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GMO farmers face uncertain future

, Written by Travis Koch, Posted: Wed, May 28 2014 at 3:21 PM, Updated: Thu, May 29 2014 at 8:31 AM

Medford, Ore. -- Some local GMO farmers are uncertain about the livelihood of their crops and land following the passage of Measure 15-119, a GMO ban in Jackson County.

Bruce Schulz grows genetically altered alfalfa for feed and says this could be the last year he's able to provide his customers and fears that his family's 50 year-old farm may be threatened.

"Well, the way it stands right now there is no happy ending." Schulz said about his 50 year-old family farm.

"This is where I grew up."

He's one of a handful of farmers nestled in the scenic valley.

"My parents lived a few houses that way and my grandparents a few houses in the other direction."

While opponents of the GMO ban funded a million dollar campaign to stop the measure from passing, Schulz and other GMO farmers could lose their crop a little more than a year from now.

"They've said they will send people over here and tear it up and make me pay for it if I don't tear it up."

Faced with having to rid his 250-acre alfalfa crop, which makes up 40% of his gross income and only 10% in profits, Schulz is searching for answers.

"What am I gonna do? Pack up the ground? How do you make a living if you don't have any income?"

Schulz did say he could replace the crop with alternatives like wheat and barley but said they only bring in a third of the profit.

With little options available, now Schulz, his two brothers, their families and their mother are unsure of what lies ahead. They just hope they can keep their family's farming tradition alive.

A group out of Salem called Oregonians for Food and Shelter tells NBC5 News that they're talking with several people in Jackson County on a potential lawsuit dealing with the GMO ban. No decision on a suit has been made.  

 

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About the Author

Travis Koch

News at Sunrise Co-Anchor Travis Koch started his career as a filmmaker. He wrote and directed documentaries about traveling and extreme sports.

Among his many life experiences, he was a dog musher in Alaska and a baker in Minnesota. Travis began his career at NBC5 News as a weekend photographer and has continued to follow his dreams in television broadcasting and multimedia.

Catch Travis co-anchoring with Jennifer Elliott weekdays on NBC 5 News at Sunrise starting at 5:30am.

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