Farmer Charged with Extensive GMO Grain Fraud


James C. Wolf appeared in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota on July 22nd to answer charges of wire fraud. He was indicted for knowingly selling conventional corn and soybeans as GMO and organic.  The value of transactions over a number of years amounted to $47 million.


According to news reports, the organic certification for his farm was revoked in 2020, but he continued selling product misrepresented as GMO and organic.  If found guilty, the Court may force forfeiture on property derived from the illegal scheme in addition to criminal penalties.


The magnitude of the fraud and the duration suggest serious deficiencies in the current system of auditing by third-party commercial entities. The USDA-AMS needs to initiate an enquiry to ascertain how the fraud was conducted and to take appropriate action to prevent a repetition. The question arises as to whether similar frauds involving either domestic or imported commodities have or are currently ocurring. To preserve the integrity of the USDA Cerified Organic Seal the AMS should intensify oversight of audits and initiate a parallel laboratory assay program concurrently with the “paper trail” to detect possible herbicide or pesticide residues and initiate  DNA tests to confirm authenticity.