Family farmers encouraged by rejection of biotech bans
» November 3, 2004 «
Organized opposition by family farmers led to defeat for initiatives aimed at banning agricultural biotechnology in two California counties.
Voters in Butte County rejected the biotech ban by a margin of 61 percent to 39 percent. In San Luis Obispo County, the anti-biotech initiative failed by a margin of 59 percent to 41 percent.
"We thank the voters for supporting the family farmers of Butte and San Luis Obispo counties," California Farm Bureau Federation President Bill Pauli said. "Flexibility in crop choices benefits both farmers and consumers.
"Family farmers take great pride in growing healthy and affordable food for consumers," he added. "We grow what consumers demand. Biotech crops promise new ways for family farmers to keep pace with changing consumer trends. Research also offers hope that agriculture can play a role in producing medicines to fight life-threatening diseases."
Pauli noted that biotech crops undergo years of scientific testing and thoughtful regulatory review before being made available.
"Voters in Butte and San Luis Obispo counties recognize that biotechnology promises healthy crops that benefit consumers, farmers and the environment," he said.
Voters also rejected a proposed biotech ban in Humboldt County, which had been declared unconstitutional even before the election. In Marin County, an anti-biotech measure won approval as expected.
"While we're encouraged by the failure of most of the anti-biotech measures, we're disappointed by passage of the Marin County initiative," Pauli said. "As we saw in Butte and San Luis Obispo counties, voters will reject these measures if we can provide them enough information about biotechnology's benefits."
Pauli pledged that Farm Bureau will continue work to educate Californians about the promise of agricultural biotechnology.
The California Farm Bureau Federation is the state's largest farm organization, representing more than 89,000 members statewide.
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