Government Threatening To Invade Organic Farms To Spray Roundup

A huge organic farm in Oregon is scheduled for invasion by government employees who will spray the land with Monsanto's Roundup.

A huge, established organic farm in Oregon is scheduled for invasion by trespassing government employees who will spray the land with Roundup, poisoning the soil with the carcinogenic herbicide. 

Azure Farms, a 2000-acre farm in Oregon that has been certified organic for 18 years, is under threat from the local Sherman County government.

Why? Because Sherman County officials are re-interpreting a law concerning the “control of noxious weeds,” claiming that if the organic farm doesn’t “completely eradicate” certain weeds, they will invade and forcefully spray Monsanto’s notorious weedkiller themselves.

Capital Press reports: Local wheat farmers say weeds spreading from Azure Farms, on the outskirts of Moro in north central Oregon, cost them money in the form of additional herbicide control. Most critically, growers of certified wheat seed say their crops will be worthless if contaminated by Rush Skeleton Weed, Canada Thistle, Morning Glory and White Top spreading from the farm.

Spraying the weeds with Milestone or other herbicides, however, would cause the farm to lose organic certification for three years. Azure Standard, which operates Azure Farms, is a major distributor of organic products.

Sherman County gave the farm until May 22 to respond with a weed management plan. If not, the county will ask the Oregon Department of Agriculture to quarantine the farm.

The issue has blown up on social media.

The manager of Azure Farms, Nathan Stelzer, urged supporters to “Overwhelm the Sherman County representatives with your voice.” A video posted on the farm website called for people to express their outrage reportedly has resulted in hundreds of phone calls and thousands of emails to county officials.

The issue may come to a head Wednesday when the county’s Board of Commissioners takes up the issue. The county is expecting such a crowd that it moved the session from the courthouse to the Sherman County School gym, 65912 High School Loop, Moro, at 4 p.m.

“The school gym is the only site in Sherman County big enough to hold the expected crowd and we received permission to use the gym only if we delayed our meeting until after the students are dismissed,” Commissioner Tom McCoy said in an email.

Meanwhile, the Oregon Wheat Commission and several growers are meeting with the state agriculture Director Alexis Taylor, hoping to enlist the department’s support.

Oregon Tilth, which certifies organic operations, is calling for calm and urging the county to pause its enforcement timeline. Executive Director Chris Schreiner said Oregon Tilth hopes mediation can result in a weed management plan that allows Azure Farms to retain its certification while addressing concerns of neighboring farmers.

Wheat farmer Bryan Cranston, who grows certified seed next to Azure Farms, said its weed problems have gotten progressively worse over the years. Cranston said he spoke to Selzer and told him, “I don’t drift chemicals on you, I’d appreciate it if weeds don’t drift on me.”

Cranston said he told Selzer, “I grow seed wheat to garner more out of the market, you grow organic to garner more out of the market — we have a lot in common here.”

But he added, “You’re messing me up.”

Cranston estimated weed control in his wheat is costing him $12 per acre more than in the past. He said some weeds, especially skeleton weed, produce airborne seeds and can rapidly infect fields.

Another area farmer, Ryan Thompson, said the county needs to stand its ground on the weed issue.

“These guys are operating by their own set of rules,” he said. “They are not good stewards of the land. They are pretty much using religion and the fact that they’re organic to say our county laws and statutes don’t apply to them.”

The county warned that it would spray if the farm didn’t, and the cost for multiple surveys throughout the growing season would be billed to the farm as a lien on its property taxes.

Asher said the county could help identify weed, recommend control methods and herbicide products, and had a spray crew for hire if necessary.

In the business’s first response, a letter signed by Alfred Stelzer said Ecclesia of Sinai “is not subject to your direction.” In a three-page letter dated March 27, Stelzer said the farm will not allow any federal, state or county employees to trespass and “spray any toxic or poisonous substances at any time.”

Stelzer said the farm “made a covenant” to keep the “Common Law” of the bible. He cited Numbers 35:34, “which states that the land must not be defiled or polluted.” Stelzer, then released the video and social media plea to supporters, saying the county’s plan was “possibly to spray the whole farm with poisonous herbicides.”

Blake Rowe, CEO of the Oregon Wheat Commission, called the social media campaign “pretty inflammatory.”

The farm has since adopted a more conciliatory position. In a video posted May 12, Azure Standard CEO David Stelzer, the brother of Nathan, acknowledged the farm has “room for improvement.” He said one of the problems is that for the past five years, the family has been farming the Moro property “long distance” from Dufur, which is 48 miles away by vehicle.

David Stelzer said Azure is attempting to improve its ground through crop rotation and “companion planting” of various crops.

“Bio-diversity, a few weeds in the field, does not make a bad farmer,” he said.

Baxter Dmitry

Baxter Dmitry

Baxter Dmitry is a writer at News Punch. He covers politics, business and entertainment. Speaking truth to power since he learned to talk, Baxter has travelled in over 80 countries and won arguments in every single one. Live without fear.
Email: baxter@newspunch.com
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Baxter Dmitry
  • Ron Wheeler

    I bet Monsanto is trying to set a precedence with a new law. Why Roundup of all chemicals?

  • John C Carleton

    Have the government officials drink the dam stuff.

    • Fingal Carson

      And make sure their cocktail is highly concentrated. They want to push the lie that it is so damn good for world hunger, crops, and the food supply. Drink up. It’s better than vodka, I heard.

      • John C Carleton

        Got a real “kick”!

  • Guest

    GMO farmer to Organic farmer: “They are not good stewards of the land.” Right, because using GMOs and Roundup actually strip the land of its mineral composition with each subsequent harvest. These people need to die a slow death.

    • Ouch

      Here’s a thought. If they control the weeds on their farm there is no issue. Or get the law changed.

      • Guest

        Except the law doesn’t cover the organic farmer when seeds “drift” from Monsanto GMO plants into organic farmers’ fields. Moreover, when that happens, Monsanto actually sues the organic farmer for growing GMO crops without a license. Monsanto is the single most evil company on the planet.

        • Nancy

          Tuche!

  • UncleB

    America, “land of the Free”, Bullshit! your children died in foreign lands for Big Oil!

    • Ouch

      UncleB. Whatever that has to with the subject at hand. Guess you couldn’t wait to use that line for a situation that applied.

  • Jay Hicks

    Time to get Roundup banned. It’s already proven to be carcinogenic to humans.

  • Pepe!

    Religious nuts quoting their bible are no better than the Taliban. Drop a bomb on the farm, blow their organic religion to kingdom come.

    • artemis6

      you sound just like the zealots……pity.

    • Ouch

      REALLY? Wow. If someone obeys a law that you don’t agree with, then kill them, to benefit someone not obeying the law? Okie Dokie

  • deenie1219

    The government in Oregon is running amok. Bunch of zombie-like minds running the show and ruining it. They are unable to see the ludicrousness of their argument. Glyphosate and weed killers in general are all highly toxic to human nervous systems and destructive to the immune system. Weeds have never killed anybody. Some weeds, like dandelions, are actually quite beneficial to humans and make health enhancing remedies.

  • artemis6

    the farmer with a weed problem, is because weedkillers eventaully FAIL to work, regular weeds become SUPERWEEDS.

  • Illusive Man

    Fight Back Peoples Lock and Load at these evil Government !

  • screamingmimi

    But he added, “You’re messing me up.” NO…YOU’RE messing ME up. Messing US up, actually. You and your GMO/glyphosate/poison seeds and crops. YOU should be doing what AZURE FARMS is doing, PERIOD.