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Protect Maine Farmers, a campaign of Food For Maine’s Future, has introduced legislation this session aimed at protecting all Maine farmers from negative effects of genetic trespass.

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Genetically engineered canola (or rape seed – used to make canola oil) has little or no economic benefit for Maine growers, and its genes have already contaminated canola seed. So say preliminary data from studies on two sites in one year (2005), according to Dr. John Jemison of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

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Sharon Tisher of MOFGA’s public policy committee outlined the work that MOFGA and others have done in Maine over the last decade to try to get GMOs regulated, including four attempts at labeling, and convening of a biotech commission. While labeling bills did not pass, the commission, composed of representatives from MOFGA, industry, environmental groups and the legislature, decried the inadequacy of federal regulations.

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Commissioner Robert Spear believes that Best Management Practices (BMPs) for GMO and non-GMO crops will enable Maine growers who do and do not use GE crops to coexist.

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“Biotechnology: Bane or Boon?” was the topic of the day-long forum hosted by the Maine Department of Agriculture and its Board of Pesticides Control (BPC) in Bangor on November 14, 2002, and attended by over 150 people. As promised, Maine’s Agriculture Commissioner Bob Spear served up a menu of federal regulators, a scientist, and a couple of economists, with a dash of lively debate and a hot buffet lunch guaranteed to include genetically engineered ingredients.

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