GM protest farmer wins wide support

Surfer Mick Fanning and boxer Danny Green are among a string of high-profile figures who have backed a WA farmer suing over the alleged genetically modified contamination of his crop.

In a move that prompted a social media storm, three-time world surfing champion Fanning labelled the case between neighbouring Kojonup farmers Steve Marsh and Michael Baxter as a David and Goliath story.

Mr Marsh is suing for losses and unspecified damages after GM canola seeds planted on Mr Baxter's farm - and provided by global seed giant Monsanto - allegedly blew on to his property.

The case, lodged in the Supreme Court in 2011, came after the alleged contamination led to the loss of Mr Marsh's organic certification.

"A true David and Goliath story . . . Go research his story," Fanning told his 140,000 social media following. The post got more than 5000 online "likes" and was shared by BMX star Corey Bohan and supported by WA surfer Taj Burrow.

Green also republished Fanning's post to his more than 31,000 following and said he always backed the underdog.

Safe Food Foundation director Scott Kinnear said their support had boosted donations to a benefit fund for Mr Marsh.

The fund will help support Mr Marsh's court case, expected to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

A Monsanto spokesman said the case was a matter between two farmers and the company was not a party to it.

However, he said "Australian farmers have been successfully growing conventional, organic and GM crops side by side for years" and would continue to do so.

The Pastoralists and Graziers Association has previously defended Mr Baxter.

Western Growers chairman John Snooke blamed Mr Marsh's problems on the "overly tight standards" of the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture, the organic accrediting body.

Mr Kinnear said the foundation planned to host a rally in Perth in the weeks before Mr Marsh's court case on February 10.

The West Australian

Popular videos

Compare & Save

Our Picks

Compare & Save

Follow Us

More from The West