Positive News for Organics…..from Minnesota

Last week, the organic movement got some very positive news from a Minnesota Courtroom.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled that chemicals that drift onto a neighboring organic farm is a form of trespassing. Why is this ruling so important?

Let me explain the whole story….


Oluf and Debra Johnson are organic farmers in Minnesota. In the past, a neighboring farm, Paynesville Farmers Union Cooperative Oil Company, sprayed chemicals on their own property on windy days that ended up on the farm of the Johnsons.

Since synthetic pesticides are forbidden on organic farms, the Johnsons lost their organic certification and had to sell their crops as non-organic and at lower prices.

Well, the Johnson’s complained to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture for 10 years and sued in a District Court but to no avail. The court ruled that particulate matter could not trespass.

How does this make any sense? How can this neighboring farm have no responsibility for damaging someone else’s property?

To me, it doesn’t all.

A Higher Court Has Common Sense

Fortunately, the Johnsons refused to give up and took their case to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

There, Judge Kevin Ross said that the District Court was completely misguided and ruled in the Johnson’s favor. He cited rulings in cases from other states and said that the chemicals did, in fact, trespass.

Ulaf and Debra Johnson can now sue for damages when the case goes back to District Court.

I am very happy to see that common sense prevailed and that the rights of these organic farmers are being fairly protected.


If you have not seen Food, Inc. and The Future of Food, please do so.

Both of these movies expose the injustice of organic farms being contaminated by GMO seeds and then these organic farmers get sued by Monsanto, even though they have done nothing wrong.

It is very similar to the pesticide case above but much, much worse.

Earlier this March, a coalition of organic farmers and agricultural groups filed a preemptive lawsuit against Monsanto so as to protect themselves if they ever get contaminated in the future. This case is still pending.

What all of the above points to is that organic is under constant attack and we all need to come together to support it.

Let’s make the labeling of genetically-modified food a 2012 presidential campaign issue. Please sign-up at Right2Know March and get involved. We need all of the help that we can get.

Thanks so much for your support and interest.


  • This is a huge ‘win’ for the organic farmers. It was the only possible direction the case could take – given the overwhelming body of evidence. Congratulations to the The Johnsons and to the MN Court of Appeals for their ruling in this case.

    Now, if only the GMO crop situation might be similarly addressed and ruled upon. (Cases of farmers being sued by Monsanto because the GMO seeds/pollen from plants, traveled to adjacent farms, essentially.)

    So much injustice in today’s world to rectify. Thank you, Max for educating everyone to these events as they occur.

    Best to you,
    Mary Nash Stoddard/author Deadly Deception Story of Aspartame

    • Max Goldberg says:

      Hi Mary,

      I agree, a huge win for the farmers.

      As I mentioned in the post, organic farmers and advocates have taken pre-emptive action against Monsanto in the courts. Let’s hope that brings a favorable decision, so at least there will be some protection for organic farmers.

      Thanks so much for your kind words and support.

      All the best,

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