Australian organic farmer forced to pay over US$600k after losing GM crop court battle

Australia, Mar 24: An Australian farmer who tried to sue his neighbor after claiming his organic business was ruined after genetically-modified (GM) canola blew on to his fields will now have to pay over US$600,000 in costs after a stay of order was lifted.

Steve Marsh took his neighbor and childhood friend Michael Baxter to court in February 2014 for negligence over the alleged contamination of the land that Marsh used for growing organic oat and wheat crops in Kojonup, 250km southeast of Perth, Western Australia.

Marsh said he had lost organic certification for 70 percent for crops produced at his farm because his land had become contaminated by Baxter’s herbicide-resistant canola crop. Marsh had been initially seeking US$60,000 in compensation, but now he will have to pay US$610,000 in costs to his neighbor after the Western Australian Court of Appeal ruled against him.