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PORTLAND — Residents of Southern Oregon’s agriculture-heavy Rogue Valley have voted to ban genetically modified crops.

Companies that genetically engineer seeds, including biotech giants Sygenta, Monsanto and DuPont Pioneer, spent about $900,000 on their failed campaign.

Those who wanted to do away with so-called GMOs spent about $400,000.

Genetically modified foods are plants or animals that have had genes copied from other plants or animals inserted into their DNA, frequently to make them resistant to pests and herbicides. No mainstream science has shown GMOs to be unsafe. But opponents say there’s been insufficient testing.

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Organic farmers in Southern Oregon have tapped a demand for local produce free of pesticides and wanted to protect their crops from cross-pollination from nearby GMO crops. Bans in Josephine and Jackson counties passed Tuesday. Based on recent Oregon legislation, Jackson County’s ban will have the force of law, but Josephine County’s appears headed for a court battle.

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