Senator Jeff Kruse - May 3rd 2013


Senator Jeff Kruse
R-Roseburg, District 1

Phone: 503-986-1701    900 Court St. NE, S-211 Salem Oregon 97301
Email:     Website:

 Working Hard For You



MAY 3, 2013

As there still is no word as to when the gun bills will be coming to the floor for a vote, I won’t spend any time on that subject in this newsletter. Instead I want to spend this time on a single bill, Senate Bill 633, and the issues around it. SB 633 has been called everything from the GMO bill to the Monsanto bill and everything in between. The main objections to the bill have come from the organic agriculture community and I really believe there is a lot of misinformation out there.

First I want to say a couple of things about organic farming. What a lot of people don’t know is products labeled as organic may not be. The reality is that if there is a plant disease or a pest for which there is no “organic” remedy chemicals can be used and the product can still be labeled organic. I introduced a bill this session that would have simply required people to list the non-organic chemicals they were using. It was basically a truth in advertising law. They opposed it and it went nowhere. I am not saying the use of chemicals is bad, as most all farmers use them and they never actually are detectable in the product, even with sophisticated tissue sampling. But the debate continues.

Now we get to SB 633 and who should have jurisdiction over the regulations relative to GMO (genetically modified organisms). First, to a large degree, this is a misunderstood term as virtually every crop on the planet has been genetically modified. For example the new varieties of apples have been created by cross pollinating different strains to create a new one, which is a genetic modification. How do you think they came up with something like a seedless watermelon without this type of technology? So it is important to separate the issues.

SB 633 deals with another level of modification and actually the jurisdiction for the regulations for this level of modification is at the federal level with the USDA. The issue arose here in Oregon when some groups decided they wanted to make the decisions as to what crops could be planted at the county level. Here is where the problem begins. First, it will take a high level of expertise to be able to comply with the federal regulations and the counties just don’t have those personnel. Secondly, the prospect of have 36 different standards would probably make it virtually impossible for main stream agriculture to know if they were in compliance and would probably generate a multitude of law suits. Our solution was to establish one standard for the state and to task the Oregon Department of Agriculture with that job, keeping in mind the federal regulations will change over time and compliance will be an ongoing effort.

This bill was supported by all of the major agriculture groups in the state as well as by the Association of Oregon Counties who fully understood the liability they would be taking on by having county standards. I have always been a local control guy, but there are those occasions where setting up a program at the state level makes more sense and this is one of those occasions.

I know my decision on this bill (I was actually one of the sponsors) will not sit well with those in the organic community. I will say a lot of their emails talked about the disastrous consequences of the passage of this bill that I truly believe will never happen. For example the continued use of Roundup will eventually serialize the soil which is absolutely wrong. I have been a farmer for 50 years and I know what works and what doesn’t. At the end of the day I chose to support the 95% of the agriculture industry who supported the bill.


Senator Jeff Kruse







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