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DAVID KRUSE

By Staff | Nov 14, 2014

GMO labeling ballot measures were solidly defeated in both Colorado and, more narrowly, in Oregon.

That meant that good, common sense prevailed. It has been ironic to me that some of the folks that demand GMO food labeling show up at climate change rallies protesting that climate change skeptics don’t accept science and they switch horses, ignoring science safety opposing GMOs.

Something like 97 percent of scientists do believe climate change is a threat to which man is contributing. Meanwhile 99.99 percent of scientists don’t believe that GMOs pose any risk whatsoever, yet those same folks that cite science for climate change ignore it entirely over GMOs.

Science doesn’t work like that.

It has surprised me how people who typically embrace technology in every other aspect of their lives make an exception for GMOs. Somehow they see GMO technology as different and can’t get their minds around it.

People who use smart phones and drive Teslas somehow think that agriculture made a wrong turn during the 1930s-1940s adopting technology for agriculture when we started using weed killers, fertilizer and four-row cultivators.

There is a holistic mindset that somehow weeds are part of the natural landscape and bugs are good that a social movement finds attractive.

I am confident those opinions were not shared by farmers in the 1930s and ’40s who would embrace today’s agricultural technological advancements in a heartbeat.

They would be confused at the resistance to the technological progress that is confronting the ag sector.

The genome is being mapped and utilized for every aspect of health care including cancer treatments, but somehow it is supposed to be off limits to agriculture. We have been cross-breeding plants since the beginning of human development yet somehow GMO plant breeding technology is scary.

The method maybe different, but the result is not.

Scientist and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Norman Borlaug was praised for his work advancing ag technology that saved countless lives and advanced human development until GMO opposition turned those accomplishments into negatives.

What I find alarming is that USDA programs appear to support the ag technology opponents. GMO technology advances sustainability by improving plants so to more efficiently utilize resources, reducing the environmental impact that accompanied the green revolution.

GMOs lead the green revolution. The opposition to GMOs is misguided, uneducated and manipulated. There is a commercial interest in opposition to GMOs. Retailers can justify charging consumers twice as much for organic food without them. GMO food labeling has a cost, but no value.

It is supported by Whole Foods and Natural Grocers who wish to advance their brands. The Obama administration doesn’t get a lot of things about rural America and agriculture and one of those things is the costs and benefit of organic foods.

USDA promotes organic food production through programs that are absolutely pointless and worthless. They are a waste of taxpayer money that, in fact, are a cost to the public as they are duped into believing that there is some benefit derived from paying twice as much for organic food.

Organic agriculture as a food-producing system is a fraud. I hope the GOP Congress wipes every piece of budget spending authorization of USDA organic agriculture programs from the farm bill. It can do that.

People voted for the GOP this election because they lost faith in the government. I got that, sharing some of the frustration. However I don’t trust the GOP either to sort out the good from the bad.

Congressman Charlie Stenholm, D-Texas, a former ag committee member who championed many farm bills explained, “The 2014 farm bill is not sacrosanct. If you get a budget which I think we will, it will probably be a budget reconciliation bill.

“That means anything that gets into that budget, including parts of the farm bill, will be voted on with a simple majority, up or down. That’s why the leadership of agriculture needs to start soon to see what kind of budget priorities are going to be on the table and how they will affect agriculture.”

U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack is as close of a connection as we have within this administration, but he is not getting the message passed along if there is anyone else there in the administration who grasps the language well enough to process it.

There is no rural diversity within the Obama administration. In Oregon, voters who support GMO food labeling live in urban Portland, while opposition was rural. There is a huge void here between real and virtual perspectives on rural issues.

I have no confidence the Obama administration has the capacity to close it.

They were sent a message in defeated state GMO labeling propositions and the fact that Harry Reid is not going to be the fix for Democrats in the Senate.

The GOP benefited by default from the protest vote, but it is yet to be seen whether it can control their crazies either. By the way, if Democrats run a trial lawyer for U.S. Senate who denigrates Sen. Grassley and farmers in Iowa, they should expect to lose.

David Kruse is president of CommStock Investments Inc., author and producer of The CommStock Report, an ag commentary and market analysis available daily by radio and by subscription on DTN/FarmDayta and the Internet.

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