European-Style GM Crop Destruction Strikes Oregon

Federal felony charges of economic sabotage and domestic terrorism could be brought if whoever destroyed two sugar beet fields in Jackson County, Oregon earlier this month is ever brought to justice.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is investing the destruction of about 6,500 sugar beets that occurred on the nights of June 8 and 11 at two separate fields, both leased by Syngenta AG, the Swiss multinational biotech company.

GMO Free Jackson County, which opposed planting genetically modified crops in the area, posted a notice on its website denying any involvement in the pulling up the sugar beets.

“From the beginning, GMO Free Jackson County has advocated only lawful means of addressing the GMO issue,” it said. “We remain firm in that commitment. We encourage everyone opposed to GMO crops to become involved in the public process of supporting the passage of Measure 15-119 that will ban GMO crops in Jackson County.”

Syngenta AG began contracting with Jackson County farmers to grow sugar beets on leased land last year. GMO Free Jackson County began campaigning against the GM sugar beets, saying they would contaminate surrounding lands. It drafted the ballot measure that will appear on Jackson County ballots on May 20,1914.

Jackson County is on the state’s border with California and is probably best known for the annual Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) in Ashland. Its politics, however, can be dicy. In 2007, voters said they preferred keeping all the county’s libraries closed.

It was on the other side of Oregon that plantings of an abandoned GM wheat variety were found growing in what USDA called an isolated event.  The GM wheat was a Monsanto product, dropped a decade ago for its lack of worldwide marketability.

Food Safety News