Agricultural biotechnology companies lost a huge battle on Tuesday in Mendocino County, Calif. Voters passed a measure by 56% to 44% that bans genetically engineered crops and animals.
Measure H, an initiative led by local organic farmers, will have ripple effects through the nation if other states or counties begin to take similar stances. Biotechnology restricting legislation has been passed in other areas, but nothing as broad as Measure H. California newspaper The Press Democrat reports that groups in Sonoma and Humboldt counties are preparing similar campaigns to qualify comparable initiatives on the November election ballot.
Agricultural companies spent nearly five times as much as supporters of the measure. CropLife America waged a two-month campaign to defeat the measure. Local and state Farm Bureau leaders and members of the county's agricultural establishment joined CropLife to fight Measure H.
In the 1970s Mendocino County passed a ban on aerial spraying of pesticides that was overturned two weeks later in the state legislature. At this time, it is unknown whether opponents will challenge the biotech ban.