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Battle over genetically modified foods in Oregon
Organic farmers try to push genetically engineered sugar beet giant out of 2 Oregon counties
By JEFF BARNARD
Associated Press
2014-05-18 03:01 AM

ASHLAND, Oregon (AP) -- Voters in two small Oregon counties are deciding whether to ban genetically modified crops from being grown.

Organic farmers in Jackson County near the California border were trying to work out a system to make sure genetically engineered sugar beet seed grown by the Swiss company Syngenta did not cross-pollinate with organic crops grown nearby.

When talks broke down, the farmers decided to go to voters. Mail ballots will be counted Tuesday.

Despite millions spent by agribusinesses, opponents of genetically modified crops have scored some small victories. Counties in California, Hawaii and Washington state have enacted cultivation bans, and the Vermont legislature is requiring food containing GMOs be labeled for consumers.

An industry spokeswoman said the Oregon measures are an assault on farming.

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