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This article was originally published on Aug. 9 on the McClatchy Newspapers website.

A major fertilizer producer from California’s San Joaquin Valley who pleaded guilty to fraud charges this week ran into what appears to be a newly aggressive federal effort to crack down on organic-farming cheaters.

Once one of the largest organic-fertilizer operators in the Western United States, Bakersfield resident Kenneth Noel Nelson Jr. faces prison time and a big fine after his guilty plea to four counts of mail fraud. The 59-year-old businessman will be sentenced in early November.

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