MEDFORD, Ore. — People who want to ban Genetically Modified Crops, or GMOs, are gearing up for their campaign efforts tonight. Two different groups are teaming up to open a downtown headquarters for the cause. Shortly, supporters will file into the new campaign headquarters in the Woolworth Building in Medford.
The launch party will rally volunteers and lay out the campaign’s strategies for winning what the anti-GMO groups call a “David and Goliath Battle” that would create a ban on growing the crops. Local farmers plan to campaign as well, except they plan to campaign against the ban.
The president of the Jackson County Farm Bureau, Ron Bjork, says that local resources should be used on public services. He explains, “I’d like to see them be focused on things like libraries and schools and fire and police and those types of things and then I’d like to add that we hope that they would be focused on things like our extension the things that we really need the farmers and ranchers need in the valley.”
The ordinance on the ballot would ban any person from propagating, cultivating, raising, or growing “genetically-engineered” plants in Jackson County. It would also require farmers to destroy those kinds of plants. An emergency clause passed in the Oregon Legislature limits the local governments from regulating GMOs, but the measure excludes Jackson County because the group began the process early enough to avoid feeling the effect of that clause.