Coexistence: Azure Standard, Oregon Farmers, Weeds, and Herbicides
Sherman County may order owners of a 2,000-acre organic farm to spray noxious weeds or face a possible quarantine.
Local wheat farmers say weeds spreading from Azure Farms, on the outskirts of Moro in north central Oregon, cost them money in the form of additional herbicide control. Most critically, growers of certified wheat seed say their crops will be worthless if contaminated by Rush Skeleton Weed, Canada Thistle, Morning Glory and White Top spreading from the farm.
Spraying the weeds with Milestone or other herbicides, however, would cause the farm to lose organic certification for three years. Azure Standard, which operates Azure Farms, is a major distributor of organic products.
Sherman County gave the farm until May 22 to respond with a weed management plan. If not, the county will ask the Oregon Department of Agriculture to quarantine the farm.
The issue has blown up on social media.
The manager of Azure Farms, Nathan Stelzer, urged supporters to “Overwhelm the Sherman County representatives with your voice.” A video posted on the farm website called for people to express their outrage reportedly has resulted in hundreds of phone calls and thousands of emails to county officials.
The issue may come to a head Wednesday when the county’s Board of Commissioners takes up the issue. The county is expecting such a crowd that it moved the session from the courthouse to the Sherman County School gym, 65912 High School Loop, Moro, at 4 p.m.
Photo from Wikimedia Commons.