California’s Agricultural Industry Gears Up to Fight for GM Crops

The nascent movement against genetically modified crops in California has spurred the state’s agricultural industry to action. Ballot measures banning the cultivation of GM crops have already passed in Mendocino and Trinity counties, and will appear on November ballots in Butte, Humboldt, Marin, and San Luis Obispo counties. Now, agricultural groups like the Farm Bureau and the California Rice Commission are gearing up to fight the measures. Much of California cropland is devoted to specialty crops that do not yet have GM options, but many farmers want to leave the possibility open; they also worry that an excessively granola message from the state will keep big biotech money away. Biotech backers in Sacramento are looking into legislation that would prevent such county efforts, and officials at the U.S. Department of Agriculture are exploring a legal challenge to the ballot initiatives.