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Genetic Engineering on the Farm: Farmer Panel Discussions in California

(Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2004 -- CropChoice news) -- From a news release:
The farmer speaker tour through 5 counties in California (entitled "Genetic Engineering on the Farm") is a collaboration between several farmer advocacy organizations working to educate and organize farmers about the threats to their livelihood presented by genetic engineering. These threats include market impacts, liability issues, weed resistance, effects on inputs and other on-farm impacts, and seed contracts and life patents.

Genetic Engineering on the Farm: Farmer Panel Discussions in California

September 20-24, 2004

Genetically engineered (GE) crops have been grown commercially for almost ten years in the Midwestern states, but the benefits promised by biotech companies have not materialized. This panel presentation provides a rare opportunity to hear from farmers and farmer spokespeople who have been grappling with the impacts of GE.

The farmers are on a speaking tour through California, from San Luis Obispo to Sonoma County, where few GE crops are currently produced. The Farm Bureau and other voices of agribusiness have been big promoters of biotechnology, but many California farmers are ambivalent or opposed to it. Several GE crops are close to commercialization in this state, and Californian farmers and consumers need to make some informed choices about GE. We've heard from the Farm Bureau, "this is a chance to hear from farmers. "

This event is co-sponsored by the National Family Farm Coalition and Californians for GE-Free Agriculture.

For more information, please call (707) 874-0316 or email calgefree@calgefree.org .

Speaker Bios:

  • Dan McGuire is the Policy Chairman of the American Corn Growers Association and Director for the Farmer Choice - Customer First program concerning genetically engineered crops. Mr. McGuire's career has been devoted to improving the farm and trade policy of the United States in the economic interest of US farmers and the rural economies.
  • Bill Wenzel is the Director of Farmer to Farmer Campaign on Genetic Engineering, a project of the National Family Farm Coalition. He coordinates a nationwide campaign to educate and organize farmers on the issue of GMO crops, particularly in the wheat sector, and he has been involved with the GMO wheat campaign in Montana, North Dakota and Canada. He is also active on international agricultural trade policy issues.
  • Ron Lee has been a rice farmer for 20 years, practicing both conventional and organic farming. He has been actively involved in the rice industry in several capacities, including four years as a Board member of the California Rice Commission where he served on several committees. He is also Past President of the Rice Producers of California, and was recently appointed to the Farm Bill Task Force of the US Rice Producers Association.

Speaking Tour Itinerary:

  • Mon. Sept 20 - Chico
    7:00 - 9:00pm
    Chico City Council Chambers (412 Main St.)
  • Tues. Sept 21 - Marin County
    7:00 - 9:30pm
    Marin County Supervisors office ( 3501 Civic Center Drive, Room 330, San Rafael)
  • Tues. Sept 21 - Santa Cruz County
    Green Valley Grill (40 Penny Lane, Watsonville)
  • Wed. Sept 22 - San Luis Obispo County
    5:30 - 7:30pm
    American Legion Hall, Post 136 (417 Orchard Dr., Arroyo Grande)
  • Thurs. Sept 24 - Sonoma County
    2:00 - 3:30
    Farm Bureau office ( 970 Piner Road, Santa Rosa)