Did Two Oregon Counties Just Ban GMO Crops?
by Heather Callaghan
Six giant agribusinesses sought to stomp out similar measures in two neighboring Oregon counties that would effectively ban genetically modified crop cultivation.
Despite Big Biotech shelling out hundreds of thousands of dollars to influence the two small counties, residents voted for an all out GMO crop ban in Tuesday’s election.
Monsanto, Bayer CropScience, BASF Plant Science, Dow Agro Sciences, DuPont Pioneer and Syngenta Crop Protection contributed at least $455,000 towards a campaign to try to sway county residents to abandon the ban.
According to Reuters, “Opponents conceded defeat but said the debate would continue.”
In Jackson county, 66 percent of the residents voted for an ordinance to require farmers to “harvest, destroy or remove all genetically engineered plants” within a year. Although, results won’t be official, or certified, for another three weeks.
That proposal was two years in the making, upon concerns of GMO contamination via wind drifts to non-GMO fields.
Josephine county residents opted for a similar measure, but legal challenges are anticipated as the county still falls under a law passed last year that prohibits GMO bans.
a similar measure in Josephine County passed with 57 percent of the vote, despite the fact that a new Oregon law labeled the state itself as the only regulator of seeds. Jackson’s proposal had already qualified to be on the ballot then, so it was granted an exemption. The initiative in Josephine did not qualify for an exemption since it was proposed later, but residents went ahead with their own vote anyway and have decided to let the courts determine its legality.
Oregon’s wheat exports were thrown in disarray last year, with the mysterious discovery of biotech test GM wheat that contaminated conventional wheat fields.
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