News and Commentary
Voice of Idaho Agriculture
Ballot measures requiring labeling of food made with genetically modified ingredients recently failed in Colorado and Oregon. California and Washington voters rejected similar measures in recent years and now nearly half of all states have considered labeling requirements.
Only one state, Vermont, has passed a law requiring GMO labeling. It’s facing a legal challenge there and is not slated to take effect until 2016.
In Oregon, one of the nation’s most liberal states, the measure lost by a narrow margin. Many pundits thought a labeling bill had a good chance of passing there. In Colorado the measure was defeated by a two to one margin. Millions of dollars have been spent both advocating for GMO labeling and defending the status quo. So what is the takeaway message from this effort to implement state labeling laws?
A website recently launched by the American Farm Bureau Federation shows consumers the benefits of genetic technology in crops. Located at www.fb.org/biotech, the new site provides valuable information on the benefits of biotechnology to our economy, environment and much more.
Biotechnology has proven to be an important tool for better sustainability and food security. It helps farmers grow more food while improving the environment. For example, biotechnology reduces the use of costly inputs and improves weed management, allowing farmers to reduce tillage for better soil, water and air quality. Today, roughly 90 percent of corn, cotton and soybeans grown in the U.S. have been improved through biotechnology, and farmers are choosing biotech traits when growing other crops such as alfalfa, sugarbeets and canola.
Despite rapid adoption by farmers and a strong scientific consensus that biotechnology does not pose health and environmental risks, regulatory burdens are slowing research and innovation of new biotech traits and are starting to reduce U.S. farmers’ international competitive advantage. In addition, activist groups routinely threaten the availability of new traits by blocking science-based regulatory decisions, filing lawsuits and advocating for labeling mandates.
One reason people around the country are angry with the federal government is that unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats in federal agencies are increasingly making-up and enforcing rules which destroy our legitimate rights. These agencies are usurping powers they were never given nor intended to have under the Constitution.
Unfortunately this can, and sometimes does happen here in Idaho with our state agencies as well. If we are not vigilant, rules can slip through the process that are not consistent with the intent of the law.
The Idaho Farm Bureau Federation does not endorse candidates for statewide offices. However, statements posted on Idaho Gubernatorial Candidate A.J. Balukoff’s website are reasons for rural voters to be concerned.
We believe Idaho voters should be aware of and informed about the candidate’s position on wolves, monument designations and several others. The following statement is one example:
What do you think about the state wolf-control panel that Gov. Otter and the Legislature created this year?
“I think that was more about election-year politics than an attempt to create informed public policy.....
Americans, and especially Idahoans, love and cherish public lands. We take it for granted that they will always be there for us to enjoy. Unfortunately, we all are incrementally being shut out of “our” public lands by the federal “managers.”
In an attempt to rally for the cause of reforming our nation’s broken immigration policy, farmers, ranchers and lobbyists from various business groups went to Washington D.C. on July 9 to encourage Congress to find a decisive way forward.
The American Farm Bureau Federation recently reviewed EPA’s March 25 release of the ‘waters of the U.S.’ proposed rule. The results of the review are dismaying.
The Idaho Farm Bureau opposes the creation of a Boulder-White Cloud National Monument by presidential proclamation.