GMO-related bills in the VT Statehouse, 2011-2012 session:

  • H. 367: An act relating to labeling genetically engineered food, would require all foods with one or more GE ingredient to be labeled as such.
  • H.421: An Act Relating to the Use and Registration of Genetically Engineered Alfalfa seeds in Vermont, would require seed distributors to register purchasers and notify all residents within 3 miles of where the seeds will be planted.

In the face of recent approvals at the federal level for the cultivation of genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa, sugar beets, and salmon, there has been a resurgence of opposition for all of the same reasons that farmers and consumers initially opposed GE corn, soybeans, cotton, and canola. These objections include fears of ecological side-effects, concerns about corporate monopolization of seed, and discomfort with the liability of farmers using or even neighboring those who grow GE crops.

  • Read a current factsheet about GE alfalfa here

GMO Campaign

Genetic Engineering and Genetically Modified Organisms represent a number of threats to the well-being of small farms everywhere. Please visit the websites linked below for more details about the history and perils associated with this issue. Groups all over the world have resisted the implementation of this technology to varying degrees of success.

Since the late 80’s Rural Vermont has taken on issues to address the impact of genetic engineering on farming, the food supply and public safety.

In 2004 we successfully worked to enact the Farmers’ Right to Know GMO Seed Labeling Act. This law puts the USDA organic standards’ definition of “genetically modified” into Vermont statute, and requires that GE seeds be clearly labeled as such.

In 2005 we shifted our focus to the Farmer Protection Act. The intent of this bill was to hold manufacturers who own the patents on genetically engineered (GE) seeds
liable for any economic damages that occur in Vermont as a result of the use of the seeds, and to state that seed contracts in Vermont are subject only to Vermont law and that disputes over seed contracts will be settled in Vermont. Without this protection, farmers in Vermont have no recourse to recoup on losses they may incur due to GE contamination other than to sue a fellow farmer. This bill made it through the Statehouse, but was vetoed by Gov. Jim Douglas in May 2006.

Rural Vermont is currently following the rash of approvals by the US government for GE plants (alfalfa, sugar beets, salmon) and considering what may be done on a statewide level to protect the interests of farmers over those of giant corporations.


Hearings on S18 (all files mp3 format):
Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, 3/23/05

House Agriculture Committee hearing, 4/22/05

This guide will help you determine which products are made from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) so you can make healthier non-GMO brand buying choices. (.pdf, 2008)