Ag Unites on GE Issues

Salem, Ore. (March 16, 2017) – The Oregon Legislature opened Thursday morning, March 16, with a full attendance of farmers from across the state as they voiced concerns against HB 2469. House Bill 2469 “allows local government to inhibit or prevent production or use of seed or seed products for the purpose of protecting seed or products that are not genetically engineered from adverse impacts of genetically engineered seed or products or if enforcing local measure approved by county voters on May 20, 2014 (OLIS).”

HB 2469 is of great concern to Oregon cattle producers and OCA members, therefore written testimony was submitted on behalf of the OCA by Executive Director, Jerome Rosa. Many OCA members grow both GMO corn and alfalfa throughout the state. If HB 2469 were to pass, they would be forced to no longer grow and possibly remove existing fields.

The OCA has direct concerns with allowing local governments to regulate the use and location of any type of crops. If HB 2469 were to pass, it would create a patchwork of regulations across the state and wreak havoc on the ability of landowners to raise crops for feed and other agricultural purposes. Given the constantly hovering distress of extreme statewide financial budget cuts, the OCA is concerned at the level of analysis and scientific scrutiny such regulations may have before enactment.

Currently, the seed and other products used to feed cattle, as well as the beef produced, are currently regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency, all of which have the needed expertise and scientific data to make informed decisions on safety. Allowing local governments to make decisions inhibiting the use of seeds, opens the door to politics over policy, and fear-mongering related to particular crops or plants.

There is no need to unduly burden producers. Livestock and dairy producers determine which crops to grow based on what is needed to feed their herds a nutritious, balanced diet. It is not uncommon for a ranchers grazing lands to extend beyond one city or one county’s jurisdiction.

Farmers who testified on five different panels, organized by Oregonians for Food and Shelter, mentioned repeatedly the consistent communication methods they currently partake in to prevent cross-pollination and contamination. In the same trademark of agricultural communication, the OCA worked closely with OFS’s Executive Director, Katie Fast, and OFS Policy Director, Scott Dahlman, prior to the hearing. These open lines of communication and teamwork are how we hope to defeat “bad for ag” bills such as HBB 2469.

Sources: https://olis.leg.state.or.us/

The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association was founded in 1913 and works to promote environmentally and socially sound industry practices, improve and strengthen the economics of the industry, and protect its industry communities and private property rights.

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