Ag At Large: GMO ballot issue energizes farmers

2012-09-27T11:30:00Z 2012-12-06T16:29:43Z Ag At Large: GMO ballot issue energizes farmersBy Don Curlee Hanford Sentinel
September 27, 2012 11:30 am  • 

Farmers in California and elsewhere generally feel they are appreciated and supported by the rest of us. The November ballot measure on genetically modified organisms (GMO) may prove them right — or wrong.

The measure is undeniably anti-farmer, requiring that food products that incorporate or rely on GMOs must be labeled to indicate that. Sounds innocent enough, but the labeling is an enormous and costly undertaking that probably turns people away from the labeled products. The issue’s backers claim that labeling merely provides information consumers want.

Identifying the backers as vegans and panic-stricken food fadists, the farm community points out that a vast majority of the food products on grocery shelves already include some ingredients or products that incorporate GMOs.

Farmers resent and scientifically refute the vegan position that something about GMOs is inherently unhealthy, detrimental or evil. By contrast, they are proud of the research that has brought GMOs into the plant-breeding and production process, enabling enormous increases in the production of healthy food products.

So the farm community is gearing up to defeat the initiative and in the process convince consumers the food they’ve been eating for decades is truly wholesome, nutritious and satisfying. It promises to be a challenging project.

The editor of one of the state’s leading agricultural publications says it will require the attitude and tenacity of a junkyard dog to make agriculture’s case. That translates to “mean,” a character trait not usually ascribed to farmers, but they can be tenacious and focused once they are riled.

Accompanying the editor’s comments in the July 21 issue of Western Farm Press is a column by Richard Cornett, communications director of the Western Plant Health Association. He wonders what the public has against the scientific progress represented by GMOs, “especially when it comes to feeding a burgeoning world at affordable prices.”

He said: “Just as you think you’ve lived long enough to have heard it all, along comes another silly campaign endorsed and supported by environmental coalitions, organic-only consumers and at least one questionable donor who want to add yet more words to already long and cluttered ingredient labels now on store shelves that the majority of us don’t read anyway.”

Cornett stresses the extreme nature of the initiative by pointing out it prevents foods from being labeled “natural” if they have been processed in any way, even though they contain no biotech ingredients. “That includes foods that have been dried, roasted, smoked, pressed, cooked, fermented, milled, frozen or canned,” he wrote.

He concludes that passage of the initiative might cost an average family hundreds of dollars per year in higher food prices. He identifies the promoters of the proposition as “a group of uninformed fellow citizens and self-interest groups who are against modern-day farming technology for apparently no good reason.”

If that doesn’t set the stage for you, expect to hear a great deal more from other agricultural spokesmen, farmers, responsible scientists and researchers in the months ahead. And the anti-GMO promoters of the proposition probably will be noisy as well.

You can bet California farmers — and this is an initiative restricted to California products — prefer to express an attitude more typical of a golden retriever, labradoodle or an affectionate lap dog. But when their basic products are being maliciously attacked, they can bare their teeth, ready to take a bite out of whoever threatens them.

Can’t you see it now, all over the state, signs along farmhouse driveways warning in big, bold letters, “Beware of farmer?” G-r-r-r!

Don Curlee operates his own public relations firm specializing in agriculture issues. His column appears in The Sentinel every Thursday. Email Don at agwriter1@aol.com.

Copyright 2015 Hanford Sentinel. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(15) Comments

  1. Alihandero
    Report Abuse
    Alihandero - October 08, 2012 3:27 pm
    Observation:

    If this issue - made out to be a CA. state voting issue - is so important in protecting the food-consuming people of the United States like many write in here to say - why isn't there a Federal law from the OBAMA Administration declaring this a national food supply health issue?

    This current federal government has it's priorities to help ALL PEOPLE right?

    RIGHT?

    Nah - As CA. votes, so goes the rest of America, yes?

