GMO ban: what’s next?

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Jackson County, Ore. — A historical victory passing measure 15-119 a ban on GMO Farming, according to Our Family Farms Coalition. Elise Higley of the coalition said “we are just forever grateful for the community stepping up and showing what they believe is really important for Jackson County.”

But not everyone was cheering. Ian Tolleson of the Oregon Farm Bureau who against the ban said “regrettably ideology has won over sound science and common sense.”

With the passage of 15-119, there will be no more GMO farming in Jackson County. Opponents say while the vote is over. the debate is not. Tolleson said “we respect the will of the voters that they rejected our position but we still believe that this is terrible public policy.”

So what is the Jackson County policy at this point County officials said there are a lot of unknowns. County Commissioner Don Skundrick said “as far as working out the particulars we haven’t determined that yet.”

What is known is that GMO farmers will have one year from when the vote is certified to rid their farms of GMO crops, but the enforcement process is still a work in progress. Skundrick said “you’re not going to see immediate action.”

Those against the GMO ban said this isn’t just about big business. “This isn’t Monsanto or Syngenta, these are local farms that have been farming the way they have chosen here in the valley for generations,” said Tolleson.

But Jackson County voters have spoken and GMO farmers are now being forced to make new plans to adapt to a new law that has never before been seen in Oregon.

The GMO ban also passed in Josephine County with 58% yes vote. They will have to challenge the 2013 state law in court before it can take affect. Jackson County’s effort was underway before that law was placed and is exempt.

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