Oregon farmers hope to ban GM crops

Supporters of a local ban on genetically modified crops filed signatures with the Jackson County clerk on Wednesday in Medford to put a measure on the county ballot.

Supporters carried signs and drove a tractor outside the Jackson County Courthouse before filing 6,710 signatures with the county clerk. To get on the ballot, 4,662 will have to be certified. Barring a special election, the next ballot it could get on would be May, 2014.

The measure would ban anyone from raising genetically engineered plants in Jackson County, with exemptions for scientific research. It also calls for the county to conduct inspections and allows enforcement through citizen lawsuits.

Chief petitioner Brian Comnes, a retiree from Ashland, said they want to protect organic farmers whose crops could be contaminated by pollen from genetically engineered crops, such as sugar beets and alfalfa.

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“If someone is growing GMO alfalfa next to your organic alfalfa, the whole burden is on you not to get cross-pollinated,” he said. “The guy who grows the GMO stuff doesn’t have to do a thing.”

View the original article here: Farmers hope to ban genetically modified crops

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