|Kansas Rancher Jake Geiger|
A strong network of family, friends and neighbors made it possible for Kansas rancher Jake Geiger to travel to New York City for a landmark court event
. He could count on someone caring for his favorite foundation quarterhorse, Hollywood Leolo, and the other livestock while he joined fellow plaintiffs in the OSGATA et. al. lawsuit against Monsanto
. Now that the federal judge has dismissed the case, the group that includes many small farmers and seed companies is appealing to have its day in court. Monsanto
claims its methods are not a threat to farmers or consumers, but rather that science is on its side.
"I'd like to plant our own seeds," explained Geiger. "We've been doing it for thousands of years and if we lose the ability to save our own seeds through infiltration or contamination of transgenic seeds it would be a major impediment to us." The owner of family-run Alba Ranch said he felt he had no other choice but to defend himself via the court system. Geiger and the large extended family raise livestock and a wide variety of crops to USDA Organic standards. They've firmly established their reputation as one of the heartland's leading organic family farms.
|Kansas Rancher Jake Geiger in Front of Rye Field|
Alba Ranch strives to feed families, support a regional economy and leave the ecosystem intact -- supporting values passed down through generations. "A lot of people have grown away from agriculture," feels Geiger. "A lot of people that are in agriculture, there's a lot of things they aren't familiar with from an historical perspective. It's become a business of inputs rather than a business of culture."
Although most of his neighbors use conventional inputs like chemical fertilizers and pesticides, Geiger feels he can manage with buffer areas and good neighbor relationships. However, he's not sure it's that simple to keep transgenic, lab-produced seeds from contaminating his fields. So he will persist, along with dozens of other plaintiffs who want to take Monsanto to task for its use of GM seeds and the perceived threat to the future of farming. Geiger solemnly states, "I can't concur with the use of transgenic seeds. I think that's a risk we can't take."