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Talking Trash In Texas

The Percy Schmeiser World Tour continues. Canadian canola farmer Schmeiser, you may recall, was sued by Monsanto last year for using Monsanto’s genetically improved crop seed without paying the licensing fee — in short, for theft — and was fined $20,000 by the Federal Court of Canada. Now, he focuses his attentions on the scare campaign against genetically improved agriculture.

Back from a whirlwind stop in Kenya, Schmeiser spoke to a group of anti-genetic improvement advocates in Texas, where he again insisted he was just a simple country farmer who had done no wrong. But even Schmeiser had to admit “it is difficult to answer” whether he opposes all genetic improvement, saying “all of us want to be on the leading edge of new technology,” and suggesting he could reassess his views. (But the publisher of his remarks,, claims biotech is all bad, all the time. No surprise there: The website is the product of anti-technology activist Andrew Kimbrell of the anti-food-choice Center for Food Safety.)

Also on hand was rabble-rouser Jim Hightower, a former Texas agriculture commissioner who backed Ralph Nader’s presidential campaign. Predictably, Hightower attacked large agricultural companies for “expanding corporate power in the United States and throughout the world.” But Hightower’s hot air can’t overcome the facts. The website has lots more on genetic improvement technology and on large-scale agriculture.

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