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Organic farmer for Measure P

Genetic Engineering has resulted in the development of agricultural production systems which assume people will eat pesticide in our food. Pesticides like Glyphosate (Round Up) applied directly to GMO crops are taken up by the crop plants, or the plants are genetically engineered to produce Bt toxin (Cry-various) within the plants themselves. These toxins and their by products are present at low levels in every single cell of the plant including the parts we eat. They are an integral part of the production system. The use of 2-4D in these systems, either individually or in combination with the toxins mentioned above, has just been approved by the USDA. Dicamba and several other pesticides are awaiting approval. These agricultural production systems are headed in entirely the wrong direction.

My nearly 35-year farming career has been devoted to raising food without pesticides, even pesticides like Bt that are allowed in organic production. This is a primary goal and direction of organic farming. And I have been successful in this effort. Even conventional best management IPM (Integrated Pest Management) practices try to reduce and minimize pesticide use rather than making that use a designed and built-in part of the production system.

Humboldt County’s small family farms and pasture based dairies have a great advantage in the growing market for value added organic and conventional non-GMO Foods. Organic production has allowed our farms and dairies to compete in national and state markets with the smaller quantities that are possible in Humboldt County. Measure P on the November ballot will protect this advantage and create a three-county GMO Free Zone for value added organic and conventional non-GMO crops and a safe haven for organic seed production. Agricultural production in those counties which have passed GMO bans has only continued to increase and diversify since the bans were enacted.

Conventional agricultural production will also continue in Humboldt because Measure P prohibits only the raising or growing of genetically engineered organisms. Genetically engineered foods and animal feeds will continue to be imported and sold. Laboratory research at Humboldt State University and healthcare work involving GMOs will also be unaffected. Read the proposed ordinance.

I hope you will join me in November by voting YES on Measure P.

John LaBoyteaux, Redcrest

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