UPDATE: A Win for Azure Farms and Organic Agriculture!
UPDATE: Success! Sherman County has agreed to work on a weed management plan with Azure Farms that does not include the spraying of toxic chemicals.
Watch this message from David Steltzer, CEO of Azure Standard.
Original Action Alert
County officials want to spray a 2,000-acre certified organic farm in Oregon with Monsanto’s cancer-causing Roundup and other pesticides—and force the farm to pay for it!
Officials in Central Oregon’s Sherman County say they need to spray Azure Farms in order to eradicate “noxious weeds.” Owners of the farm (which has been USDA certified organic for 18 years) say if the county follows through with its plans, it could put the farm out of business.
Azure Farms, located in Moro, Ore., is no small operation. Azure provides nearly all the organic wheat, field peas, barley, Einkorn and beef for Azure Standard, a major independent distributor of organic and non-GMO foods in the U.S.
The “noxious weeds” in question—Morning Glory, Canada Thistle and Whitetop—have co-existed with the farm’s organic crops for years, without causing problems for the farm or the lands around it, according to the farm’s owners. They say they have successfully managed the weeds using organic farming and weed-control practices.
But Sherman County could issue a court order as early as Monday, May 22, to force the entire farm under quarantine while county officials douse the property in Roundup and other toxic herbicides. The chemicals, which could be applied to an area one-and-a-half times the size of the city center of Philadelphia, may also affect the surrounding areas, causing unpredictable health and environmental effects.
To add insult to injury, the County has threatened to place a lien on the farm to guarantee payment to the County for the labor and chemicals.
The order follows a change in the interpretation of a county code, from “controlling” noxious weeds to “eradicating them.” Azure Farm’s owners say the County’s plan is flawed because it’s nearly impossible to completely eradicate the weeds—so all the County will succeed in doing is putting Azure Farm out of business.