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Our View: GMO deal seems fair

It may be a bit difficult to swallow for some opponents of genetically modified crops, but a tentative agreement to phase out those crops over eight years seems to be a fair solution that will limit court costs and ultimately end up where the GMO opponents want to be.

A settlement between a group of farmers and Jackson County would allow farmers who were previously growing GMO alfalfa to continue for up to eight years. That settlement came as the farmers were suing the county for $4.2 million, which they say is the value of the crops they would have to destroy following voter approval of a measure to ban GMO crops in Jackson County.

Voters countywide made it clear in May 2014 they wanted nothing to do with GMO crops, winning nearly two-thirds of the vote despite a massive influx of money from major agri-chemical corporations. Non-GMO farmers were the big winners after pushing for the ban because they feared contamination of their fields.

The losers included the corporations, for whom no one shed tears, but also local alfalfa farmers who had GMO alfalfa in their fields. Because alfalfa fields can grow crops for multiple years from one planting, they were faced with losing a significant investment. They also say they would have had to leave their fields fallow for up to four years before replanting alfalfa.

This settlement gives those farmers time to recoup their investments and make plans for a different future. That seems like a fair deal.