A Minnesota farmer has been accused of making $46 million by passing off chemically treated corn and soybeans as organically grown.

James Clayton Wolf was charged in federal court on July 7 with felony wire fraud. Prosecutors said Wolf falsely labelled crops grown on his Cottonwood County farm as organic and that he defrauded grain buyers and undermined the entire US organic labelling system.

Organic crops use non-GMO seeds and are grown without chemicals or fertilisers. They generate higher prices at market than non-organic crops. The US Department of Agriculture runs the federal National Organic Programme for certifying organic crops.

The grand jury’s indictment said that Wolf’s organic farming certification was revoked in 2020. However, local newspaper the Star Tribune reported that Wolf continued selling non-GMO grain wrongly labelled as organic through an 'associate'.

Wolf’s attorney Paul Engh said: “Mr. Wolf is a 65-year-old career farmer, who has never been in trouble. He’s led a good life and now seeks his vindication.”

Wolf is scheduled to appear before a magistrate on July 22.

Wire fraud is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison, according to federal sentencing guidelines. US Attorney Andrew Luger’s office said the indictment is the result of collaboration between the FBI and the inspector general’s office for the USDA