Farmer pleads guilty to falsely claiming organic crops

Whole Foods
(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

ALBUQUERQUE (AP) – A Portales-area farmer will be on five years’ probation after he pleaded guilty to charges stemming from claims that his crops were organic when they were not.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that Houston Wall pleaded guilty to the federal misdemeanor of misbranding products in interstate commerce for claiming in 2010 that crops of corn were organic. Wall farms about 6,000 acres in Roosevelt County.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Wall made $300,000 by saying his crops were organic but not paying for the operation.

A USDA spokeswoman says the agency learned about Wall from workers who witnessed prohibited substances, such as pesticides, being applied to crops.

During his probation Wall will have to make restitution to buyers who were overcharged for the crops.

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