Jamie) Thanks for staying with us. Next Sara updates us on the status of the Vermont Labeling Law and GMO issues.
(Kyle) Hi this Kyle Bauer from New Orleans, I have the opportunity to visit with Sara Wyant. She is the editor of AgriPulse, which is a…I guess is it a daily, informative newsletter for anybody involved in agriculture? (Sara) It is actually open to everybody Kyle. It’s an early morning product we call Day Break. It’s an early morning news can we call Daily Harvest and then we have a subscription only newsletter that is published every Wednesday. In addition to all that we put content on our website agri-pulse.com throughout the day. (Kyle) The perspective that you bring though is that you see all sides of the issue, left and right, Democrat, Republican, urban, rural. Give us some perspective on what you see from the Washington, D.C. side on food and ag issues. (Sara) Kyle, I think for your listeners it’s very important to understand that there was a big victory in the Senate Ag Committee this week. Senator Pat Roberts, who as you know chairs that committee, was able to advance a bill that would basically stop a Vermont labeling law for food products containing GMO’s. And nobody thought he would really be able to get it done in the Senate. He got a bipartisan vote and he’s advanced it out of committee. Where it goes from there it still remains to be seen. But for the most part, he was able to get some Democrats on board and he got promises from the ranking minority member Debbie Stabenow from Michigan that she was willing to work on a compromise bill. The indications are there that there might be enough Democrats in the Senate to actually move it all the way through. Again, it’s a little premature to say how it’s going to play out because there are a lot of folks opposing this sort of effort. But the food companies are adamant that if we don’t get this done that it could lead to a state-by-state patchwork of labeling laws that would really make it problematic for the food industry to be able to package and label anything and it would raise costs for consumers. That’s the bottom line for Senator Roberts is that it was we look at trying to, as he says, feed a growing, hungry world, that we don’t try to jack up costs for those who can least afford it. (Kyle) Let’s just stick with the GMO issue because it’s as broad and has as many misconceptions as any other food and industry. As you talk to urban Legislators and lobbyists, what do you think are the misconceptions and where is the misinformation is coming from? (Sara) Unfortunately activist groups have turned just the acronym GMO, which stands for Genetically Modified Organisms, into a dirty word, when in fact there is no research that shows that it is any less safe, or less nutritionally dense, than any other product even compared to organics. So, there is absolutely no science that shows that there should be a problem. It’s just really a public perception. I think it behooves all of your farmers and ranchers to have these conversations in their churches, in their Kiwanis Clubs, wherever they go to try to let people understand that there’s room for all different kinds of production in American agriculture. But let’s not be pointing fingers and making one seem bad and another seem good, when in fact all different types of production can provide healthy food for consumers. (Kyle) We’re visiting with Sara Wyant, she is the editor of AgriPulse mainly from Washington, D.C. This is Kyle Bauer reporting.
(Jamie) Thanks, Kyle! Folks, come back after the break for this week’s Kansas Farm Bureau Legislative Update.