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By: Alex Gillis Published: The Star, 9 February 2014
Farmer Chris Litster looks at his 90 acres of land in Midland, Ont., and wonders if he’ll lose everything he owns because of a tiny genetically modified seed. Worse, he wonders if this alfalfa seed will spread across the country.
Litster, with 35 years of experience, raises livestock and sells beef directly to consumers, many of whom are in Toronto. His cows, like cattle in other parts of Canada, eat a lot of alfalfa — hay, as it’s known to most of us. His customers buy from his Still Hope Farm because the beef doesn’t contain any substance that’s genetically engineered.
But for the first time ever in Canada, seed companies are launching a GM seed — alfalfa — that’s a perennial, and it will likely invade non-GM fields. Litster says this will bankrupt him and many other conventional and organic farmers. Companies have launched GM seeds in the past, but never a perennial and rarely with so much controversy.