Maryland Senate Education, Health and Enviornmental Affairs Committee
On March 11, 2014
My name is Nick Maravell. I am an organic farmer. I am speaking in support of SB 778.
I own and operate Nick’s Organic Farm, and I do not use Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMOs. We farm in Buckeystown, MD. We live in Potomac, MD and had farmed there as well for over 30 years.
I started farming commercially and organically in 1979, raising vegetable for local retailers and restaurants. Today, I direct market over 90% of my sales to the end user—either a consumer or another farm. So I get a lot of customer feedback.
Currently, I raise row crops such as corn, soybeans, and barley and I raise livestock such as grassfed Angus beef, and pasture based poultry.
For the last three decades I have been active with many organizations concerned with national and state issues related to sustainable and organic agriculture. I currently serve on USDA’s National Organic Standards Board. The views expressed here are solely mine and represent no organization.
I would like to explain why my customers and I want the option to choose between GMO and non-GMO foods. In the 70’s and 80’s my customers and consumers around the nation were concerned about pesticides. That concern eventually lead to the establishment of organic certification here in Maryland and at the Federal level. In the 90’s consumers added hormones and antibiotics to their list of concerns. And over the last 15 years the voice for GMO free products has almost drowned out the previous list of concerns. Even though our organic certification prohibits the use of GMOs, my customers still ask, “Do your products contain GMOs?” It is probably the most asked question that I get.
Just as consumer demand for pesticide free products led to the creation of the organic food industry, so too can consumers exert a choice for a non-GMO food industry.
So why would consumers want to do this? The bottom line is if GMOs were a silver bullet to solve our weed, pest and world hunger problems, we would all know it by now.
Instead, we have super weeds and insects now resistant to the chemical pesticides paired with GMOs. So what is on the horizon, Federal applications for new GMOs relying on older more potent chemicals such as 2,4-D, atrazine, and dicamba. In addition, with the stacking of GMO traits it is possible to spray multiple pesticides instead of just one. Rather than reducing the amount of chemicals used, our health and our environment will be faced with an even greater load of pesticides.
Consumers want a choice, and this bill would give it to them.
All content on the website of Nick’s Organic Farm is original and the property of Nick’s Organic Farm, unless otherwise indicated.