Somebody (or bodies) destroyed Roundup Ready sugar beets in southern Oregon. No communiqué yet that EW knows of has claimed responsibility.
The news came out when the FBI put out a press release (and on a side note, since when is pro-pesticide group Oregonians for Food and Shelter a “community group”? Check out its board of directors). From worries about the health effects of genetical modification (GM) and pesticide use, to fears over superweeds, famers, foodies and other folks have a host of concerns over GM crops like wheat, alfalfa and sugar beets.
FBI Asks for Help in Identifying Suspects in Genetically Engineered Crop Destruction
Community Group Offers up to $10,000
Reward FBI Portland
June 20, 2013 Beth Anne Steele
Over the course of two nights in early June, an unknown person or group of people did significant damage to two plots of land used to grow genetically engineered sugar beets in Jackson County, Oregon. The plots are on private farmland leased and managed by Syngenta.
Sometime during the night of June 8, 2013, the person/people destroyed about 1,000 sugar beet plants on one property. During the night of June 11, 2013, the person/people destroyed about 5,500 plants on another property. The financial losses are significant, but the actual estimates will not be released at this time due to the needs of the investigation. The FBI considers this crime to be economic sabotage and a violation of federal law involving damage to commercial agricultural enterprises.
The group Oregonians for Food and Shelter (http://ofsonline.org) is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest, and conviction of the person and people involved. OFS will evaluate any reward claims and will make the final decision on dispersal of funds.
Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI at (541) 773-2942 during normal business hours or the FBI in Portland at (503) 224-4181 24 hours a day. Tips may also be e-mailed into Portland@ic.fbi.gov.
The statement from Oregon Department of Agriculture Director Katy Coba was interestingly put, in that she acknowledges that biotech such as GMO seeds (in the wake of the recent GMO wheat issue) is problematic for many: “To my knowledge, this is the first time someone has deliberately taken the cowardly step of uprooting high value plants growing in our state. Regardless of how one feels about biotechnology, there is no justification for committing these crimes and it is not the kind of behavior we expect to see in Oregon agriculture.”