Farmers For The Win!
Ted Sheely grows cotton in the San Joaquin Valley on his 8,700-acre farm. Food companies aren’t required to tell us if the cotton is genetically engineered, even if it winds up in our food as cottonseed oil.
Ted appears in one of the many TV ads deliberately lying to California voters about Proposition 37. This particular ad asserts that Prop 37 will raise food costs by “billions of dollars”. There is no independent evidence---nor coherent logic---supporting that claim, of course. Prop 37 simply requires a label on genetically engineered foods, which will cost consumers, well, nothing. Food companies change their labels every 6-12 months on average; Prop 37 gives them 18 months.
Ted Sheely doesn’t speak for most farmers, more than 2,000 of whom have endorsed Proposition 37. Why do farmers support Proposition 37? For the same reasons most of us support it: because they believe we have the right to know what’s in the food they’re growing for us.
“When the CA Right to Know ballot initiative started to develop and the movement progressed, we thought it was a great idea: to label the product, to let the consumer make a choice about what they want to eat,” said Jessica Lundberg of Lundberg Family Farms.
Farmers and farmer organizations, including the National Family Farm Coalition, also support Prop 37 because having a simple label is the best way to find out if consumers want to eat genetically engineered food.
“The folks who are selling genetically engineered food need to tell the consumers the benefit,” said Lundberg. “If consumers don’t have the ability to make that choice--because it’s not labeled--they don’t understand the value, and the owners of the technology don’t have a way to understand what’s valuable to the consumer.”
Farmers of genetically engineered crops also support Prop 37, including Troy Roush. Troy said, “It comes down to people’s right to know what they eat, which is, to me, pretty obvious. I mean, shouldn’t we all know what we’re eating? As a farmer, I invite labeling, I encourage labeling, I’d love to see labeling. Labeling is a win for farmers, and a win for consumers.”
Meanwhile, the lead funder of our opponent’s TV ads is pesticide giant Monsanto, and they’re no friend to the farmer.
“Monsanto has a policy that prohibits farmers from saving or reusing the seeds once the crop is grown, ensuring that farmers have to buy new seeds every year,” reported the Washington Post. “The company has filed lawsuits around the country to enforce its policy against saving the seeds for the future."
Indeed, Monsanto sues farmers who save their seeds----as farmers have done for more than 10,000 years--- and those farmers are fighting back. Monsanto sued farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman for alleged unauthorized use of their seed, and the U.S. Supreme Court recently agreed to hear Hugh’s appeal.
Farmers are profoundly and intimately connected to the food we eat every day. And, overwhelmingly, they want us to know what we’re eating---and what they feed their own families. And that’s why they’re voting Yes on 37.