New Jersey Ag News
Politics trumping common sense (Editorial)
(March 15, 2016) The national political scene invaded New Jersey again recently.
Just when things had quieted down, only days after Gov. Chris Christie had come home and returned to the Trenton State House, throwing in the towel on his presidential run, there he was again, on the stump, urging support of Donald Trump for president.
Somehow, it did not seem to be wholehearted, particularly in view of some of his characterizations of Trump while he was still on the campaign trail.
That lack of enthusiasm for the task ahead was apparent again a few days later when he introduced Trump at a news conference and then stood behind him through what must have been an ordeal.
His expressionless face with darting eyes, as if he was searching the large gathering of news folk out front for a possible assassin, led TV viewers to speculate that he was saying to himself, “What the hell am I doing here?”
The New Jersey Farm Bureau characterized the endorsement performance as both “slyly executed and reputation-defying.”
Christie’s demeanor was an unforgetable although totally unintentional performance and one of the bright moments in an otherwise seemingly endless campaign.
Then, there is the whole matter of the national debate over GMOs. (That stands for genetically modified oirganism which sounds like some creature out of a horror movie. That could be part of its problem.)
In any event, NJFB, like its big brother, the American Farm Bureau Federation, is supporting a GMO labeling bill in Congress that recently cleared the Senate Agriculture Committee with a bipartisan 14-6 vote.
The Farm Bureaus contend this is “positive development for the food industry and farming industry,” both of which are supporting the effort for the bill being led by Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan.
The next step in the process is to gain 60 votes on the Senate floor to overcome an expected filibuster and negotiate a compromise on the floor with other senators.
The Roberts bill would preempt a mind-boggling assortment of individual state labeling laws. But it needs to get out of the Senate and into a conference committee with a House-passed companion bill.
Finally, of course, it would require the signature of President Obama.
AFBF President Zippy Duvall, speaking surely for the national Farm Bureau organization, said “the bill is a reaffirmation of common sense and fair play in the market-place ... ensuring consumers and farmers are not forced to deal with a patchwork of different state labeling mandates.
“It requires that labels be based in science and supports our longstanding grassroots policy for voluntary labeling and factual information-sharing on the value of this important agriculture technology.”
Both here and in Eastern Europe, a culture, taking root in agricultural ignorance, has emerged that distrusts food and how it is produced, thus the “organic revolution” and the total disdain of genetically modified seed.
The debate between anti-GMO food activists and the agricultural industry which argues that the GMOs are needed if it is to fulfill its obligation to “feed the world,” regrettably invades the halls of Congress when that body has many more urgent issues with which to deal.
Interestingly, the GMO issue has yet to emerge in the presidential campaign.
That could be interesting.