Governor Kitzhaber today announced the kick-off of his Task Force on Genetically Engineered Agriculture. Task Force members will begin meeting on Thursday, April 10, to discuss organizational matters and the Governor's charge for the group.
"Oregon farmers and consumers are grappling with major issues associated with genetically modified crops and food," said Governor Kitzhaber. "This Task Force will bring people with diverse perspectives together to help improve understanding of the range of issues and move forward on solutions that fit Oregonians' values and needs."
The Task Force will identify and frame the major issues between growers of genetically-engineered (GE) agricultural products and other producers, including organic growers. The Governor also asked members to identify and describe areas of agreement and disagreement related to GE and non-GE food products, including information for consumers, and strategies other states and regions have used to address these areas of concern.
The Task Force is expected to meet through the fall of this year. The first meeting will focus on organizational matters rather than substantive topics. Co-convenors Dan Arp, Dean of the School of Agriculture at Oregon State University, and Jennifer Allen, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Solutions at Portland State University, will set the stage for future discussions, reminding members that they do not need to reach consensus on issues to prepare a report for the Governor.
"Our efforts will be focused on laying out broad and diverse perspectives on GE agriculture issues in Oregon," said Dr. Allen. "Because we will be discussing a range of strategies and approaches to develop a comprehensive understanding of the issues, we can really benefit from the specific skills and experience each member brings to the table. This will be a good conversation for Oregon."