Organic Tail Wagging In DC

Mischa Popoff Policy Advisor, Heartland Institute
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It’s not just politicians who stopped listening to We the People. Every industry group in America’s most important sector, farming, wasted the last 16 years trying to compromise with a special-interest group that has no respect for science. This will hopefully end on January 20th when a businessman takes the helm.

Just 0.7 percent of total farmland is organic in America. But under the last two administrations this tiny tail wagged the dog in Washington DC, with nary a farm bureau, commodity group or industry lobbyist having the guts to stand up to organic activists who demand “protection” from technologies that pose no threat whatsoever to organic farms. Of these technologies, genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) should, in truth, be embraced by these activists. But they rejected GMOs purely for appearance-sake, all while President Obama stood silent, garnering support from both sides.

Organic sales in America account for 4 percent of total food sales, more than 5-times the amount of land under organic management, meaning anti-GMO organic retailers rely on imports 80 percent of the time, putting the lie to the ruse that buying organic supports American farmers.

Meanwhile, organics accounted for a whopping 7 percent of all food recalls in America last year, almost double what one would expect according to sales, 10-times what one would expect from America’s organic acreage!

This direct threat to your family results from the lack of field testing required to become certified under American organic standards. But rather than address this public-health menace, the most important advancement in agricultural science in the last 100 years is attacked on the Floor of Congress and in the media, and is crushed under a mountain of useless red tape as stakeholders and politicians continue to agonize over how to appease the leaders of America’s diminutive anti-GMO sector.

Isn’t the solution obvious? President Clinton had it almost right when he attempted to unite organic and GMO farming. But organic activists drowned-out the voices of American farmers, and America’s National Organic Program became law with an absolute exclusion on all GMOs, no exceptions, even in cases where GMO crops require no pesticides, making them ideal candidates for organic certification.

Overregulation acts as a major drag on the economy, making us 75 percent poorer. In the bogus case of GMOs v. Organics it has also made us far-less humane. A half-million kids will go blind and die this year in the Third World while GMO Golden Rice that could provide them with Beta carotene remains in regulatory limbo thanks to organic activists who claim it will contaminate organic crops and lead to unspecified health effects. Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama all share blame in failing to address this, along with their allies.

Instead of driving this propaganda wedge deeper, President Donald J. Trump can return farming in America to what it was before a handful of activists took control in our nation’s capital. Failing such unity, brace yourself for European food prices, triple what you’re accustomed to paying, with no benefit. But, fear not dear friends, because something tells me that’s not Trump’s style.

Mischa Popoff is a Policy Advisor at The Heartland Institute, and is the author of Is it Organic? The inside story of the organic industry.