Gov. John Kitzhaber signed HB 2427 into law last week banning the commercial production of canola in the Willamette Valley Protected District of Oregon until 2019. The move comes after the Center for Food Safety (CFS) filed a lawsuit against the Oregon Department of Agriculture, which wanted canola production to occur where it has been banned for many years.
Public opposition to growing canola in the Willamette Valley was strong after ODA proposed last August to introduce canola production into the valley. CFS challenged ODA when it proposed that canola planting start in the spring of 2013.
The Willamette Valley Protected District spans three million acres and is considered an important vegetable seed producing region. Local seed and organic vegetable farmers feared the canola would cross-pollinate with broccoli, kale, cabbage and other brassica specialty seed crops. The groups were also concerned that canola crops would bring diseases and pests into the area that would contaminate the vegetable and clover seed plots.