Farm Press Blog

Oregon county makes miserable GMO decision


Can citizens prohibit farmers from planting genetically engineered crops? Apparently so.

Within minutes of browsing the Internet, today’s anti-GMO radical knows everything about GMOs, me nothing. My inbox offers proof.

“GMOs cause cancer, Mr. Robinson. Look it up.” Or, “You’re being paid by big agribusiness. You need to learn the facts. Visit this Web site for proof. GMOs are killing us.”

But I really have to shake my head when somebody sends me a link to a sham study on GMOs and adds, “Think about it, Mr. Robinson.”

Really? Think about it? That’s your advice?

As though I’ve been hiding under a rock instead of writing about genetically-engineered crops for over 24 years? As though I haven’t painstakingly researched every word I’ve written about them since the early 1990s?

What’s more, I have talked to CEOs and scientists with biotechnology companies and asked them tough questions. I have read dozens upon dozens of studies on GMOs, pro and con. Fact is, I have forgotten more about biotechnology than most of them will ever learn.

My protestations go in one ear and right out the other. “You just don’t get it,” one flustered fellow wrote.

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I even told one person it was quite alright to not believe a word I wrote, but he owed it to himself to dig deeper into the issue. I asked him to develop multiple perspectives on the GMO issue, not just one. At the end of our online conversation, he seemed to be leaning toward developing multiple personalities.

Worst of all, so many in the anti-GMO movement are oblivious to the harm they cause to the farmers who produce 99 percent of the food we eat.

The latest happened last week, when the citizens of Jackson County, Oregon voted to prohibit all plantings of genetically-engineered crops. Local organic groups were behind the vote, which effectively eliminated their competition, modern farming, from the county.

One of those farmers is Bruce Schulz, whose family has been farming there for four generations. Because of the new rule, Schulz will have to plow under his genetically-engineered alfalfa crop, a crop he was hoping to use for another five years to eight years. “It’ll break me,” he said.

Which I’m sure has organic livestock producers in the county tinkled pink.

At worst, the new rule blatantly violates a U.S. citizen’s right to participate in commerce as he sees fit, as long as it’s legal. At best, it is a short-sighted, uneducated and truly miserable way to deal with a contentious and controversial issue. I hope the government in Jackson County has deep pockets. Farmers who plant genetically-engineered crops there should demand compensation.


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on Jun 10, 2014

Unbelievable ....Go Oregon!

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