An enormous, established natural farm in Oregon is scheduled for invasion by trespassing authorities workers who will spray the land with Roundup, poisoning the soil with the carcinogenic herbicide.
Azure Farms, a 2000-acre farm in Oregon that has been licensed natural for 18 years, is below risk from the native Sherman County authorities.
Why? Because Sherman County officers are re-interpreting a regulation regarding the “control of noxious weeds,” claiming that if the natural farm doesn’t “completely eradicate” sure weeds, they are going to invade and forcefully spray Monsanto’s infamous weedkiller themselves.
Capital Press studies: Local wheat farmers say weeds spreading from Azure Farms, on the outskirts of Moro in north central Oregon, value them cash within the type of extra herbicide management. Most critically, growers of licensed wheat seed say their crops can be nugatory if contaminated by Rush Skeleton Weed, Canada Thistle, Morning Glory and White Top spreading from the farm.
Spraying the weeds with Milestone or different herbicides, nevertheless, would trigger the farm to lose natural certification for 3 years. Azure Standard, which operates Azure Farms, is a serious distributor of natural merchandise.
Sherman County gave the farm till May 22 to reply with a weed administration plan. If not, the county will ask the Oregon Department of Agriculture to quarantine the farm.
The subject has blown up on social media.
The supervisor of Azure Farms, Nathan Stelzer, urged supporters to “Overwhelm the Sherman County representatives with your voice.” A video posted on the farm web site known as for folks to specific their outrage reportedly has resulted in a whole lot of cellphone calls and hundreds of emails to county officers.
The subject might come to a head Wednesday when the county’s Board of Commissioners takes up the problem. The county is anticipating such a crowd that it moved the session from the courthouse to the Sherman County School fitness center, 65912 High School Loop, Moro, at four p.m.
“The school gym is the only site in Sherman County big enough to hold the expected crowd and we received permission to use the gym only if we delayed our meeting until after the students are dismissed,” Commissioner Tom McCoy stated in an e mail.
Meanwhile, the Oregon Wheat Commission and several other growers are assembly with the state agriculture Director Alexis Taylor, hoping to enlist the division’s assist.
Oregon Tilth, which certifies natural operations, is asking for calm and urging the county to pause its enforcement timeline. Executive Director Chris Schreiner stated Oregon Tilth hopes mediation may end up in a weed administration plan that enables Azure Farms to retain its certification whereas addressing issues of neighboring farmers.
Wheat farmer Bryan Cranston, who grows licensed seed subsequent to Azure Farms, stated its weed issues have gotten progressively worse through the years. Cranston stated he spoke to Selzer and informed him, “I don’t drift chemicals on you, I’d appreciate it if weeds don’t drift on me.”
Cranston stated he informed Selzer, “I grow seed wheat to garner more out of the market, you grow organic to garner more out of the market — we have a lot in common here.”
But he added, “You’re messing me up.”
Cranston estimated weed management in his wheat is costing him $12 per acre greater than prior to now. He stated some weeds, particularly skeleton weed, produce airborne seeds and may quickly infect fields.
Another space farmer, Ryan Thompson, stated the county wants to face its floor on the weed subject.
“These guys are operating by their own set of rules,” he stated. “They are not good stewards of the land. They are pretty much using religion and the fact that they’re organic to say our county laws and statutes don’t apply to them.”
The county warned that it will spray if the farm didn’t, and the associated fee for a number of surveys all through the rising season could be billed to the farm as a lien on its property taxes.
Asher stated the county might assist establish weed, suggest management strategies and herbicide merchandise, and had a twig crew for rent if vital.
In the enterprise’s first response, a letter signed by Alfred Stelzer stated Ecclesia of Sinai “is not subject to your direction.” In a three-page letter dated March 27, Stelzer stated the farm is not going to enable any federal, state or county workers to trespass and “spray any toxic or poisonous substances at any time.”
Stelzer stated the farm “made a covenant” to maintain the “Common Law” of the bible. He cited Numbers 35:34, “which states that the land must not be defiled or polluted.” Stelzer, then launched the video and social media plea to supporters, saying the county’s plan was “possibly to spray the whole farm with poisonous herbicides.”
Blake Rowe, CEO of the Oregon Wheat Commission, known as the social media marketing campaign “pretty inflammatory.”
The farm has since adopted a extra conciliatory place. In a video posted May 12, Azure Standard CEO David Stelzer, the brother of Nathan, acknowledged the farm has “room for improvement.” He stated one of many issues is that for the previous 5 years, the household has been farming the Moro property “long distance” from Dufur, which is 48 miles away by car.
David Stelzer stated Azure is trying to enhance its floor by means of crop rotation and “companion planting” of varied crops.
“Bio-diversity, a few weeds in the field, does not make a bad farmer,” he stated.