CA organic fertilizer scam

dicotMarch 11, 2011

This was disappointing news today. I don't think it affects many home gardeners, but it sure does consumers of CA organic produce, such as myself.

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Organic fertilizer maker accused of using synthetic chemicals

By P.J. Huffstutter, Los Angeles Times

March 11, 2011

To organic farmers, Kenneth Noel Nelson Jr. was the man with the golden manure: It was rich with Mother Nature's finest waste, robust for the soil and cheap in price.

But to federal prosecutors in California, Nelson's organic fertilizer empire had developed a stench.

On Thursday a federal grand jury indicted Nelson on 28 counts of mail fraud in connection with an alleged years-long scheme to dupe farmers and agriculture product distributors. The indictment accused Nelson, 57, of selling premium-priced liquid fertilizer touted as made from all-natural products such as fish meal and bird guano that instead was spiked with far cheaper synthetic chemicals.

The scheme, according to the federal indictment, enabled Nelson to become the largest purveyor of organic fertilizer to farmers in the western half of the U.S. and pull in at least $9 million in sales from 2003 to 2009.

This is the second indictment of an organic fertilizer producer in California in the last five months. It also has fueled fears among some farmers about possible contamination of their pristine fields and has raised questions about whether consumers bought produce that was billed as organic but may not have met federal organic requirements. Many consumers who opt to pay a premium for organic goods do so because they don't want pesticides and synthetic chemicals to be used in the production of their food....

...In the tight-knit world of organic farming, Nelson and his company, Port Organic Products Ltd., were well-known. He owned several ventures to sell fertilizer to the green-farming community, including Kern County-based AgroMar Inc., Sail-On Ag Products Inc., Desert Organic Express Inc., Action Fertilizer and Microbial Assisted Soil Health Inc.

Here is a link that might be useful: LA Times

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rlv4(7)

Love the comment after the article:

"One has to laugh because the fertilizer seller is as fraudulent as the idiots caught up in the organic fad.� What is not funny is fhe food shortage caused by millions of acres devoted to this low producing fad land."

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 10:12PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

The organic market place is, and always has been, a buyer beware place since many people will try to perpetrate fraud to make a little money. Even many organic growers arch enemy Monsanto is making inroads into the organic sales department through its Scotts sunsidiary.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 6:30AM
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Lloyd

Disappointing but not really surprising.

One wonders how many of the "organic tastes better than synthetics" taste/nutrient tests were affected by this or similar as yet undisclosed scams?

Lloyd

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 9:23AM
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gargwarb

You beat me to the precise comment I was about to make, Lloyd. Great minds and all that, I suppose.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2011 at 9:09AM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

By the same token, how many "Can't taste the difference between organic and non-organic" tests were skewed because of this? ;-)

tj

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 6:06PM
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gargwarb

Excellent point.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 7:53PM
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pnbrown

Produce that tastes great does so because it is mineral rich. So far as minerals go it hardly matters how they get there - whether they are synthesized or from mined sources - but the plants won't get to sophisticated levels of carb production without high levels of microbes to grab and digest the minerals for them.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 9:04PM
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darth_weeder(z7 NY)

quote: "Disappointing but not really surprising.
One wonders how many of the "organic tastes better than synthetics" taste/nutrient tests were affected by this or similar as yet undisclosed scams?

Lloyd "

yeah but I heard that although organic tastes better
it is actually less filling

    Bookmark   March 17, 2011 at 4:36PM
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