    Seems hardly fair to the other states' citizens now, does it?
  2. rewiltshire
    Report Abuse
    rewiltshire - October 06, 2012 10:06 am
    People have been eating GMO foods for years. Do you think that the potato you eat is the same type that was found by the European when they 'discovered' America? Is today's corn like the maze the America natives grew? How about your tomatoes? All crops have been modified to suit certain conditions. I'm not against the 'organic' concept, we do need stop polluting our earth. But to eat foods that are truly 'organic' would mean to go back to the original crop, not the modified one you eat today.
  3. Mustang Sally
    Report Abuse
    Mustang Sally - October 02, 2012 5:48 pm
    Don Curlee is a cheerleader for Big Ag, specifically large corporate farming operations and companies like Monsanto. He's also quite anti-organic. His column has a strong bias towards "bigger with more pesticides and herbicides applied to it is ALWAYS better," along with lots of sarcastic remarks disparaging anyone who does not agree with that. His columns have always reflected this bias. Clearly, he thinks anyone who thinks otherwise is an idiot, and that's reflected in his writing.
  4. Alan G
    Report Abuse
    Alan G - October 01, 2012 5:14 pm
    So glad to see all of the comments calling the author out on his obvious propagandist techniques. Trying to align those who favor labeling with "vegans and panic-stricken food fadists" or using the tired argument that GMO's will feed "a burgeoning world at affordable prices". Even the liberals who used to be on-board for that one have jumped ship. Shame on you!
  5. ymillerlabelgmo
    Report Abuse
    ymillerlabelgmo - October 01, 2012 4:09 pm
    Farmers provide us our source of nourishment and life. It is ridiculous to say that an initiative requiring our food be labeled is anti-farmer. I am NOT a vegan. I am a member of a CSA and purchase a box of fruits and vegetables from a local farmer in addition to beef. I support local agriculture and I WANT MY FOOD TO BE LABELED. When I shop at the grocery store, packaged food is labeled with calories/fat/transfat/sugar/gluten content. Add GMOs, it is no different. Educate yourself and buy local
  6. Bobb
    Report Abuse
    Bobb - October 01, 2012 9:23 am
    Let us not forget Monsanto pushed rBST in the Dairy industry. It was like a "cow drug" in which increased production was offset by cows shortened lifespan and the addiction to more drugs to keep up with the pace. Studies done in Canada were faked to show no residual effects to placate the population. Danish Creamery,(now part of CDI), banned the use by their shippers and I give credit to Larry and Richard Shehady of Producers Dairy in Fresno for banning it from the start.
  7. Pamm
    Report Abuse
    Pamm - September 29, 2012 1:47 pm
    Hundreds of farmers support Prop 37, many are listed on the carigttoknow.org website. I'm glad folks are concerned about lawsuits. Hope you spread the word with equal fervor about the hundreds that are sued by AG Biotech when their fields are contaminated against their wishes.

    For other farmer perspectives:

    http://www.fixfood.org/features/273/conventional-farmer-labeling-is-a-win-win/

    http://gmcropsfarmertofarmer.com/index.html
  8. Willows
    Report Abuse
    Willows - September 29, 2012 1:01 pm
    Over 200 Farmers in California have already endorsed Proposition 37 as well as thousands of others. The cost of 3 words on a package that already includes labeling will be a lot less the tax subsidies that we already pay to subsidize these GMO farms and crops. And what about the thousands farmers that are being sued for having their fields contaminated by GMOs end up losing their farms.
    GMOs have never been proven safe. As a Mom, I want to know what I'm feeding my family. Yes on 37!
  9. Willows
    Report Abuse
    Willows - September 29, 2012 12:55 pm
    Don Curlee parrots the same discredited talking points of the pesticide, agribusiness and junk food corporations bankrolling the opposition campaign. Already raising $37 million these companies face an army of concerned Californians grassroots movement who want their food labeled. It's a classic David vs Goliath fight.

    Over 200 Farmers in California have already endorsed Proposition 37 as well as thousands of others. The cost of 3 words on a package that already includes labeling will be a
  10. Inge
    Report Abuse
    Inge - September 29, 2012 11:51 am
    Lets see if you have the courage to keep my comments. What about the 5 million farmers suing Monsanto for 7 million dollars? http://digitaljournal.com/article/326085

    Monsanto acts like the Mafia, buying off politicians, suing small farmers whose fields are contaminated with GMOs (Monsanto claims they stole their patented seeds). Monsanto pretends to be the savior of our world food supply when in reality, they hope to CONTROL the world food supply! We have right to know whats in our food!
  11. Mygarden
    Report Abuse
    Mygarden - September 29, 2012 6:25 am
    A few corrections to your strange comments in the September 27 article in The Sentinal

    1) "labeling is an enormous and costly undertaking that probably turns people away from the labeled products.".  
      Nonsense, food is already labelled with ingredients and also quantities of nutrients

    2)"Identifying the backers as vegans and panic-stricken food 
    Fine to slap that label on proponents if we can also slap the label "apologist for the Agrichem Biz" on you

    3) "research that has brought GMOs into the plant-breeding and production process, enabling enormous increases in the production of healthy food products."
         And later,
    "feeding a burgeoning world at affordable prices.”

    Where is your statistics on that?  no, not the Monsanto advertising, actual statistics.  GMOs in fact, do NOT enjoy significantly higher yields, and as for affordable, substance farmers forced to rely on seeds they have to purchase every year, and use of expensive chemicals, is in no way affordable.  Patented seeds are in fact COSTLY.

    4)"prevents foods from being labeled “natural” if they have been processed in any way,...even frozen or canned?
      Where do you get that from?  frozen or canned foods cannot be labeled natural?

