EUREKA – The Humboldt County Genetic Contamination Prevention Ordinance, better known as Measure P, has been approved resoundingly by Humboldt County voters. According to final election-night returns posted by the county Elections Office, Measure P received support from more than 59% of voters. The measure bans the raising or growing of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Humboldt County.
“We’re extremely pleased with this result,” said Bill Schaser, a Eureka resident, retired Eureka High science teacher and spokesperson for the campaign. “We’ve said all along that Measure P will be good for Humboldt County – good for our local farmers, good for our environment, good for our economy. Clearly, the voters agreed!”
The ordinance takes effect immediately, although any farmer who has a GMO crop in the ground as of election night will be granted a grace period of about one year to harvest or remove it. Enforcement of the ordinance will be the job of Humboldt County Agricultural Commissioner Jeff Dolf.
During the campaign, proponents argued that Measure P is necessary to support local organic and non-GMO farmers. A large portion of the county’s agricultural sector specializes in those types of higher value products. But farmers can lose access to those markets if GMOs grown nearby contaminate their fields with stray pollen or seeds. Measure P will protect these farmers and has been supported by a large number of local farmers and farm groups. They see it as an opportunity to protect the high-value markets and support the growing economic success of small-scale, sustainable agriculture in the county. Measure P also gained support from groups concerned about the increased use of these agricultural chemicals associated with the cultivation of GMOs.
Schaser continued: “We have received an incredible level of support throughout the course of this all-volunteer, grassroots campaign. Nearly 600 farms, ranches, businesses, organizations and individuals publicly endorsed the campaign. Close to 100 volunteers collected more than 8,500 signatures to get Measure P on the ballot. Many of them continued to work tirelessly in the months leading up to the election to make sure it passed. Many others supported Measure P by making donations, by displaying yard signs and bumper stickers and t-shirts and buttons, and in a lot of other ways, too.”
For more information about Measure P, visit http://www.yesonp2014.org.