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OPINION: Yes on Measure M

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OPINION: Yes on Measure M

Today, Citizens for Healthy Farms and Families announced that Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, BASF, and duPont have arrived in Sonoma County to fight Measure M on the November 8 ballot. Measure M is a local ballot measure to prohibit growing GMO’s. 

“Just recently, the opposition was quoted as saying they weren’t planning to spend money against Measure M,” said Karen Hudson, Yes on M campaign manager. According to documents filed with the Sonoma County Clerk, these companies are funding a recently formed committee named ‘No on M- Sponsored and Opposed by farmers, ranchers, and agricultural technology companies’ and have reported receipt of over, $98,000 since October 10. The contribution reports can be viewed online, here: bit.ly/2dw5DDX Agro-chemical corporations wouldn’t be putting money in, if they didn’t have plans for Sonoma County. The fact is, more and more people want non-GMO food, and our local farms have a right to grow without contamination. It’s that simple.” 

These companies make genetically engineered seeds and the herbicides designed to be used with them. When grown in open fields, GMO crops present a contamination threat to non-GMO farms miles away. As new GMO crop varieties are approved for planting, local farmers, who are trying to meet the needs of consumers desiring non-GMO food, will face an even greater threat to their businesses. 80% of Sonoma County dairies are organic, which means that their cows cannot eat GMO contaminated grass.

“My right to grow non-GMO should not be threatened by someone else’s business practices that are harmful to mine. Millions of dollars in lost export revenue has occurred from GMO contamination,” said Joey Smith, owner/manager of Let’s Go Farm in Santa Rosa. “Because people growing genetically engineered crops are not required to register, we don’t know exactly how many genetically engineered crops are growing here in Sonoma County.” he continued. “We don’t want GMO crops proliferating here, so that’s why we are taking action. The Measure is carefully written to be fair to all farmers. Measure M is really about being proactive, just like the GMO growing bans in the five other CA counties.”

Chemical companies have spent money fighting similar battles in other communities that have had measures to prohibit growing GMO crops before voters. In Jackson County, Oregon, chemical companies spent nearly $1 million in 2014 against Measure 15-119. The ban, however, was approved by more than 65% of voters. “In 2014 when big chemical corporations poured a million dollars of outside money to oppose Jackson County’s GMO ban, local voters saw through the opposition’s political bull and rallied to support the genetically engineered crop ban that would protect family farms and the agricultural future of our valley. GMO crops and traditional crops can’t coexist.” said Elise Higley, Executive Director of Our Family Farms and Family Farmers.

The Yes on M Committee is relying on the support of a broad list of endorsers, including: local farmers, dairy owners, farming organizations, vintners, business owners, newspapers, environmental organizations like the Sierra Club and Sonoma County Conservation Action; political groups like the local Democratic Party; former Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey; former State Senator Noreen Evans; former State Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada; local elected and community leaders from across Sonoma County and numerous residents.

The text of Measure M, a full list of endorsements, and more information can be found at: gmofreesonomacounty.com.

 

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