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MailTribune.com
  • Ban would infringe on my rights to farm

  • First, a little background: I am not writing on behalf of the supporters of or detractors from Ballot Measure 51-119. I am writing only on behalf of myself and my wife.
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  • First, a little background: I am not writing on behalf of the supporters of or detractors from Ballot Measure 51-119. I am writing only on behalf of myself and my wife.
    We are family farmers in Jackson County and have been on the farm since 1991. We do not knowingly use GMO seeds on our farm. I don't like many of the things that large conglomerates have done to modify the genes in some species of plants and animals to gain results that are not clearly understood over the long haul for financial gain. But there are several howevers to this argument.
    Now a few facts:
    As of the USDA 2007 Census of Agriculture there were 1,976 farms in Jackson County. The average size was 124 acres. Of those 1,976 farms, 1,332 had a farm sales value of $9,999 or less. Only 498 farms had a farm sales value of $20,000 or more.
    Not all GMO crops are bad or developed by private conglomerates. Golden Rice was developed by the International Rice Research Institute to provide a source of vitamin A for people who get most of their daily calories from rice. A quarter million to a half million children a year go blind because of a lack of vitamin A. In Asia and Africa, 2 million or more people die each year of diseases they would otherwise survive because of weakened immune systems.
    I have to vote against Measure 15-119 for the following reasons:
    The measure is really to protect a small percentage of farmers in Jackson County from potential impacts from an even smaller group of farmers in Jackson County. But if this measure passes, it will definitely affect my future choices on what I can or cannot grow on my farm. This measure has the ability to erode my potential income because no one knows what future science will bring in the world of plants and animals through genetic modification.
    Passing Measure 15-119 will affect my property rights now and in the future. It will be one more infringement on my right to own, use and enjoy property under common law and the Fifth and 14th amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
    The potential loss of future opportunities to own, use and enjoy my property and the loss of the ability to take advantage of whatever future developments science and the human mind may develop to make me a better farmer, protector of the environment and a more productive citizen is far greater than the benefits that may be gained by a minority group because of something that may happen as the result of what someone else in Jackson County may or may not do.
    I say to those promoting the passage of Measure 15-119, if you can prove you have been harmed by the infringement on your property by GMO crop pollens, take them to court for trespass and collect appropriate damages. Please do not infringe upon my rights and ability to farm, use and enjoy my property.
    Charlie Boyer and his wife, Pam, are farmers near Eagle Point, raising sheep for locker lamb and grass/clover hay. Charlie has been a leader in soil and water conservation in Jackson County and the state of Oregon for the past 15 years. He teaches management and intensive grazing through the Jackson Soil and Water Conservation District and has conducted on-farm tours for many farmers or potential farmers since 1991.
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