The Oregon House has passed a bill that would ban nearly all canola production in the Willamette Valley for a period of five years. The legislation would put the brakes on a decision from Oregon Department of Agriculture allows limited production under tight restrictions.
Those restrictions were put in place to prevent canola from cross-pollinating with genetically similar plants, like cabbage and cauliflower. ODA said it based its decision on research that indicated the crop could be grown without posing a risk to the valley’s $50 million specialty seed industry.
But one of the bill’s sponsors, Democratic Representative Sara Gelser says seed growers need more certainty than that.
Gelser said, “The fact is without further scientific research to demonstrate that it’s safe to introduce canola into the Willamette Valley, that industry is put at risk.”
The bill would authorize nearly 700 thousand dollars for Oregon State University to do a three year study. Voting against the bill, Democratic Representative Brian Clem says overriding the ODA rule would set a dangerous precedent for Oregon agriculture. The bill passed 37 to 22 and now heads to the Senate.