There’s an old joke most farmers have heard: How does a farmer double his income? Easy - he puts up another mail box!
The implication is that a farmer lives off of his government support payment, especially if weather destroys his crop and his insurance engages, or he participates in the Conservation Reserve Program where he is paid NOT to plant a crop.
The simple fact is every country subsidizes its agricultural sector. Meeting the increasing demands of a rapidly expanding world for basic sustenance is not easy as population continues to explode exponentially.
No large nation can let its food supply be totally dependent on imports.
Hence, policies are devised to keep certain products competitive in the mis-named “free market,” which is really a “semi-controlled market.”
Against this backdrop though there is fierce competition between wheat-
growing nations, such as the United States and Australia. Every penny makes a difference. Thus, most wheat farmers in Washington opposed Initiative 522, which would have required labeling of foods altered in anyway by genetic modification (gmo).
For them it was a cost issue as much as a truth in content matter. For the large domestic corporations who turn wheat into bread and other staples¸ it was worth spending millions to avoid more unnecessary cost.
Those voting against the measure surprisingly won, 54 to 46 per cent, on November 5th. Proponents implied public health could be endangered by allowing gmo elements into one’s pantry and played hard the card that one had a right to know. This was playing the fear card which many find ironic.
After all, it was genetic altered seeds that led to the “green revolution” and higher crops yields just in the nick of time to help meet the exploding world population. Where the next leap forward will come from no one knows for sure.
If one stops to think, most people in the United States have been genetically altered by advances in health care in some way whether it is artificial limbs, a pig valve in the heart or advanced forms of cancer treatment.
Scientists are investigating gene-splicing and other advances which will permit prospective parents to see a printout of likely diseases a child in the womb might face. The ethics of this form of selective breeding are very debatable, but consumers don’t seem to object to eating meat from selectively bred cattle. (more…)