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Close to $1 million pours in to local GMO-ban campaign

Political action committees facing off over a ballot measure to ban genetically modified crops in Jackson County have raised more than $900,000, with the bulk of that money trying to stop the ban.

Good Neighbor Farmers, which opposes the measure and a similar ballot measure under consideration in Josephine County, has raised $799,835, according to campaign financial information reported to the Secretary of State.

Of that amount, $464,500 comes from major producers of herbicides and genetically modified crops, according to the Secretary of State's website. Among them are Bayer CropScience, BASF Plant Science, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont Pioneer, Monsanto Co., Syngenta Crop Protection, and the National Corngrowers Association. The largest donation — $183,294.10 — comes from Monsanto.

The richest group supporting the ban, Our Family Farms, has raised just $107,411, with $55,000 of that coming from another ban-supporting group, GMO Free Jackson County. GMO Free Jackson County has collected $59,000.

Syngenta leases land in both Jackson and Josephine counties to produce seed for sugar beets genetically modified to withstand herbicides.

Organic farmers put the measures on the county ballots because they are afraid that wind-blown pollen from Syngenta plots will contaminate their crops.

— Ryan Pfeil