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Jackson County, Oregon, is a largely agricultural county, home to numerous small family farms, a thriving Grower's Market system (multiple markets in multiple towns), acres of pear orchards, vineyards and many commercial seed growers. We have a ballot measure for the upcoming May 20th election that would ban the growing of certain genetically modified crops. Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, DuPont and other multinational chemical companies have donated a combined $455,000 to defeat the measure, a huge buy of commercial time in a small market like ours. Yikes!

Measure 15-119 seeks to protect farmers from contamination by pollen drift from genetically modified crops. A local farmer had to destroy his entire crop of organic swiss chard seed because of trespassing pollen contamination from a nearby GMO sugar beet crop. Farmers in eastern Oregon lost sales of wheat to Japan after GMO wheat was discovered in a non-GMO field. Even the possibility that a crop might be contaminated can cause an entire crop to be rejected by buyers overseas where most countries forbid the growing of GMO crops. Areas that ban the growing of GMO crops like Santa Cruz, CA have actually seen an increase in agricultural profits because of food safety concerns.

Wall-to-wall commercials by those opposing the ban are loaded with misinformation (surprise!) that the ban will cost our financially strapped county millions in enforcement when it has been shown that other areas with bans have ZERO enforcement costs because no commercial farmer will spend the money to grow a banned crop and a seed supplier would not sell to farmers in a banned area. It is self-enforcing. Also very vocal are the libertarian farmers, who bray that "No one can tell me what I can grow on my own farm, dammit!" But pollen doesn't stay put and trespasses onto other peoples farms. GMO crops are supposed to have a four mile buffer but that is impossible in our narrow, windy valley. Pollen blows a long way, increasing the possibility that a farmer can be sued by Monsanto for "theft" if GMO crops are found on a farm that hasn't purchased seed, a problem that has already happed numerous times in other areas.

I have written to Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, Ed Schultz, and Ring of Fire but can't get anyone with a national voice interested in our plight. The election is in less that two weeks and it is hard to push back against such well-financed opposition.

Our campaign is asking for a YES to Family Farms. Yes on 15-199. We would love any advice on how to get some big positive attention to this measure or just some good Kossack juju from my wonderful online community.

EDIT: From the Family Farms Coalition website:

Our Family Farms Coalition Asks You to Vote YES on 15-119
Protect Family Farmers and Our Economy

THE FAMILY FARMS MEASURE 15-119 PROTECTS FAMILY FARMERS from the serious risk that their crops will be contaminated by genetically engineered crops that are patented and controlled by large out-of-state chemical corporations. There’s no practical way to stop genetically engineered pollen and seed from trespassing onto traditional farms that have been here for years. And when a traditional crop becomes contaminated with genetically engineered pollen, it can be impossible for the farmer to sell.

PROTECTS OUR DRINKING WATER AND KIDS Genetically engineered crops have led to an increase in overall pesticide use, by 404 million pounds from the time they were introduced in 1996 through 2011.1 These chemicals can end up in our water and our children's bodies. This increased pesticide use has also led to the evolution of high-impact Superweeds2. The measure will help prevent Superweeds from becoming a major problem in the Rogue Valley.

PROTECTS FAMILY FARMERS FROM PATENT LAWSUITS by Monsanto and the other chemical corporations. These corporations have threatened many innocent farmers with patent infringement lawsuits after their patented pollen or seed has trespassed onto family farmers' property.

15-119  Ordinance to Ban Growing of Some “Genetically-Engineered” (defined) Plants

Question:  Should Ordinance Ban Growing of “Genetically-Engineered” Plants (defined) in Jackson County and Allow County/Private Persons to Compel Enforcement?

Summary:  This ordinance would ban any person from propagating, cultivating, raising or growing “genetically-engineered” (defined) plants in Jackson County.

The Ordinance also:

·         Requires affected persons to harvest, destroy or remove all genetically engineered plants within 12 months of the enactment of the ordinance;

·         Provides exemptions for certain health, educational, scientific and medical research institutions if activities are conducted under secure, indoor laboratory conditions;

·         Allows for inspections of private property by County code enforcement officers after obtaining a search warrant;

·         Allows for enforcement of the ordinance by the County and by private persons or groups through the State court system;

·         Provides for contested hearings and appeals for alleged violations;

·         Allows the County to recover the cost of abatement from the property owner or the person causing the violation;

·         Defines the terms “genetically engineered,” “organic agriculture,” and “organic;”


Here is a link to the measure:

http://www.co.jackson.or.us/...

