- REGINA - A Saskatchewan farmer
is going public with the locations of two secret sites where researchers
are growing and testing genetically modified (GM) wheat for the biotech
- Marc Loiselle says there are test plots of GM wheat at
Agriculture Canada's Scott Research Farm, located in west-central Saskatchewan,
and at Ag-Quest, a private company located just outside of Saskatoon.
- Monsanto confirmed Friday that Agriculture Canada and
Ag-Quest are conducting research trials on its GM wheat. Before Loiselle's
revelation, the exact location of Monsanto's many GM wheat plots was a
closely guarded secret in Canada. Even the Saskatchewan government didn't
know exactly where the plots were located in the province.
- In Europe, activists protesting biotechnology have destroyed
GM research crops in recent years.
- "Our No. 1 priority is to protect the integrity
of research and the researchers," said Monsanto spokesperson Trish
Jordan. "It is just a good responsible practice to follow certain
protocols and one of those is not revealing the locations of these trials."
- Loiselle, an organic farmer from Vonda, learned the locations
from an agronomic committee that he sits on. He believes the public has
a right to know where the test sites are, so he wrote letters to the rural
municipalities near the sites. He also presented the information in speeches,
in a newsletter regarding organic production and to the media. "We
don't need genetically engineered wheat for any number of reasons,"
he said. "Producers will tell you they do not want more Roundup Ready
products. Two-thirds of the Canadian Wheat Board customers do not want
(GM wheat)." Loiselle also argues GM wheat could ruin the organic
wheat market. He is one of several farmers who launched a lawsuit in an
attempt to prevent the commercial introduction of GM wheat into Saskatchewan.
- Officials with the Scott Research Farm have some concern
about the security of the research trials, referring to the destruction
of the research plots in Europe. But Dr. David Wall said the publication
of the sites will not stop the research. He said farm officials will monitor
- There are 33 Western Canadian sites where Monsanto is
testing GM wheat this year. Monsanto and its partners, like Ag-Quest, place
strict controls on GM wheat research, Jordan said.