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Farmers Speak Out on GMO Mapping Effort

6-14 gmoGRANTS PASS, Ore. – Jackson and Josephine Counties just placed bans on genetically modified crops, and now Oregon may become the first state in the country to map out GMO fields.

Governor John Kitzhaber ordered the move last October, which would increase transparency among farmers in the state, helping to pinpoint the cause and location of any cross-contamination.

It’s based on failed efforts between Southern Oregon farmers and biotech company Syngenta.

Local anti-GMO activists say the maps, while symbolic, would do little to ease farmers’ concerns.

“I think it’s good to know where they’re being grown, but it doesn’t change the threat risk to the other farmers,” said Elise Higley, owner of Oshala Farms and campaigner with Our Family Farms Coalition.

Some biotech companies worry the maps would lead to crop sabotage. Right now regulators in the state do not have the authority to create the maps, but the legislature could grant them the option as early as the 2015 legislative session.