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County With GMO Crop Ban Permits Roundup Ready Alfalfa

The Oregon county where voters in 2014 banned genetically modified crops has reached a peace agreement with growers of its largest existing genetically engineered crop.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Clarke Tuesday approved terms of a settlement in the lawsuit challenging the Jackson County 2014 ballot measure banning genetically modified crops.

roundupralfalfa_406x250Two farm families that grow Roundup Ready Alfalfa® (RRA) sued Jackson County in November 2014 to block the crop ban, or require the county to pay them the value of crops that would be destroyed if the ban were enforced. On May 29, 2015, Judge Clarke rejected the farmers’ claim that the ban violated Oregon’s Right to Farm law, but did not rule on the farmers’ claims for losses if their alfalfa crops were destroyed.

The settlement agreement was reached after months of negotiations among attorneys for the farmers, the county and intervenors representing supporters of the crop ban.
The settlement agreement allows farmers growing RRA planted before the ordinance was enacted up to eight years to get full value from their investment in the alfalfa crops. The county and advocates for the ordinance agree not to seek enforcement against farmers growing RRA that comply with settlement requirements. And farmers agree not to appeal Judge Clarke’s ruling that the ban does not violate Oregon law.

For the farm families growing Roundup Ready Alfalfa®, final approval of the settlement lifts the threat of losing their valuable alfalfa crops, and potentially their farms, “ said Shannon Armstrong, attorney for the alfalfa farmers. “It’s welcome news in this Holiday season.” Armstrong is with Markowitz Herbold PC in Portland.

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