Genetically speaking

Josh Jacquot

Photo By Tom Gascoyne

An effort is underway in Butte County to follow the lead of Mendocino County and ban the growing of genetically modified organisms on local farms. There is currently a signature-gathering campaign to qualify a initiative measure for the November election. Those behind the initiative say the development and introduction of GMOs has developed too fast for the long-term risks to be considered through scientific research. Last week, during Earth Day celebrations at Butte Community College, we asked ag-student Josh Jacquot of Gridley for his take on the issue.

Do you have a farming background?

My family are dairy farmers in Gridley.

This proposed ban on GMOs in Butte County—good thing, bad thing?

Right now, I don’t feel it’s a good thing because we don’t have the science all put together, but down the road it could turn into a good thing. We don’t have enough information that we could prove that it will be good for our economy or for our people. It all depends.

We’ve heard that Lundberg Farms, the rice farm in Richvale, has some concerns about that GMOs could wipe out the organic market. Is there the same concern about other field crops?

You know, I’m more into the rice. I’ve been looking more at that end of it. To say if I know about other crops, I really don’t have an opinion.

Have you heard about the company that wants to use rice to help make pharmaceutical drugs?

Yeah, I’ve heard of it; it starts with a “V” [Ventria Bioscience], and they are down in Sacramento. They are only actually doing about 120 acres that I know of.

Do you know where those acres are?

Not in Butte County. They actually want to do it down south, I’m not sure of exactly the counties, but it’s more down south.