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GM Crop Liability Bill Stalls in New Mexico Senate

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A bill designed to protect farmers from liability if their fields are cross-pollinated by genetically modified seeds failed to move forward in New Mexico's legislature.

Despite the setback, proponents of Senate Bill 560 said they will continue pushing for protection in future sessions "By no means is this going away," said Joshua Cravens, a Monticello farmer and organizer of the Arid Lands Seed Cache.

The bill would also make developers of genetically modified seed liable if GM plants end up on a neighbor's non- GMO or organic field. The bill also requires the state to keep a database of GM crop locations.

Proponents of SB560 say the bill provides protection to traditional seed farmers without harming the rights of farmers planting GM seed.

New Mexico's Department of Agriculture opposes the bill saying it would be costly to implement.

The bill was introduced by Senator Cisco McSorley, DAlbuquerque, backed by a coalition of farmers, ranchers, seed growers, and groups called Cuatro Puertas.

The groups were concerned about the ability of biotechnology companies such as Monsanto to sue farmers whose fields are contaminated by patented GM plants. Monsanto has filed or threatened to file lawsuits against many farmers in the US and Canada.

"We don't want to have people get sued if these seeds end up in farmers' fields," said Isaura Andaluz, an Albuquerque bee keeper and organizer for Cuatro Puertas. (SOURCE: The New Mexican)
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