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Beyond the Rows is a Monsanto Company blog focused on one of the world’s most important industries, agriculture. Monsanto employees write about Monsanto’s business, the agriculture industry, and the farmer.
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The Ballot Initiative in Jackson County, Oregon

Featured Article

By Lisa Drake
Government Affairs 

Like many companies, we often advocate for policies we think are sound, and oppose those we think are not.  And that advocacy sometimes includes support for campaigns about ballot initiatives. 

For instance, we recently were part of a coalition that opposed state ballot initiatives in California and Washington State that would have imposed complex and confusing requirements for the mandatory labeling of GMO foods.  We contributed a total of about $13.5 million to support coalitions that opposed these measures, while the total spent by those who shared our concerns was about $66 million. Like us, they’re confident that foods that include GM ingredients are safe.  We have long supported voluntary labeling as long as such labeling is accurate and not misleading. 

A Jackson County, Oregon ballot initiative titled “15-119” is another case where we’ve supported efforts to defeat what we think is a bad policy proposal. If enacted, this measure would prohibit local farmers from choosing to grow federally approved GMO seeds and create a financial burden for the county which would then have to spend monies to enforce it. We’ve contributed $183,294.10 to a coalition that opposes this proposal. Why? 

  • First, a ban on growing approved GMO seeds would be unfair to farmers – who should continue to be able to choose what kind of crops to grow on their own land. Furthermore, it is important to note that farmers have co-existed with neighboring farmers for hundreds of years.
  • Second, foods with GMO ingredients are safe to eat and provide environmental benefits such as promoting reduced tillage practices.  GMO bans just don’t make sense. 

At Monsanto, we’re proud of what we do to improve agriculture around the world. We work every day to help farmers produce food that is safe, healthy and affordable for you and your family. We also are committed to being part of a conversation about that food. That’s why we wanted to share our thoughts and perspective on this important topic.

10 Responses to "The Ballot Initiative in Jackson County, Oregon"

  1. GMO’s are labeled in most other countries of the world, LABEL IT HERE! I want to know if I am purchasing and consuming a product that contains genes from other species. Quite frankly, I only want corn genes in my corn, ditto every other vegetable, fruit, grain, etc. Label it and give me a choice.

    • I just heard of another company that uses GMO products fighting a smaller, but USDA Organic, Non-GMO Project certified company who they claim is “taking shares” of their customer base with “Unfair labeling”, because they have a free market and a choice to add their certifications and qualifications to their labeling. This much larger and more funded corporation wants to declare the smaller company’s practice of truthful labeling unfair, which I believe would set a precedent for not only hiding GMO foods, but pounding small companies into complete obscurity. It seems to me that the companies using GMO foods want to monopolize the market and shut down anything that gives people a choice!

      • While we can’t comment on other companies that utilize genetic modification in their crops, at Monsanto, we fully support companies’ right to choose to label their products. There are 100s of products in the marketplace that are labeled regarding the non-use of GMOs which provide consumers ready access and opportunity to exercise their right to make personal decisions about the foods they purchase and eat. Also, we think there isn’t just one solution when it comes to addressing big global challenges like sustainable food production. Instead, it’s going to take a lot of different tools and approaches. That includes organic farming, and we support organic farming. We provide a range of non-GMO seeds for fruits and veggies like tomatoes, melons and bell peppers, and many of our customers for those seeds are organic farmers.

        Our own Dr. Robb Fraley, Monsanto’s Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, wrote a piece in The Huffington Post about feeding the world with both GMOs and organic.

      • It all comes back to control and money.

        So glad there are people like you in the world who have their eyes open and refuse to be brainwashed by the “truth” that the government feeds us. Keep standing up for your human rights!!

  2. This initiative is not about labeling it is about restricting a farmers choice on what to plant. This is another attempt to overrule the approval process established by state and federal governments at the cost of the tax payers. We have the safest, most abundant food supply in the world and we need to thank technology and the American Farmer for that.

  3. Can you please explain why we need Bio-technology to ‘improve’ the vitality and crop endurance of varieties such as corn?

    Also, I have a question regarding Monsanto’s apparent efforts to protect the Honey Bee. It is a known fact that pesticides are harmful to bees, so why are they approved for use near, surrounding and on land?

    I would appreciate it if you could attach links regarding long-term research that has been undertaken by independent groups.

    Many thanks,

    Caela Edington

    • Caela, Thanks for your questions.

      First, research has shown that a variety of factors impact bee health, specifically parasitic mites and poor nutrition. Seed treatments like neonicotinoids can actually help bees by reducing topical spraying and unnecessary exposure to pesticides. When seed treatment products are used correctly, they are effective and have not been found to harm honey bees, or any other important pollinators.

      Are you looking for links to GMO safety studies? From 2001 to 2010, more than 50 studies were conducted in Europe alone, funded by the European Commission (at a cost of >200 million euros) and performed by more than 400 research groups. These studies are summarized in “A Decade of EU-Funded GMO Research.” http://ec.europa.eu/research/biosociety/pdf/a_decade_of_eu-funded_gmo_research.pdf
      Additionally, hundreds of independent studies can be found on the Biofortified website, http://genera.biofortified.org/viewall.php.

      For any other questions you have, please feel free to visit http://www.discover.monsanto.com. So far, there are more than 500 answers to questions about food asked by the general public.

  4. Pingback: 5 Common Questions about GMO Labeling - Discover Monsanto

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