Gov. John Kitzhaber’s new task force on genetically modified organisms held its first meeting in Portland on Thursday. It will give 2015 lawmakers advice on the issues surrounding GMO agriculture and potential conflicts with conventional and organic agriculture, among other things.
The group appears to be broadly inclusive, with scientists from Oregon State University, organic farmers and proponents and opponents of GMO agriculture among its members. Given that diversity, the meetings may be heated.
Heat may well be one way to judge if the group is truly balanced. We hope so. Its findings are unlikely to persuade anybody to consider softening a position if the task force is seen as unduly influenced by one side or another.
Given agriculture’s place in Oregon’s economy — it was valued at more than $5 billion in 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture — finding answers that all can live with is critical.