Locals Plan to Protest Monsanto - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Locals Plan to Protest Monsanto

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GREAT FALLS -

You may have heard of Monsanto. They specialize in bio-chemical products, like pesticides.

They are also on the front lines of genetically modified organisms, also known as GMO's. These are products which allow farmers to more efficiently grow crops, but not everyone is convinced they're safe.

To learn more, we extended this controversy beyond the lab and moved it into our own backyard.

As of January 30th, the public had 30 days to comment on the county's decision to change the zoning in our community from commercial, to light industrial. If passed, it would permit indoor chemical storing, which is perfect for Monsanto, who's plan is to set up regional sites used for wheat breeding tests.

But this has people and local businesses worried. Michael Vetere, the owner of 2J's and a representative of the Montana Organic Association, says, "There's always the issue of cross contamination. And even if there's a 10 foot concrete wall around it, there's still going to be some cross contamination in my opinion."

While a controversial issue, Monsanto has assured the public that the center will not involved GMO's and that their site will be primarily used for research. They claim this center will provide Great Falls with better variety and products by testing cross breed ed seeds. The results from which will determine if they will be available commercially.

But what about those who are a victim of location? Surrounding farms and residents could be affected whether they like it or not. Vetere explains, "You can't take it back. You can't block it. You can't stop it from expanding. Bugs run through. Animals run through crops. They run through areas. They can transport some of the pesticides or whatever is being tested."

So the real question is what does the public want? A protest is being held tonight at First Congregational Church to discuss the issues at hand.

The lease will be made official if the county commission decides to approve light industrial zoning. The decision is expected to be made on the 11th, but if they want to make the right decision they need your help.

Michael, his employee's at 2J's, and the representatives of Montana's Organic Association would love for you to join them. The protest starts tonight, February 25th, at 7 o'clock.

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