And the Family Farms Coalition website:

http://www.ourfamilyfarmscoalition.org/

Originally posted to madame damnable on Thu May 08, 2014 at 11:24 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos Oregon, Koscadia, The Fourth Estate, State & Local ACTION Group, and Community Rights Movement.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (17+ / 0-)

    You're a ghost driving a meat coated skeleton made from stardust. What do you have to be scared of?

    by madame damnable on Thu May 08, 2014 at 11:24:37 AM PDT

  •  Didn't the state legislature (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    occupystephanie

    Say that counties couldn't pass GMO bans?  

    Be bold. Be courageous. Americans are counting on you. Gabby Giffords.

    by Leftleaner on Thu May 08, 2014 at 11:30:38 AM PDT

    •  They did after Jackson county's ballot measure (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      occupystephanie

      got enough signatures to qualify for a vote. 15-199 is included in our mail in ballots and if you support the ban you vote YES.

    •  ? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      occupystephanie

      State legislatures have no power to tell countries what to do. Is this snark?

      There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

      by Joieau on Thu May 08, 2014 at 12:32:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, they do in most states (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joieau

        It is called Dillons Rule and it sets up a parent child relationship.

        The theory of state preeminence over local governments was expressed as Dillon's Rule in an 1868 case: "Municipal corporations owe their origin to, and derive their powers and rights wholly from, the legislature. It breathes into them the breath of life, without which they cannot exist. As it creates, so may it destroy. If it may destroy, it may abridge and control".[2]

        By contrast, the Cooley Doctrine expressed the theory of an inherent right to local self-determination. In a concurring opinion, Michigan Supreme Court Judge Thomas M. Cooley in 1871 stated: "[L]ocal government is a matter of absolute right; and the state cannot take it away."

        When some cities in Oregon wanted to ban pot dispensaries, they had to get a special dispensation from the state to do it.

        We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

        by occupystephanie on Thu May 08, 2014 at 12:42:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ah, so. I read "countries" where (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          occupystephanie

          it was actually "counties." THAT I understand... §;o)

          There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

          by Joieau on Thu May 08, 2014 at 05:56:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  We really dislike it (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joieau, OKath

            It allowed the state to pass the Monsanto Protection Bill in a backroom deal to prevent the counties from making ordinances to ban GMO cultivation which we were in the process of doing.

            We are doing it anyway in an ordinance that elevates our rights over corporations.

            We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

            by occupystephanie on Thu May 08, 2014 at 08:38:01 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Didn't the state legislature pass a law (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    occupystephanie

    Saying that counties couldn't pass anti-GMO laws?

    Be bold. Be courageous. Americans are counting on you. Gabby Giffords.

    by Leftleaner on Thu May 08, 2014 at 11:33:07 AM PDT

    •  Yes! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      occupystephanie

      But Jackson County already had enough signatures to get it on our ballot. Then, under pressure from GMO corporations, our state legislature made it illegal to ban GMO's in any other county in Oregon. Monsanto and the others didn't want this movement to spread (like GMO pollen) so they did some bud nipping.

      You're a ghost driving a meat coated skeleton made from stardust. What do you have to be scared of?

      by madame damnable on Thu May 08, 2014 at 11:39:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, but Benton and Lane counties are (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        paz3, Leftleaner, Pandora

        ignoring that preemption and moving ahead with their own ordinances. We meet tonight in Corvallis for our big kickoff for the petition drive to get it on the ballot.

        Our ordinanceis based on our inalienable inherent rights to self-governance to preserve our community's safety, health and welfare and denies the state's intervention.

        We the people of Benton County understand that any attempt to prohibit the privatization and use of patented seed may run afoul of claimed corporate “rights” to engage in those practices, as well as State or federal laws. We understand that failure to legislatively challenge those “rights” and laws guarantees that a local food system will never exist.

        We the people of Benton County therefore enact this local law pursuant to the inherent and inalienable right of the residents of Benton County to govern their own county for their own health, safety, and welfare. That authority is also secured by the Declaration of Independence’s assertion that governments are instituted to secure the rights of people, in the State Constitution of Oregon’s recognition that all power is inherent in the people, and in the Benton County Charter, which delegates the authority to the people and their representatives to enact local legislation on matters of county concern;

        We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

        by occupystephanie on Thu May 08, 2014 at 11:45:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You go, guys! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          occupystephanie, Leftleaner

          You are presenting a very sound argument.

