Dr. Lanita Witt for Jackson County Commissioner Position 3 (Lost)

“We need to be creative in our plan to combat climate change and incentivizing farmers to use sustainable carbon-sequestering farming practices would be a great step in the right direction.”

That’s just one of the thoughtful answers Dr. Witt gave in response to Our Family Farms’ candidate survey. Here are her complete answers:

1. Oregon is renowned for its world-class seed producing climate. How much do you value GE-free agricultural zones in Oregon?

Very much. Farmers should have the ability to grow organic crops without fear of contamination from GMOs.

2. Do you believe that the companies behind genetically engineered seeds, not the farmers who plant them, should be held accountable for GE contamination events that adversely affect non-GE crops grown nearby?

Yes, companies that make GE seeds should be held liable for contamination events that adversely affect non-GE crops nearby, particularly if the companies maintain such stringent property rights ownership of their GE products.
3. Oregon produces a relatively low number of GE crops per area of any state in the U.S., what would you do to ensure that those growing non-GE/GMO will not be impacted by the contamination that thousands of farmers across the U.S. have dealt with in recent years?
We will need to work collaboratively with the state legislature to ensure that non-GMO farmers do not have to worry about contamination. One solution might be to create mandated buffer zones between GE and non-GE farms, but we would first need a study to determine how large of a buffer is adequate.

4. Do you think that local communities should have the right to choose if GE crops are grown in their region?

I absolutely believe that this decision is up to the community if the state refuses to take a stand. Local farmers understand their needs best and should be able to take action.
5. Oregon is 4th in the nation with regard to income from organic agricultural products. Do you support the concept of rewarding farmers who practice methods to sequester atmospheric carbon into the soil to help mitigate climate change?

I do. We need to be creative in our plan to combat climate change and incentivizing farmers to using sustainable carbon-sequestering farming practices would be a great step in the right direction.

About Dr. Lanita Witt

Dr. Witt practiced medicine from 1976 until she retired in 2016. Thirty-three years ago, she started a side-career when she and her family bought 445 acres of forested land in Jackson County that became Willow-Witt Ranch. Goats are the basis of the dairy operation; they also produce eggs, meats, and vegetables that they market locally. The small farm is part of the Southern Oregon tourism industry with overnight farm stay accommodations. They are proud of the forest management practices and wetland restoration projects that have enhanced the health of the soil, water and wildlife. In 2007, Willow-Witt Ranch earned Jackson County’s Tree Farmers of the Year award for long-term stewardship and education.

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