Biotech Firms Donate To Combat Oregon Counties’ GMO Measures

Good Neighbor Farmers, a political action committee in Oregon determined to defeat two proposed measures that would ban GMOs in certain Oregon counties, received enormous sums of money from Monsanto and other biotech companies yesterday. Good Neighbor Farmers PAC opposes two measures facing The Beaver State this year. Total contributions to the committee to date amounted to $799,835.00. The Oregonianreported yesterday, “It’s a whopping amount of money for a local county measure, but the stakes are huge for these companies. If the measure passes, the companies stand to lose money.”

Measure 15-119, which appears on the May 20 ballot, would ban the growing of genetically modified crops in Jackson County. Similarly, Measure 17-58 intends to ban GMOs in Josephine County. Good Neighbor Farmers PAC and biotech firms oppose both anti-GMO measures.

According to transaction reports from the Oregon Secretary of State, the biotech giants Bayer CropScience, BASF Plant Science, and Dow AgroSciences each donated $22,352.95 in an attempt to perpetuate GM plant farming in two counties. DuPont Pioneer contributed $129,647.05. Syngenta shelled out $75,000 to support GMOs in Oregon counties. Monsanto, the globally recognized king of biotechnology, out-spent them all: Monsanto donated a whopping $183.294.10 cash to Good Neighbor Farmers political action committee.

GMO Free Josephine County says, “This is totally different than conventional plant breeding or hybridization.​ The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) urges physicians to advise all patients to avoid GMO food. Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with consuming genetically modified foods including: infertility, immune problems, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and gastrointestinal systems.” Biotech firms dispute the studies.

According to the Oregonian, the committee has more than $556,000 cash on hand, which is an exorbitant amount of working funds to defeat local measures. GMO Free Jackson County and Our Family Farms Coalition, which are two PACs that are supporting the measures to ban GMOs have only a combined $102,368 to work with.

A survey released by two advocacy groups in March says that organic farmers feel they are struggling to keep crops in their fields free of GMO contaminants, according to Food & Water Watch. Last year, Monsanto was sued over rogue GM wheat was found in Oregon fields. The genetically modified wheat strain was tested by Monsanto almost a decade earlier and had never been approved for use by the FDA. NPR reported that the GMO was discovered “when a farmer in eastern Oregon sprayed a field with the weedkiller glyphosate, or Roundup. Most vegetation died, as the farmer intended, but clumps of green wheat stalks kept growing. They apparently had sprouted from grain that was leftover in the field from last year’s crop.”