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Aerial glyphosate spraying threatens organic gardens built by awarding-winning environmentalists


(NaturalNews) As technology advances big agriculture is discovering new and inventive ways to poison the remaining organic food on the planet, as evidenced by what is currently taking place Down Under.

As reported by WAToday, some South West farmers are drawing attention to what they see as a danger to their ability to make a living after state government officials launched an aerial pesticide spraying program near their organic farming operation.

Farmers Jeff Pow and Michelle McManus have jointly owned Southampton Homestead, which is located near Balingup, since 2010. After purchasing the property they began a successful endeavor that is based on holistic land management, which is a farming method that restores pastures to their original, chemical-free state while using animals to build and sustain biodiversity organically.

So successful have they been that the pair managed to win the 2015 WA Landcare award for their innovation and sustainable farming system. Now they have been named as finalists for a national award in the same category for this year.

Their business model incorporates the sale of fresh produce and poultry at market that have each been raised completely organically, with no chemicals whatsoever. However, that model is increasingly being put in danger because of local aerial spraying of pesticides and other chemicals including Monsanto's glyphosate-containing Roundup. Now, Pow says he has rising concerns about how the sprayed chemicals will impact his wholesome produce.

'Our customers will be unwilling to keep purchasing'

"These compounds will leach into the river and directly destroy the algal microbial communities which are the foundation of the food chain in this water system," he told WAToday." This will devastate the marron and fish populations, including brown trout, rainbow trout and redfin, that currently inhabit the waterway.

"Losing the marron is particularly concerning as Southampton have started farming them as a new enterprise," Pow continued.

Government officials, including Forest Products Commission general manager Gavin Butcher, said his panel alerted locals to the spraying program and are now working with many of them to resolve issues.

"The sawlogs from this plantation will be used to supply the Western Australian softwood industry," he said.?"Weed control in young pine plantations is required to ensure the seedlings' successful development and plantation productivity.

"The FPC has obligations under the Forest Management Plan 2014-2023 and the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007 to control declared weeds present within their plantation," he added.

But clearly the spraying puts organic operations like the own jointly owned by Pow and McManus in jeopardy. Pow noted that because of the aerial program now the pair will have to adopt an expensive testing system to ensure that crops and livestock remain organic.

"Should the results come back positive, it will effectively end our enterprise as the customers that buy our products are purchasing a clean, green and natural food," he said.

"We sell 12,000 chickens a year and our customers will be unwilling to keep purchasing if the produce has any detectable levels of the compounds being applied by the FPC."

'We applaud those EU governments'

In Europe, there is a major backlash taking place against glyphosate as well. Sustainable Pulse reports that European Union member states have even refused to agree to renew temporary licenses to use the product:

In April, the European Parliament?called for a ban on all private uses of glyphosate, as well as spraying around public parks and playgrounds. It also opposed glyphosate spraying just ahead of harvesting, and called for the immediate disclosure of all scientific evidence used by the European Food Safety Authority to back up its claim that glyphosate is unlikely to cause harm.

"We applaud those EU governments who are sticking to their guns and are refusing to authorize this controversial toxic herbicide," Bart Staes, Green environment and food safety spokesperson, said, as reported by EcoWatch. "There are clear concerns about the health risks with glyphosate, both as regards it being a carcinogen and an endocrine disruptor. Moreover, glyphosate's devastating impact on biodiversity should have already led to its ban.

"Thankfully, the significant public mobilization and political opposition to re-approving glyphosate has been taken seriously by key EU governments, who have forced the EU Commission to back down," Staes added.





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