Jackson County, Oregon voted by an overwhelming majority of 66% to ban GMO crop cultivation beginning June 6, 2015 via Measure 15-119. This date is fast approaching, and Monsanto thinks they are above the law.The biotech giant is trying to use two Jackson County GMO farmers to overturn the ban.
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As I reported back in November:
The newly approved measure mandates that people “cease harvest, and destroy or remove all genetically engineered plants” no later than 12 months after the ordinance goes into effect. With Jackson County’s measure 15-119 and nearby Josephine County’s measure 17-58, GMOs were voted out with a nearly 2-1 ratio.
“The voters here [Jackson County] have many generations of fruit and vegetable growing, so they’re among the most educated voters,” said Chuck Burr, president of the Southern Oregon Seed Growers Association.” The opposition spent a million dollars and couldn’t convince the people. This vote is going to make Jackson and Josephine county one of the most valuable seed-growing regions in the entire country, period,” he said.
“Regrettably ideology defeated sound science and common sense in Jackson County. We respect the voice of the voters, but remain convinced Measure 15-119 is bad public policy. While this election is over, this debate is not. We will continue to fight to protect the rights of all farmers to choose for themselves how they farm.”
Two farmers that grow Roundup Ready alfalfa have filed a lawsuit asking a state court to end the county’s voter-approved ban on genetically modified crops or force the county to pay them $4.2 million - which they claim is the value of the crop they would have to destroy.
Marilyn Frink and Shultz Family Farms’ suits claim that the GMO-ban ordinance, approved by Jackson County, conflicts with state law and will require farmers to destroy crops they have already planted. It suggests that Roundup Ready alfalfa can withstand the application of herbicide, enabling farmers to control weeds that would compete with the alfalfa.
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Once established, the farmers say that hay could be harvested from the alfalfa plants for up to 10 years.
However, the suit fails to mention that GMO hay is already ruining export markets, and China recently banned hay from the US due to GMO contamination. This amounts to billions of dollars in losses for other non-GM farmers, and GMO farmers, alike.
It is time to send these farmers and Monsanto a very clear message – the GMO BAN WILL STAND! You can demand that Jackson County Commissioners vehemently stand up for the GMO ban voted on by its constituents by contacting them at the following email addresses:
Doug Breidenthal BreideDP@jacksoncounty.org
John Rachor RachorJV@jacksoncounty.org
Don Skundrick SkundrDW@jacksoncounty.org
You can specifically request that the Commissioners not agree to any injunction that would stop the new ordinance that is currently in effect to protect family farms from contamination by GE crops beginning June 6, 2015.