Local farmer in DC ahead of GMO senate debate

WASHINGTON DC –Just a little more than a month ago,Jackson County’s ban on GMO’s or genetically modified organisms went into effect.But now an amendment to a bill in the nation’s capital may overturn the local ruling.

That’s why Applegate Valley farmer Elise Higley has traveled to Washington DC. Higley is talking withlawmakers about the ‘Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act,’ a bill that would create a national standard for labeling genetically modified ingredients.

“There was an amendment that got put in last week, last minute. And in that amendment it basically also addressed laws about genetically crops all together, which obviously meant a lot to me as a farmer who grows traditional crops,” said Higley who is also with the Our Family Farms Coalition.

Higley is concerned because if the bill passes, one amendment could potentially overturn Jackson county’s ban on the growth of GMO’s.

“Its not about being pro or anti-GMO, it’s just acknowledging that contamination does happen, and we need to create these zones where farmers can grow non-g.e. foods and not be contaminated,” she said.

Vermont is the only state to pass a statewide GMO labeling bill.

An effort in Oregon, failed last fall by just 837 votes, and smashed spending records for a ballot measure.

As of Thursday afternoon, Higley had met with 21 senators and representatives, speaking about the GMO debate Jackson County saw over the past several years.

“I feel this trip was well work it. People were not aware of this amendment, and they weren’t aware how it effect farmers who grow traditional crops,” said Higley.

The amendment to the bill is expected to be introduced on the senate floor next Wednesday. And could be voted on as early as next Thursday.

There is no recognized scientific evidence that GMO’s are any more dangerous for humans to eat than regular crops, but there also haven’t been any long-term health studies.

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