London (12 September 2005) – Recent months have seen a number of votes in counties of California about whether or not GM crops should be “allowed”. Some have voted “yes”, others “no”, expressions of freedom of choice at the voting level though not actually in the field if the nay-sayers were to have their way.

Pro-biotech. groups won in San Luis Obispo, Butte and Humboldt counties, with the antis in the ascendant in Mendocino and Marin counties. In Trinity County, the Board of Supervisors voted to ban via a county ordinance, which can be rescinded. The ordinance was said to have been passed to avoid the costs of single-issue county ballot initiative.

Resolutions supporting biotechnology have been passed by 11 county boards of supervisors, including Fresno, Kings, Kern, San Diego, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Tulare, Solano, Sutter and Imperial. These resolutions are non-binding but they send a clear signal that the leadership in those counties do not support costly attempts to ban biotech crops.

A new bipartisan study has recently been conducted by Republican pollsters McLaughlin & Associates, and Democratic pollsters Hart Research Associates. The survey of 900 likely voters was conducted early in May with a margin of error of ± 3.3%.

Of the registered voters in the state as a whole, 54% said GM crops should be permitted; 31% disagreed. But in the Central Valley, California’s main farming area, 68% were in favour with only 24% opposed.


Harry Cline. Voter poll shows strong biotech crops support. Western Farm Press (3 September, 2005) (


  Californian feelings