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Monsanto, Syngenta, Other Pesticide, Crop Companies Give $455,000 to Fight Jackson County GMO Measure

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

Six pesticide and plant biotechnology firms have donated $455,000 to the campaign fighting a measure on the May ballot in Jackson County that would ban some genetically modified crops.

It's a whopping amount of money for a local county measure, but the stakes are huge for these companies. If the measure passes, the companies stand to lose money. Opponents also fear the measure's passage could set a precedent and provide momentum for statewide efforts to ban genetically modified agriculture or require labeling of genetically modified foods.

Pesticide and biotech firm Monsanto Company donated $183,294, GMO seed producer DuPont Pioneer $129,647, biotech firm Sygenta Crop Protection $75,000, and $22,353 each from biotech firms Bayer CropScience, BASF Plant Science and Dow AgroSciences.

Good Neighbor Farms, the political action committee fighting the measure, received and reported the contributions Thursday, according to the Secretary of State's Office.

The group also recently picked up $10,000 from the Oregon Seed Council, $7,500 Nyssa Nampa Beet Growers Association, and $5,000 from Stimson Lumber. That's all on top of thousands of dollars in previous donations that have poured in from across the country.

All told, the group has more than $556,000 cash on hand -- an astounding amount for a local measure.

They have an overwhelming fundraising advantage over the measure's supporters. Two political action committees supporting the measure, GMO Free Jackson County and Our Family Farms Coalition, have a combined $102,368 cash on hand.

Residents are taking note of the out-of-state contributions, said Elise Higley, director of Our Family Farms Coalition, a group of more than 150 farmers in favor of the measure.

"It goes to prove just how much money is coming from outside of our county," said Higley, an Applegate farmer who grows organic and nonorganic crops. "The general reaction is that people are really angry that outsiders are pouring this much money into a county measure."

Jackson County was the only county exempt from a law enacted last fall that made the state the regulator of agricultural seeds. The Jackson County measure had qualified for the ballot before the Legislature approved it.