Agriculture

Oregon Monsanto Protests Draw Hundreds

OPB | May 25, 2013 8:10 p.m. | Portland

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Hundreds of people from around Oregon today came to protest the practices of the food production giant Monsanto and several legislative actions related to Monsanto’s business. At the Portland demonstration, marchers called for labeling or outright bans of genetically modified organisms.

Farmer Andrew Still and sign interpreter at the Portland protest.

Farmer Andrew Still and sign interpreter at the Portland protest.

April Baer / Oregon Public Broadcasting

Andrew Still is a seed producer from Linn County. He told a crowd Monsanto hasn’t been as active in Oregon as in other states. But he says the company developed genetically modified varieties of sugar beet seeds produced in the Willamette Valley for beet farms in the Midwest. Still also knows some growers have experimented with genetically modified canola.

“These two crops threaten to contaminate our GMO-free seed with GMO traits,” Still said. “The Valley grows a lot of chard, table beets, cabbage, kale, mizuna, and turnip greens, all of which are at risk.”

The demonstrators support a bill in the Oregon legislature that would ban canola production.

Some legislators, including Republican State Senator Jeff Kruse of Roseburg have said some benefits can be achieved through responsible genetic modifications.

Oregon Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley has inserted an amendment into the Farm Bill that would preserve the ability of judges to halt distribution OF modified seeds by producers like Monsanto.

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