Half of the Willamette Valley is in danger of being opened up to canola production. Canola is a serious threat to several thriving agricultural industries in this region of Oregon, including vegetable and clover seed producers, fresh vegetable producers, and especially organic producers. Canola is a host to four diseases and two insect pests that threaten vegetable producers. Making matters worse, most canola is genetically modified to be resistant to herbicides, making it even harder for farmers (especially organic farmers) to eradicate. Canola also readily cross-pollinates with other brassicas like turnip and broccoli, making the seed from those plants unmarketable. The Willamette Valley is one of the last five remaining areas of the world where vegetable seed can be commercially grown and this revised rule threatens to cripple this $50 million industry and ecological treasure.
In August of this year, the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) issued a draft proposed rule that would open up 1.7 million acres of the formerly protected 3.6 million acres to canola production. At a public hearing in September, dozens of farmers took time off from work during their busiest season to tell ODA just how much economic and environmental harm this would cause.
You can help! Sign the online petition or submit your comments to the ODA before the comment period ends on Friday, November 2nd.
Email comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, see Friends of Family Farmers’ website.
Nellie McAdams is the iFarm Program Director & Policy Liaison for Friends of Family Farmers, an organization working to promote and protect socially responsible agriculture in Oregon.