The Washington Post recently ran an epic, front-page article about genetically modified wheat, focusing on the story of Tom and Gail Wiley. The Wileys are described as “conventional, not organic, farmers” who slowly came around to opposing biotech crops after a few bad experiences. “I think all my life I’ve been an environmentalist,” Gail Wiley told the Post, “even though you don’t say that too loudly around here.”
We’re not sure if the Wileys conned the Post or the Post conned its readers (probably a bit of both), but Tom and Gail Wiley are anti-biotech activists of the first order, who have never shied away from advocating Luddite positions. Both are long-time spokespersons for the Dakota Resource Council, a stridently anti-technology group of prairie radicals that consistently lobbies lawmakers to ban genetically enhanced crops. Last month, the group co-authored an anti-biotech petition, filed with the USDA by the misnamed Center for Food Safety — in reality a lobbying front for the organic food industry.
Tom Wiley has told the Associated Press that he is “really on a mission” to denigrate crop biotechnology. This “mission” is bankrolled by Greenpeace International, which has sent Wiley as far as Australia to warn farmers about the mythical “dangers” of biotech planting. Wiley’s traveling buddy for that trip was none other than Percy Schmeiser, who pirated genetically enhanced seeds from Monsanto (so sayeth a Canadian court), and is on a worldwide whining tour complaining about being caught. Wiley even made it to Doha, Qatar for the 2002 WTO meetings, holding court on the deck of the Rainbow Warrior II.