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Sometimes, Organic Producers Don’t Wear the White Hats

Lynn Betts
Strawberries are a popular organic crop

We usually associate organic production with environmental stewardship and sustainability, but good farming practices trump organic certification when it comes to controlling weeds.  Whether farming conventionally or organically, the time to put the whoa on weeds is when you first see them.  Azure Farms, Moro, Oregon, must have missed this concept in their farm plan.

Last week, during a Sherman County hearing, adjoining farmers, some of whom raise certified seed, testified that weed seed from Azure farms was contaminating their fields, and required them to used herbicides to control nasty plants like Rush Skeleton weed, Canada Thistle, Bindweed, White Top and wild Morning Glory.  These weeds are extremely tough to control with herbicides, let alone organic methods once they become established in a field. 

A social media campaign waged by an Azure Farms manager didn't cover up the fact that they had an out of control problem that they needed to deal with or be held accountable.  Probably most of the 57,000 emails sent to County officials were written by people who didn't have all of the facts.

The lesson with this story is that every landowner needs to control weeds on their property.  It's the responsible and neighborly thing to do.