          You're a ghost driving a meat coated skeleton made from stardust. What do you have to be scared of?

          by madame damnable on Thu May 08, 2014 at 11:47:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Absolutely! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            LeighAnn

            For pesticide trespass, right? (Were you at the PLELC conference in Eugene?)

            Has anyone written on that for Daily KOS? Would make an excellent addition to the group here: Community Rights Movement.

            We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

            by occupystephanie on Thu May 08, 2014 at 04:07:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I wasn't there (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              occupystephanie

              I'm not sure what you mean about it being for pesticide trespass.  Unless I'm really misunderstanding something it's for the crops themselves.

              I know a little bit about soil science so that's my big concern.  Modifying to allow more herbicide and pesticide is not something I want.  I could accept a modification for a more efficient crop if we could feed more people.  So, I'm not generally against the science.

              I am appalled at Monsanto's and other success in seeking damages from patent infringement due to their pollen drifting to farmers' fields.  And, equally staunch that it is the farmers who ought to be able to seek damages when their crops are "polluted" by Monsanto pollen.

              •  I was wrong about the pesticide trespass (0+ / 0-)

                that is another county whose name escapes me right now...

                People don't realize that a major part of this thing is about fairness to farmers--both organic and conventional--whose crops are rendered unsaleable by GMO contamination, particularly overseas as we saw with the wheat.

                The patenting is absurd. Not only does it harm farmers who have been trespassed against but it stymies research by not giving permission to use it and also forbids the 10,000-year-old practice of seed saving.

                Glad to see this come to ballot.

                We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

                by occupystephanie on Thu May 08, 2014 at 04:49:50 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  LeighAnn (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            LeighAnn, OKath

            That link would not work for me but I got this one of the ordinance at their website--GMO Free Josephine County:

            Measure 17-58

            1.The purpose of this Ordinance is to:

            1.Maintain and protect seed sovereignty and local control, free from outside corporate interests and unnecessary and overreaching preemption by the state and federal governments, of this County’s agriculture, environment, public health, economy and private property rights as they pertain to genetic contamination from genetically engineered plants;

            2.Prohibit any person, corporation or entity from propagating, raising, or growing genetically engineered plants in Josephine County; and

            3.Enable Josephine County to enforce the genetically engineered plant ban and recover the costs of such enforcement.

            2.This Ordinance supports the health, welfare and economic viability of the citizens of Josephine County, who desire to:

            1.Maintain and protect their inherent sovereign right to grow crops from natural seeds, in order to sustain their families and communities as they have already successfully done for generations;

            2.Protect the County’s agriculture, environment, public health, economy and private property from the physical, environmental and monetary damages linked to genetically modified organisms; and

            3.Support the right to farm and garden in this County, as the citizens of Josephine County assert that the propagation, cultivation, growing and dispersal of genetically modified organisms are not reasonable or prudent farming practices and instead threaten the health, welfare and economic viability of that inherent right to farm and garden.

            We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

            by occupystephanie on Thu May 08, 2014 at 04:19:22 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry about the double post. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        occupystephanie

        Be bold. Be courageous. Americans are counting on you. Gabby Giffords.

        by Leftleaner on Thu May 08, 2014 at 01:07:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  $$$ (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    occupystephanie

    You need money to buy response ads and publicity, try looking up funders of anti-GMO campaigns. Start with the Organic Consumers Association.

    Include your local newspapers, and local radio, if you can.

    You meet them halfway with love, peace, and persuasion ~ And expect them to rise for the occasion...

    by paz3 on Thu May 08, 2014 at 12:19:26 PM PDT

    •  The money has poured in from out of state (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      madame damnable

      Monsanto and co. pouring money into defeating county measure to ban GMOs

      The internationally-powerful “Big Six” chemical companies are flooding the Measure 15-119 ballot campaign in Jackson County, Oregon with lucrative donations that have helped opponents of the measure amass an eight-to-one spending advantage, according to state figures.

      Monsanto ($183,294), DuPont Pioneer ($129,647), Syngenta ($75,000), Bayer ($22,353), BASF ($22,353), and Dow AgroSciences ($22,353) have donated a combined $455,000 to Good Neighbor Farmers, the political action committee fighting Measure 15-119, which county voters will consider on the May 20 ballot.

      Meanwhile there are hints that this huge flood of outside cash (95%) will have the opposite effect:
      Kimbrell’s group says that even before the latest contribution avalanche from the “Big Six,” about 95 percent of donations in the campaign had come from outside Jackson County.

