Anyone else ready for November 6th? Ready for the debates and political ads to be over? As important as the Presidential election is, have you considered how important California's vote on Proposition 37 will be to your farm?
I worked in the grain industry for about 11 years, and it adds a level of difficulty and expense to identity preserve commodities as they are delivered. If you raise both conventional and genetically modified grain, you will have extra steps involved with cleaning out your machinery in between loads. These are all things from a practical perspective for your day to day management of your farm.
What I really want to discuss is the public perception of GMOs in food. On Oct. 17, The Dr. Oz Show focused on GMOs and whether they should be labeled. I would encourage you to watch this segment on his website (it will only take about 10 minutes). This is a statement from a scientist who had been asked, but unable to participate in this segment of the show.
It's interesting to contemplate how these types of shows get put together. Considering that Oz's wife is involved in the making of the anti-GMO film that is referred to on the show, the show seemed more balanced than I expected. Then Oz goes on to explain how you can avoid GMOs in your food by eating only organics and avoiding any food that contains canola, corn, papaya, soy, and sugar beets.
Regardless of what "the spin" is on this issue, there is a segment of the population that fears genetically modified crops cause negative health problems. If you only read the information that questions the what-ifs around GMOs it is scary stuff. The claims are that GMOs cause cancer or diabetes. In contrast, the World Health Organization says that no effects on human health have been shown as a result of consuming GMO foods.
My bottom-line challenge to you is to think about how you would respond if you're visiting with someone who expresses concern about GMOs in food. What would you say to them to ease their mind if you raise crops that are genetically modified? If California's proposition passes, it has the potential to have long-term impacts on how you farm. What would you tell the citizens of California as they are making their decision on how they will vote on Proposition 37?