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The USDA's recent decision to deregulate alfalfa has caused an uproar in the organic community, since alfalfa is prone to cross-pollination. Therefore, it could become more difficult for organic alfalfa farmers to keep their crops pristine and GM-free.

I saw a warning about this alfalfa risk in an SEC filing for S&W Seed (SANWZ). The bolding below is mine:

The approval of GMO alfalfa seed products in the U.S. could negatively impact our operations if our growers cannot satisfy field separation requirements we may have to impose on them to avoid cross-pollination of GMO and non-GMO products.

Currently, foreign purchasers of our alfalfa seed do not allow seed to have GMO traits. In the event that the USDA adopts rules that allow insufficient field separation between GMO and non-GMO seed production, and assuming that, if adopted, such rules survive anticipated legal challenges, our business might be negatively impacted. For example, we may need to impose restrictions on our growers’ cultivation techniques or apportion our grower contracts to minimize the potential of cross-pollination of GMO and non-GMO products. In the event that such measures were not effective, and assuming that the foreign purchasers of our seed do not modify their restrictions on GMO traits, we might need to move some seed production offshore or otherwise take measures to preserve the purity of our varieties. These measures could materially increase our expenses and otherwise negatively impact our business.

See Page 22 of the SEC filing (link below) for the above quote.

This is a very serious matter for a company as small as S&W. Alfalfa, for now, is their #1 product. Imagine having to leave the US, and go offshore, to grow non-GMO alfalfa...

S&W is trying to innovate in other areas to give their company a larger product base:

A natural sweetener extracted from a plant could be the next big thing in dieting. Products containing "Stevia" are gaining in popularity -- mainly because it has zero calories.

Koren Sihota heads the S&W seed company's Stevia program. "Really it has all the characteristics of being the sweetener of the future, especially with the low carb."

S&W is banking on the plant's potential. The company raised $15-million on Wall Street to start its Stevia program.

S&W specializes in alfalfa but imported Stevia seedlings from China and India to find a variety best suited for the Valley. Stevia is native to Paraguay.

There is more to this sweetner story at this link:

Alyce, S&W Seed is a real speculation. Maybe this micro-sized company can get the light of your electronic ink beacon in the future.

Disclosure: Just watching. No position.

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