Thursday, May 18, 2017 by Tracey Watson
Azure Farm is a beautiful organic farm in Oregon which provides most of Azure Standard’s competitively priced organic beef, field peas, Einkorn and wheat to consumers around the country. Now, a change in Oregon’s laws has put the very existence of the farm and others like it at risk.
While Oregon state laws used to mandate that farmers control certain noxious weeds including Canadian Thistle, Morning Glory and Whitetop, newly introduced regulations call for the total eradication of these invasive plants. Though Azure’s owners have used organic farming methods to keep these weeds under control for close to two decades, it is virtually impossible to totally eradicate them without using toxic chemicals.
Sherman County has decided to take the matter into their own hands, and has warned that a court order may be issued on the 22nd of May, forcing the quarantine of Azure Farm and the spraying of toxic herbicides including Roundup (which contains cancer-causing glyphosate), Milestone and Escort on about 2,000 acres of the farm. [Related: Find out why glyphosate is so toxic to humans.]
This action by the county would destroy two decades of hard work in one fell swoop. It’s not as if Azure could just spray their fields and then carry on where they left off; the farm would immediately lose its USDA organic certification. Requalifying for that certification would be a costly, lengthy and complicated process.
The FAQ section of Azure’s website explains that the USDA requires three years of organic farming practices, including zero use of herbicides and chemical fertilizers, before applying for organic certification. This is done to ensure that there are absolutely no chemical residues in the soil.
The site goes on to explain: “As far as actually getting organic soil, it takes much longer in this dry county then it would in intensive agriculture where you have plenty of decent water. It’s a very different thing, and it takes many more years because you only have biological activity for a short period of the year. Either it’s too cold or you don’t have enough moisture; it’s a very short window. So it takes a lot longer to really get bio-active soil when you’re talking dry county vs. irrigated ground.”
Though it costs roughly twice as much to farm organically, during the USDA-mandated three-year period that would have to pass after the spraying of the fields, Azure would only be allowed to charge conventional prices for their produce. [Related: Are those “organic” apples really organic? Find out how contaminated food from China is entering the U.S. under the “organic” label.]
That’s not the only cost they will incur, either. To add insult to injury, the county will put a lien on the farm to cover the labor and chemical costs of this forced spraying; they will essentially bill Azure for the privilege of destroying them.
We are calling on all Natural News readers to get involved and try to prevent this forced spraying from taking place. We have to move quickly though, because the deadline for contacting Sherman County is the 22nd of May – just a few days away.
To do that, please contact:
Let’s all make our voices heard on this issue. Remember, the state’s laws have changed, meaning it is not only Azure that will be affected by this decision. If access to organic, non-GMO produce is important to you, you need to speak up and let the powers that be know.
Sources for this article include: