Farmers in the Willamette Valley of Oregon want to grow canola, but the Legislature is keeping a cap on acreage.

Specialty seed growers in the Willamette Valley are concerned their crops would be contaminated by spreading canola seeds.

Senator Jeff Golden says it would end the specialty crop seed industry:

The premium price depends on the complete confidence, to their customers, that the seed is guaranteed to be organic and free of other kinds of seeds mixed in.

Senator David Brock Smith says farmers like canola, because it's a cover crop they can also sell, "... and that's one of the frustrations with the farmers in the Willamette Valley that need these cover crops, that need and want to move forward." Smith would like to expand the cap to 2,500 acres and shift the sunset two years earlier, to 2026.

Inside the Willamette Valley Protected District, the Legislature has capped canola crops at 500 acres for more than a decade while they study the issue.

Negotiations on the future of the crop are close to a resolution.

This bill, now headed to the Governor, keeps the limit in place until 2028, or until the legislature approves new caps.

Senator Fred Girod says it’s not a concern and he wants the cap lifted.

I don't think anyone in this room knows squat about canola. And we're going to legislate about canola. It's just plain wrong. Leave it to the Department of Agriculture. Keep our damn nose out of it. Vote no.

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Gallery Credit: Jaime Skelton

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