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for April 12, 2013


Cartoon resorts
to stereotypes

I write as a farmer, business owner, Farm Bureau member and former infantry officer to say how amused I was by the cartoon that accompanied your editorial of April 5.

I am amused that you feel it necessary to resort to what can only be described as a childish, stereotypical and ad hominem attack.

You accuse the 6,700 citizens, over 100 farms, and 300 businesses and organizations in Jackson County that support Measure 15-119 of "emotion" in a blatant attempt to undermine the legitimacy of the fact based concerns that those who seek to outlaw the propagation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) share.

"Bullfeathers" you may say, but I ask: Why so bull-headed in your seemingly blinkered support for unnatural, unproven "technology?" Those in favor of Measure 15-119 are well versed in the admittedly rather thin arguments in favor of widespread GMO adoption, and have clear and enumerable reasons to see GMO production cease completely and permanently. How well are you and others, who respond knee-jerk with claims of zealotry and emotion, actually versed in the dangers GMOs present?

I assume you are not just taking Farm Bureau, Syngenta and Monsanto at their word? The Big Government-Big Corporation revolving door extends to the agricultural sector, too, and I think you do farmers a disservice in how you represent this matter. Do you have a mission or desire to impartially report and investigate issues of interest in the agricultural sector, or are you merely a mouthpiece and shill for the biotech sector?

I would like to conclude with the following reconciliatory observations:

Organic and "conventional" (non-GMO) farmers face the same challenges that those in the vocal minority in favor of GMOs do. All farmers are independent and self-reliant and do not appreciate others telling them what they can and cannot do. All farmers face the same bureaucratic hurdles and obstacles that the state and federal governments throw their way with regard employment law, licensing, regulating and record-keeping.

Just because they may have a beard and drive a Subaru makes them no less incredulous at government overreach than the guy in a Dodge Ram with a cheek full of Grizzly! Farmers are farmers, like it or not -- and there is strength in union. The reason that so many in Jackson County want to see GMO propagation criminalized is not to limit the freedoms of their fellow farmers or to jeopardize their livelihoods, it is because they want to protect and maintain their freedom to choose, and to maintain and protect their livelihoods.

Simply, GMOs cannot -- by the very nature of wind pollinated plants -- "co-exist." The emotion that those in favor of Measure 15-119 may feel and exhibit is the same that any farmer would demonstrate if a neighbor set an uncontrollable burn pile next to his dry hay crop, or one whose neighbor poured poison into a draw that runs into a pond that feeds his stock tanks, or one whose neighbor deliberately infected his herd with foot and mouth and allowed them to graze with his stock on the open range.

It is time for those so bellicose in their support of GMOs to pause and examine the situation unreactively and openly. ... The marketplace for GMO-free and organic crops is growing. A GMO-free Jackson County is a potential gold mine for forward-thinking farmers prepared and capable of doing things more like Grandpa used to, and less like the biotech salesman says.

A.J. Boulton

Iron Age Farm

Applegate Valley, Ore.



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