Our Family Farms Coalition, 22 December 2015
Dec. 22, 2015 – Medford, OR – Today an Oregon Federal Magistrate approved a settlement that will allow Jackson County Oregon’s voter-approved law prohibiting cultivation of genetically engineered crops to stand.
“This is really an important victory since it creates the potential for farmers growing traditional crops in Jackson County to thrive without the fear of contamination by GMOs,” said Elise Higley, the executive director of OFFC. “It is great to know that the will of the 66 percent of our county’s voters that passed this measure will be given effect.”
The law was challenged last year by two GE alfalfa farmers, with financial backing from the biotechnology industry. In May, Federal Magistrate Mark D. Clarke rejected that challenge and ruled in favor of those defending the law, the Our Family Farms Coalition (OFFC), Center for Food Safety (CFS), and Jackson County. The GE alfalfa growers continue to claim that the law would constitute an un-Constitutional taking if they were required to remove their GMO alfalfa crop which is a perennial.
“Today’s settlement protects Jackson County’s ordinance from any appeal, and in so doing is another important victory for farmers and the environment,” said George Kimbrell, CFS Senior Attorney and counsel in the case. “GE-Free Zones like Jackson County are important to the future of our food because they allow farmers to grow traditional and organic crops without risk of transgenic contamination. U.S. farmers and consumers have a right to say no to Monsanto’s damaging and pesticide-driven business model.”