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|Articles - April 2012|
|Thursday, March 22, 2012|
Page 5 of 5Indeed, philanthropists have gotten behind the GMO cause to feed world hunger. GMO crops now include everything from drought-tolerant wheat and corn and bollworm resistant cotton to Roundup Ready soybeans, vitamin-enriched rice and pest-resistant potatoes and canola. According to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications, 16.7 million farmers in 29 countries had adopted such technologies as of February 2012.
But the patent litigation against Monsanto, and the push toward an organically pure Willamette Valley, are still of concern.
Kurt Wickstrom, president of Betaseed in Tangent, a seed production facility with 100 employees, says the Willamette Valley produces seed sown on 1.2 million acres in North America, tying the area directly to more than 50% of the domestic sugar supply for North America, which is 90% Roundup Ready. The remaining sugar supply comes from cane.
“Most of the sugar factories in North America are owned by sugarbeet farmers,” he said. And if Roundup Ready sugarbeet seeds become unavailable, risk to farming families who have invested in the industry is high. Wickstrom says Roundup Ready seeds are necessary to manage the crop efficiently and make sure the sugar supply is reliable.
Also at issue for Greg Loberg, manager of West Coast Beet Seed Company in Salem, a cooperative that produces sugarbeet seed, is that litigation distracts farmers from crop isolation techniques that could remedy problems.
“Litigation is not good for business,” Loberg says. “It’s expensive and it really hampers communication and education. It’s unfortunate, because this ongoing litigation has a tendency to make enemies, rather than encourage coexistence.”
While that atmosphere persists, it will be years before anyone knows the outcome of the OSGATA litigation. Judge Buchwald dismissed the case on Feb. 24, finding that mere potential for injury to organic farmers isn’t the same as actual injury, or even controversy, particularly when Monsanto hasn’t sued any of the plaintiffs and none have lost organic certification over trace contaminants. But despite the suit’s inability to move forward in that New York courtroom, the issue will continue. OSGATA’s Gerritsen says the organization plans to appeal to help organic farmers survive.
“The organic consumer equates freedom from GMO products with organic crops. This is our customer,” Gerritsen says. “Any business has to meet and exceed the requirements of their customer to stay in business.”
Thursday, July 31, 2014
BY MARY SPILDE | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
Faced with the aftermath of the “great recession,” increasing concern about the environment and dwindling family wage jobs, we have some very important choices to make about our future.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY DEBRA RINGOLD | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
Why has six years become an acceptable investment in public undergraduate education that over-promises and underperforms?
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
The New Yorker recently published a sharply worded critique of “disruptive innovation,” one of the most widely cited theories in the business world today. The article raises questions about the descriptive value of disruption and innovation — whether the terms are mere buzzwords or actually explain today's extraordinarily complex and fast changing business environment.
Update: We caught up with Portland's Thomas Thurston, who shared his data driven take on the disruption controversy.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
OB Research Editor Kim Moore shares some pointers about the 100 Best Companies to Work For survey.
Monday, July 14, 2014
BY TERRY "STARBUCKER" ST. MARIE
I really didn’t know that much about angel investing, but I did know a lot about the entrepreneurial spirit.
Monday, August 25, 2014
BY JASON NORRIS | OB GUEST BLOGGER
Ferguson Wellman’s investment views on the economy and capital markets.
Friday, August 22, 2014
BY CLIFF HOCKLEY | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
When business intersects with family, a host of situations can arise. Without a clear vision and careful planning, hard-earned investments can become stressful burdens.
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