution. That has sparked the council to join forces with other like-minded agricultural superstars to his defense, and the defense of all organic growers across Australia.

The founding members named are Crop Life Australia, Aus Biotech, the National Farmers Federation and GRDC. Crop Life, a separate entity, is known as a lobbyist group who stands firmly on the side of agricultural biotechnology. Their specific target is genetic modification technology. They insist that their new campaign is really all about getting information out to the public. The council’s ultimate goal is to petition, lobby and advocate on the part of organic farmers everywhere who have made a commitment to cleaner fields for the biotechnology industry.