Governor Kitzhaber announced the kick-off of his Task Force on Genetically Engineered Agriculture. Task Force members will begin meeting on Thursday, April 10, to discuss organizational matters and the Governor’s charge for the group.
Jennifer Allen, Director of Portland State University's Institute for Sustainable Solutions, will co-convene the task force with Dan Arp, Dean of the School of Agriculture at Oregon State University.
“Oregon farmers and consumers are grappling with major issues associated with genetically modified crops and food,” said Governor Kitzhaber. “This Task Force will bring people with diverse perspectives together to help improve understanding of the range of issues and move forward on solutions that fit Oregonians’ values and needs.”
The Task Force will identify and frame the major issues between growers of genetically-engineered (GE) agricultural products and other producers, including organic growers. The Governor also asked members to identify and describe areas of agreement and disagreement related to GE and non-GE food products, including information for consumers, and strategies other states and regions have used to address these areas of concern.
The Task Force is expected to meet through the fall of this year. The first meeting will focus on organizational matters rather than substantive topics. Allen and Arp will set the stage for future discussions, reminding members that they do not need to reach consensus on issues to prepare a report for the Governor.
“Our efforts will be focused on laying out broad and diverse perspectives on GE agriculture issues in Oregon,” said Allen. “Because we will be discussing a range of strategies and approaches to develop a comprehensive understanding of the issues, we can really benefit from the specific skills and experience each member brings to the table. This will be a good conversation for Oregon.”
Task Force Members:
- Barry Bushue, Oregon Farm Bureau
- Katy Coba, Oregon Department of Agriculture
- Connie Kirby, Northwest Food Processors Association
- Greg Loberg, Oregon Seed Trade Association
- Ivan Maluski, Friends of Family Farmers
- Frank Morton, Shoulder to Shoulder Farm
- Jim Myers, Oregon State University
- Marty Myers, Threemile Canyon Farms
- Paulette Pyle, Oregonians for Food and Shelter
- Chris Schreiner, Oregon Tilth
- Lisa Sedlar, Green Zebra Grocery
- Steve Strauss, Oregon State University
- Sam Tannahill, A to Z Wineworks