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Imperial County, CA Farmers Win 'No GMO' Agreement for Alfalfa to Protect Export Market

For Related Articles and More Information, Please Visit OCA's Genetic Engineering Page, Millions Against Monsanto Page and our California News Page.

As reported in the 2012 Crop & Livestock Report produced by the agricultural commissioner, Imperial County farmers and ranchers were responsible for a gross production valued at $1.95 billion.

Although this figure represents a slight decrease in value from 2011, it is still a significant increase from prior years.

Alfalfa remains as the largest single crop in production. Encompassing more than one-quarter of the total farmable acres in Imperial County, alfalfa ranks No. 2 behind cattle in the top 10 commodities based on production value.

Although a majority of the alfalfa produced locally is shipped to domestic locations, it is estimated that 35 percent of alfalfa hay products and roughly 70 percent of alfalfa seed produced are exported to foreign countries. The alfalfa shipped off to foreign countries is used to provide animal nutrition and an essential ingredient to produce a source of protein for people worldwide.

Many of these foreign countries receiving our alfalfa products forbid the import of genetically modified products, or more commonly referred as GMO products. Due to our unique climate and growing conditions in Imperial County in our summer months, gene flow is virtually unavoidable in this region; thus, the planting of Roundup Ready Alfalfa, a GMO crop, in this area is seen by local growers as a very real threat to the county's significant export industry.    
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