‘Organic farmer’ indicted in $46 million grain fraud scheme

A Jeffers, Minnesota, farmer who sold grains as organic for more than half a decade is now facing fraud charges for deceiving his buyers.

According to court documents, between 2014 and 2020, James Clayton Wolf, 64, a previously certified organic farmer, engaged in a scheme to defraud grain purchasers by selling them non-GMO grains falsely represented as "organic." Wolf did not hold a legally required grain buyer’s license, and repeatedly purchased non-organic corn and soybeans from a grain seller, then resold the grain as organic product. 

As part of the scheme, he also grew conventionally farmed crops using chemical fertilizers and pesticides, in violation of organic farming standards. Upon sale, Wolf provided grain purchasers with copies of his National Organics Program certification, but withheld the fact that the grains were not organically farmed. 

As a result of the scheme, Wolf received more than $46 million in payments from grain buyers.

He’s now charged with three counts of wire fraud, and will make his initial appearance in U.S. District Court on July 22, 2022.