Australian court rules against organic canola farmer

SYDNEY Wed May 28, 2014 2:24am EDT

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SYDNEY May 28 (Reuters) - A farmer growing organic canola in western Australian lost his bid to claim damages from a neighbor after genetically modified (GMO) canola seed heads blew on to his property, causing him to lose his licence as an organic grower.

The Supreme Court of Western Australia ruled on Wednesday against organic farmer Steve Marsh, who sued his former friend Michael Baxter after winds carried harvested seed from Baxter's Monsanto Roundup Ready canola crop on to Marsh's farm.

The case has been closely watched internationally as a win for Marsh could have opened the door to widespread changes to rules governing the cultivation of GMO crops, placing a greater onus of responsibility on GMO farmers. (Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Richard Pullin)

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