© 2021 Boise State Public Radio
NPR in Idaho
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Idaho dairy farmers produce more milk and cheese than almost any state in the nation. Idaho is ranked third behind California and Wisconsin.

Washington State Testing For GMO Alfalfa

Washington agriculture researchers are investigating whether genetically engineered alfalfa was growing where it wasn’t supposed to in the eastern part of the state.

The case has big implications for Northwest hay exporters and an upcoming ballot initiative.

GMO alfalfa is legal to grow in the United States. It’s even legal to ship to Japan. But Northwest hay growers and buyers say overseas customers don’t want to buy it.

So finding any GMO alfalfa where it’s not supposed to be is a major perception problem, exporters say. And keeping GMO and conventional seeds separate in a complex agricultural web is a major challenge.

The news about the possible GMO alfalfa discovery comes just as debate on Washington’s Initiative 522 is heating up. It would require genetically modified foods to be labeled. Supporters of the initiative say consumers deserve to know what’s in the region’s farm products. Those against, including the seed giant Monsanto, say the new requirement would be too costly for ag producers.

Copyright 2021 Northwest News Network. To see more, visit Northwest News Network.

Related Content