    5) "might cost an average family hundreds of dollars per year in higher food prices
    More malarkey, Don.  Foods are already labelled.  Adding one additional to foods containing GMOs would add a pittance to goal food costs

    My question is as a p.r. Man, for whom do you work?  Monsanto, Dupont, Sygenta. Your piece is an advertisement for their position.  You like to name call your opponents.  At least be honest about what you really represent, and it ain't the poor beleaguered farmer
  12. farm4good
    Report Abuse
    farm4good - September 29, 2012 6:00 am
    GMO's are not natural in any way, shape or form. The FDA says GMO's are substantially equivalent to conventional crops, yet they are patented. How can this be?
    There is a new study which just came out that shows GMO's are linked to tumors and organ damage. Google Seralini GMO study. Monsanto is the largest purveyor of GMO's. They say GMO's are safe. They said Agent Orange, DDt, and Aspertame were safe as well. Do you trust them? GMO's are made by crossing two unrelated species. Frankenfood!!!!!
  13. informedconsmr
    Report Abuse
    informedconsmr - September 29, 2012 5:47 am
    Congratulations Don, Monsanto is very proud of you I'm sure. Monsanto told us that another of their products was safe; can you say Agent Orange? And another, DDT. And another, Aspertame. A corporation like Monsanto is only concerned with profit, not consumer well fare or as you say 'feeding a burgeoning world at affordable prices'. Prop 37 will pass and then similar bills will come our way. The free market can only operate at max capacity if consumers are informed. What's the problem Don?
  14. yoverne
    Report Abuse
    yoverne - September 29, 2012 5:06 am
    The reason we need to label gmos is to give people who wish to avoid them the choice to do so. Even repressive governments like Russia and China, as well as EU, all label gmo. The problem is not enough research has been done on the long term effects of gmos. We are the guinea pigs in this experiment. Coincidently, since the introduction of gmos into our food supply, diseases such as cancer,autism, allergies, obesity, diabetes, skin disorders, and gastric problems have all spiked.
  15. DorisT
    Report Abuse
    DorisT - September 28, 2012 9:13 pm
    This is a ridiculously stupid, inaccurate portrayal of everyday citizens wanting to know what is in their food. Not only is your description of us as "vegans and panic-stricken food fadists" offensive, you are not taking into account the many countries who have boycotted Monsanto and GMO foods because of the what is does to the food growth process, the soil and to the people who consume GMO foods over a period of time. Monsanto also destroys farmers who do not cooperate with them...like Nazis.
Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick

Deals, Offers and Events

Featured Businesses

Featured Businesses

Videos

More Videos

Taking the plunge in Chicago

Lady Gaga and Vince Vaughn plunged into the icy waters of Chicago's Lake Michigan at a fundraiser for the S…

Hanford Christian Science Project

Hanford Christian Science Project

Hanford Christian student Ryan Poore explains with his science project why Mentos causes an …

Llamas On The Loose: The Musical

Llamas On The Loose: The Musical

Two llamas ran for freedom in Sun City, AZ, with pedestrians and police in hot pursuit. For …

Audio Slideshow: Hanford High defeats Hoover in basketball playoff

Audio Slideshow: Hanford High defeats Hoover in basketball playoff

An audio slideshow of the Central Section Division II playoff game between Hanford High and …

A Fine Monster You Are!

A Fine Monster You Are!

A scene from The Kings Players' production of Monk Ferris' play "A Fine Monster You Are!"

Video surfaces of Florida officer slapping homeless man

Video surfaces of Florida officer slapping homeless man

A Fort Lauderdale police officer has been put on paid leave after a YouTube video surfaced o…

Call 'em the anti-Oscars; Razzies handed out, too

Call 'em the anti-Oscars; Razzies handed out, too

Kirk Cameron was the big "winner" at the 35th annual Razzies, or Golden Raspberry Awards, wh…

Robotics competition at WHCL

Robotics competition at WHCL

High school students from around the Central Valley came to West Hills College Lemoore to co…

Star Wars Appreciation Day in Hanford

Star Wars Appreciation Day in Hanford

Dozens of fans came out to see their favorite Star Wars characters during the Fan Appreciati…

In The Alley

In The Alley

Lemoore tailor Connie Wlaschin has been performing alterations and custom fits for the Sailo…

The Theory of Everything - Official Trailer (Universal Pictures) HD

The Theory of Everything - Official Trailer (Universal Pictures) HD

The Official Trailer for The Theory of EverythingIn Cinemas New Year's Day, 2015http://www.t…

Selma Official Trailer #1 (2015) - Oprah Winfrey, Cuba Gooding Jr. Movie HD

Selma Official Trailer #1 (2015) - Oprah Winfrey, Cuba Gooding Jr. Movie HD

Subscribe to TRAILERS: http://bit.ly/sxaw6hSubscribe to COMING SOON: http://bit.ly/H2vZUnLik…