National | Media Release


Genetically modified alfalfa will destroy Canada’s crop and livestock markets very soon unless our politicians show leadership and wisdom by supporting the MOTION calling for a moratorium on the approval of GM alfalfa, SAID THE NATIONAL FARMERS UNION (NFU) . The MOTION was presented by Liberal members of the House of Commons Agriculture Committee on March 3. The COMMITTEE WILL vote for or against the moratorium on Thursday March 10th.

Farmers IN CANADA AND around the world have been growing and using alfalfa in various ways for centuries. Alfalfa has hundreds of varieties, developed and adapted to specific soil conditions, climates and other needs as required. Alfalfa is a resilient perennial forage legume that has a very small seed. Alfalfa is prized for its high feed value but is also consumed in sprout form by humans.

“We use alfalfa on our farm as pasture, for hay, as an important nitrogen fixing crop rotation, and as a pollen source for our bees. Our farm, Waratah Downs, is certified organic. If GM alfalfa is commercialized in Canada within a very short period of time all alfalfa in Canada will be contaminated and we will no longer be able to grow or feed alfalfa. We could even lose our organic status if we are contaminated by GM alfalfa. We’ve already witnessed farmers being sued by Monsanto for having GM crops found on their farms although the farmer did not actually purchase seed or plant the GM crop. This is an issue for not only organic farmers but ALSO for conventional farmers —–. “ Says Colleen Ross, farmer and VP of the NFU.

“If GM alfalfa is approved in Canada we can expect to lose the crop completely. Most farmers do not want GM alfalfa.” say Jan Slomp, dairy farmer from Rimbey Alberta. “I have no idea what crop we can turn to if GM alfalfa is approved. Contamination is inevitable. Many farmers hire contractors to plant, cut and bale their hay. Alfalfa seed is so small that it is impossible to fully clean equipment, hence seed is freely carried from farm to farm.”

“Many farmers have to buy hay. Most of the hay grown in Canada contains high levels of alfalfa. When a farmer purchases hay there can be no guarantee that the hay is GM free” states Randall Affleck, dairy farmer from Prince Edward Island. “Further, once sheep, cattle, goats, and all forage eating livestock consume the hay, those animals can no longer be sold to families that want GM free meat. Increasingly, our customers want organic, local and GM free foods. It will become increasingly difficult for farmers to find the forage based protein source that alfalfa has provided for generations of farmers.”

“All forage seed will become a lot more expensive. Forage mixes will all be contaminated to a degree that the threat of legal action is enough to give the market to the owners of GM varieties. Alfalfa will become a weed just as canola has become a weed in the prairies,” concluded Ross.The National Farmers Union encourages all citizens to contact the members of the Agriculture Committee and their MP asking them to support the motion for a national moratorium on GM alfalfa.

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