THE bravery of Kojonup farmer Mike Baxter in defending his right to grow GM canola through the Western Australian Supreme Court case of Marsh v Baxter, has garnered him much support, writes JOHN SNOOKE.
OPINION: WHILST professional anti-genetically modified (GM) activists were suggesting to West Australian farmers in 2010 that they should cave into their demands to change their farming methods, Kojonup farmer Mike Baxter thought otherwise.
Of the 700 growers who have adopted GM canola varieties since 2010, Mike was the one who finished up in the Western Australian Supreme Court defending his ability to manage his property according to his best judgement.
The activists behind this campaign to force farmers like Mike Baxter to defend what is an accepted, legitimate and safe production method are from the same stable as the anti-farming organisations that have no hesitation in breaking into a CSIRO facility and destroying research crops; chaining themselves to a live export ship; or demanding that conventional agriculture submit to the unaccountable functionaries within the organic industry.
The impossible standards dictated by the self appointed certifiers of the organic industry seek to grant organic farmers veto rights over their neighbours’ activities.
Conventional and accepted farming practices like swathing or chemical spraying would be subject to the same accreditation standards set down by the same organic certifying bodies that have set zero tolerance policies towards GM crops.
As Mike Baxter has found out, there is no ability to resolve any conflict where one side adopts a policy of zero tolerance - the only recourse is through the courts.
Yet, as has become evident through the media frenzy surrounding this trial, any attempts by conventional farmers to defend their practices are ridiculed and defamed by the anti-GM zealots and their disciples.
This Blitzkrieg against conventional farming and Mike Baxter’s tenacity and bravery in defending not only his actions, but the actions of every farmer who chooses to grow GM canola is why he has the support of not only the PGA but every productive farmer in Western Australia.
John Snooke is chairman of WA Pastoralists and Graziers Association (PGA) Western Graingrowers Committee.