      "It goes to prove just how much money is coming from outside of our county," Elise Higley, director of Our Family Farms Coalition, told The Oregonian. "The general reaction is that people are really angry that outsiders are pouring this much money into a county measure."

      The citizens of southern Oregon tend to be a very independent lot. We'll see what they make of all this slick advertising being showered down upon them.

      We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

      by occupystephanie on Thu May 08, 2014 at 12:34:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I hope you are right (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        occupystephanie

        Our Family Farms has raised about $100,000 and is relying on print ads, phone banks, door-to-door folks, yard signs and letters to the editor. Truly a grass roots effort.

        Ashland residents I have spoken with on my door-to-door efforts are very supportive but Medford and its surrounding communities are quite conservative and that's what it worrying me.

        You're a ghost driving a meat coated skeleton made from stardust. What do you have to be scared of?

        by madame damnable on Thu May 08, 2014 at 12:55:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The Oregon Farm Bureau is pretty damn powerful (0+ / 0-)

          and they are into agrochemical industrial farming and GMO in a big way.

          Do you have Oregonians for Food & Shelter down there? They have three Biotech execs on their board. Always sounds like this group of homeless hungry people. lol

          We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

          by occupystephanie on Thu May 08, 2014 at 01:26:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      occupystephanie

      My serious oversight!

      Here is a link to Our Family Farms Coalition too.
      They are the main group supporting the measure.

      http://www.ourfamilyfarmscoalition.org/

      You're a ghost driving a meat coated skeleton made from stardust. What do you have to be scared of?

      by madame damnable on Thu May 08, 2014 at 01:41:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Would love to see you include this quote from (0+ / 0-)

        the website in your diary because it makes such perfect sense:

        THE FAMILY FARMS MEASURE 15-119 PROTECTS FAMILY FARMERS from the serious risk that their crops will be contaminated by genetically engineered crops that are patented and controlled by large out-of-state chemical corporations. There’s no practical way to stop genetically engineered pollen and seed from trespassing onto traditional farms that have been here for years. And when a traditional crop becomes contaminated with genetically engineered pollen, it can be impossible for the farmer to sell.

        PROTECTS OUR DRINKING WATER AND KIDS Genetically engineered crops have led to an increase in overall pesticide use, by 404 million pounds from the time they were introduced in 1996 through 2011.1 These chemicals can end up in our water and our children's bodies. This increased pesticide use has also led to the evolution of high-impact Superweeds2. The measure will help prevent Superweeds from becoming a major problem in the Rogue Valley.

        PROTECTS FAMILY FARMERS FROM PATENT LAWSUITS by Monsanto and the other chemical corporations. These corporations have threatened many innocent farmers with patent infringement lawsuits after their patented pollen or seed has trespassed onto family farmers' property

        .

        We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

        by occupystephanie on Thu May 08, 2014 at 01:58:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks, MGross The question & summary: (0+ / 0-)
      15-119  Ordinance to Ban Growing of Some “Genetically-Engineered” (defined) Plants

      Question:  Should Ordinance Ban Growing of “Genetically-Engineered” Plants (defined) in Jackson County and Allow County/Private Persons to Compel Enforcement?

      Summary:  This ordinance would ban any person from propagating, cultivating, raising or growing “genetically-engineered” (defined) plants in Jackson County.

      The Ordinance also:

      ·         Requires affected persons to harvest, destroy or remove all genetically engineered plants within 12 months of the enactment of the ordinance;

      ·         Provides exemptions for certain health, educational, scientific and medical research institutions if activities are conducted under secure, indoor laboratory conditions;

      ·         Allows for inspections of private property by County code enforcement officers after obtaining a search warrant;

      ·         Allows for enforcement of the ordinance by the County and by private persons or groups through the State court system;

      ·         Provides for contested hearings and appeals for alleged violations;

      ·         Allows the County to recover the cost of abatement from the property owner or the person causing the violation;

      ·         Defines the terms “genetically engineered,” “organic agriculture,” and “organic;”

      We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

      by occupystephanie on Thu May 08, 2014 at 01:55:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great ideas and work in Oregon (0+ / 0-)

    Spreading from county to county like wholesome, cleansing wildfire.

    So Jackson will vote this month, and Benton in November. What about Josephine? And did Lane get clearance to start collecting signatures?

    http://attempter.wordpress.com

    by attempter on Sat May 10, 2014 at 09:12:18 AM PDT

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