Monday, March 25, 2013

Why Food Democracy isn’t really about Democracy.

Right now, a group called Food Democracy is urging folks all over the country to try and stop the continuing resolution passed by congress last week from being signed. They claim there is a piece in the CR called the “Monsanto Protecting Act” (which, I might add, is a made-up BS term). What they are really pissed about is the fact that this small piece of the CR protects farmers from activists and activist judges. Let me explain...

This small piece allows the USDA to allow for the cultivation and harvest of a crop, even if a judge or court has ordered it to undergo further review, and be removed from the market place. And we aren’t talking about some wild ideas here-we are talking about a group who wants to remove all traces of GMO crops from the planet, by any means necessary (kiss your seedless watermelons goodbye). 

For me as a farmer, this small piece provides me with much needed security. Without the USDA stopgap, a judge somewhere could rule that my corn crop growing in the field would have to be destroyed, with no recourse or remuneration for me as a farmer. A single judge in California could rule that my Roundup Ready corn, which has nearly 25 years of testing, regulatory approval, and real world experience could be banned, and I would be forced to destroy my entire crop, costing me millions of dollars. It would bankrupt my family overnight.

But here’s a real world example for everyone:

Let’s say you buy a lot and build a new house. 2 months after moving in, a neighbor says that your house is too close to his, and he doesn’t like it. There’s no scientific or logical basis for his gripe, but he takes you to court anyways. In court, the judge rules that he’s not sure about the neighbors complaint, but just to be safe, you need to move out of your new house and bulldoze it. If he decides the neighbor is wacky, you can rebuild your house, but in the meantime, you must tear it down and find somewhere else to go.

This is the world of uncertainty we live in. I would LOVE to have the time to talk to everyone in America about technology, Monsanto, GMO crops, and why I farm the way I  do, but I can’t. So please, try to trust us, just a little, and try to trust the USDA. Anyone who thinks the USDA is in bed with bio tech companies, well, I’ve got some ocean front property in Indiana for you.