A farmer in Minnesota is facing federal fraud charges after he said his chemically treated corn and soybeans were organically grown.
James Wolf was charged last week with federal felony wire fraud, The Associated Press reported.
Officials said the crops grown at his Cottonwood County farm undermined the country’s organic labeling system and he defrauded grain buyers.
Crops listed as organic are grown from seeds that are non-genetically modified and are not treated with chemicals or fertilizers.
Organic items cost more than non-organic ones.
Officials said that from 2014 through 2020, Wolf used chemicals on his corn and soybean crops, but sold them as organic. At other times, officials said, Wolf bought non-organic grain that he sold to buyers as organic. Wolf did not have a license to buy grain, the Star-Tribune reported.
At one point, Wolf had an organic farming certification, which was revoked in 2020. Despite that, he sold non-GMO grains as organic through a “partner,” according to the newspaper.
Wolf is accused of making $46 million from the sales, the AP reported.
Wolf’s attorney said that his client is a “career farmer, who has never been in trouble” and “now seeks his vindication,” the AP reported.
Wolf faces a 20-year prison sentence according to sentencing guidelines, the AP reported.