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Lawsuit delays start of GMO ban

Grants Pass Daily Courier

Josephine County has agreed to hold off enforcing a ban on genetically modified crops until a lawsuit against the county by a former GMO grower is settled in court.

Wally Hicks, county legal counsel, said Josephine County commissioners decided to suspend the Sept. 4 deadline for self-reporting by GMO growers.

The county announced in July that farmers growing GMO crops must contact the Sheriff's Office with their name, crop location and crop type, plus a phase-out plan to be done by Sept. 4.

Voters passed the GMO ban in May 2014, joining Jackson County, but only after the state legislature passed a resolution forbidding local bans. Jackson County was exempted because its ballot measure was under way earlier.

Robert A. White Jr. and Shelly White, who grew GMO sugar beets on their farm outside Cave Junction, sued the county last week.

Hicks said because the plaintiffs’ attorney was going to file a temporary restraining order, and that because there are no known GMO growers now, the commissioners agreed to suspending enforcement.