Oregon farmers divide over growing GM crops

Sams Valley farmer Bruce Schulz stands in a field that has genetically modified alfalfa on one side and conventional alfalfa on the other.

“It doesn’t take a scientist to figure out which one works better,” Schulz says. The alfalfa that has been genetically engineered to resist the herbicide Roundup is taller than the conventional alfalfa, and its yield will likely be double, Schulz anticipates.

Schulz is not a supporter of Ballot Measure 15-119, which would ban genetically modified crops in Jackson County if voters approve it May 20. The issue has pitted farmers such as Schulz against others who are trying to grow organic crops or support a local farming community that feels threatened by GMO crops.

Chuck Burr, president of the Southern Oregon Seed Growers Association, said his farm near Ashland had to destroy $4,400 worth of chard seed because of pollen contamination from a GMO beet field nearby.

Dalton Straus, of Straus Ranches LLC, said he wanted to grow Roundup-ready alfalfa this year, but he’s holding off until he sees the outcome of the ballot measure. “I just don’t support taking my right to grow what I want to grow on my land,” he said. Straus said he might have supported the measure if it were more localized.

He said it would remove one more tool that helps struggling farmers survive.

Read the full, original article: Southern Oregon farmers split over GMO use

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