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Oregon To Allow Canola Crop In Willamette Valley

Oregon will allow canola to be grown in the Willamette Valley for the first time despite objections from organic seed farmers.

The state Department of Agriculture issued a new rule Thursday allowing up to 2,500 acres of the yellow-flowering canola, which can be pressed to extract oil for food or renewable fuel.

Canola is in the same plant family as vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. Farmers who grow seeds for those vegetables fear genetically-modified canola pollen will contaminate their organic product and bring new pests and diseases.

Agriculture officials say canola will still be excluded from areas with the most intense concentrations of vegetable-seed fields. The new rules include restrictions designed to prevent conflicts between canola fields and vegetable-seed farms.

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