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USDA Has Little Idea How GMO Wheat Came To Sprout In Oregon

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Anna King
/
Northwest News Network

Genetically modified wheat has been found at a university research center in Montana. That news Friday came as a federal investigation into a similar case in Oregon concludes with few answers.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture took nearly a year and did almost 300 interviews on the Oregon case. But in the end, could never pinpoint where the errant strain came from.

Genetically modified wheat did grow legally at Montana State University’s agricultural research center about 10 years ago. But could the seeds have survived all this time?

Chris Herron, a fourth-generation wheat grower from Connell, Washington, is skeptical.

“I produce wheat for a living. And two years out of 10, that’s a hard thing to get done,” Herron said.

The Oregon GMO case did disrupt markets. But Herron said he isn’t too concerned.

More troubling for him is the weather. He needs rain to plant his wheat.

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.