Sherman County may order the owners of Azure Farms, near Moro, to spray to control the weeds if the farm doesn’t come up with a weed management plan by next week.
The county said in a letter it also might do the spraying itself then bill the farm owned by Ecclesia of Sinai.
The farm, which is operated by a major supplier of organic products called Azure Standard, would lose its organic certification if herbicides are applied, the Capital Press reported Tuesday.
The company has also cited religious beliefs for refusing to spray, including a biblical passage stating that the land should not be defiled.
Alfred Stelzer, of Ecclesia of Sinai, says the farm “made a covenant” to follow the Bible and cited a passage from the Book of Numbers 35:34 that says the land must not be polluted.
Neighboring farmers who don’t use organic methods have complained that the weeds pose a risk to their crops if they aren’t contained.
Growers of certified wheat seed, for example, say their crop could be contaminated by rush skeleton weed, Canada thistle, morning glory and white top, the newspaper reported.
http://www.capitalpress.com/Oregon/2017 ... ganic-farm
Wheat farmer Bryan Cranston, who grows certified seed next to Azure Farms, said its weed problems have gotten progressively worse over the years. Cranston said he spoke to Selzer and told him, “I don’t drift chemicals on you, I’d appreciate it if weeds don’t drift on me.”
Cranston said he told Selzer, “I grow seed wheat to garner more out of the market, you grow organic to garner more out of the market — we have a lot in common here.”
But he added, “You’re messing me up.”
Cranston estimated weed control in his wheat is costing him $12 per acre more than in the past. He said some weeds, especially skeleton weed, produce airborne seeds and can rapidly infect fields.
Another area farmer, Ryan Thompson, said the county needs to stand its ground on the weed issue.
“These guys are operating by their own set of rules,” he said. “They are not good stewards of the land. They are pretty much using religion and the fact that they’re organic to say our county laws and statutes don’t apply to them.”