Organic Oregon farm fighting to prevent herbicide spraying

Moro, Ore. – A certified organic farm in Oregon may be quarantined and sprayed with herbicides if managers don’t abide by county commissioners’ demands to control noxious weeds.

According to a Capital Press report, Azure Farms in north central Oregon was given until May 22 to respond to Sherman County officials with a weed management plan.

Azure Farm manager Nathan Stelzer said their organic farming methods can only control noxious weeds, not eradicate them like Sherman County is asking.

Stelzer added if the county follows through with a court order to spray herbicides, the roughly 2,000-acre farm will lose its organic certification it has held for the last 18 years.

Neighbors of the farm say the weeds have gotten out of hand and spreading onto their property.

Area farmer Ryan Thompson said Azure Farms is operating with their own set of rules. “They are not good stewards of the land. They are pretty much using religion and the fact that they’re organic to say our county laws and statutes don’t apply to them.”

Stelzer said, “Bio-diversity, a few weeds in the field, does not make a bad farmer.”

The Sherman County Board of Commissioners is expected to take up the issue during a meeting on Wednesday.

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