Jackson County Oregon’s Ban on Genetically Modified Seed: Competing Rights to Farm in Interstate Commerce

By Rita-Marie Cain Reid.

Published by Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: May 8, 2017 $US5.00

The purpose of this research is to determine if a US locality, like Jackson County Oregon, can protect organic producers’ right to farm against drifting genetically modified (GM) seeds by banning all cultivation of GM crops. The research analyzes original legal sources, including the US Constitution, federal and state statutes, regulations, and cases, to determine the legality of a local ban on a product otherwise widely distributed in US interstate commerce. The research is relevant to a variety of competing policies in US agriculture today, including emerging state constitutional rights protecting “modern” farming methods. At the same time, organic farmers have rights to protect their methods from GM seed blown onto their property by the wind, as the Oregon federal court upheld. Numerous international jurisdictions also ban cultivation of GM crops. The ability of US states and localities to do so, however, is determined by the constitutional protection on interstate commerce, which, ultimately, is controlled by the US Congress. The research addresses important policy questions about a locality’s right to protect its specialized organic farming market against industrialized agriculture, under a federal constitutional system that prohibits undue burdens on interstate commerce.

Keywords: Local Food Movement, Agribusiness, GMOs, Federal Preemption, Commerce Power

Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Volume 7, Issue 2, June 2017, pp.23-33. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: May 8, 2017 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 452.753KB)).

Rita-Marie Cain Reid

Professor of Business Law, Henry W. Bloch School of Management, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, Missouri, USA