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Food, Agriculture, and Animals
Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Oregon Bill Would Increase Incentives To Mediate Farming Disputes

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USDA

Oregon farmers could soon be more likely to use a mediator to help settle their disputes with neighboring farmers.

Lawmakers could give final approval as soon as Thursday to a bill that's meant to head off lawsuits.

An example of a potential dispute would be if one farmer wants to grow organic crops, but a neighboring farmer is planting genetically engineered crops. The potential for cross-pollination could devalue the first farmer's harvest.

Democratic Representative Brian Clem said the bill would set up a mediation process to help keep such disputes out of court.

"So these are all farmers, both proceeding along lawfully, but the concern is that guy's crop may ruin my crop, so I would like some way to not have him do that,” Clem explained.

Clem said that could include staggering when certain crops are planted, or establishing a buffer between certain types of plants.

If one party refuses to go through mediation, the bill would allow courts to take that into account if a lawsuit is filed.