With all of the hoopla over Arnason Farm’s selling out to a developer, it should come as no surprise to those of us who are actually paying attention to how the farmers in Whatcom County struggle to steer clear of all the target practice they endure from the eco-fanatics who say they only want to “preserve” the small farms. Well when you understand that we have laden rural farmers with 24/7…365 days per year of multiple state and federal agencies, who are constantly looking over you shoulder for something to find fault with and then top it off with the demands of operating a small farm…for the amount of return that this brings in, you might gain a smidgeon of understanding as to the farmers plight.
You cannot save the farmland if you do not save the farmer. The Farmer does not want a hand out. The Farmer wants a clear and reasonable path to apply their skills and knowledge of farming which not only gives them the quality of life they desire, it keeps me, you and the world fed the foods we need to stay healthy. The skills and capacity are there if the enviro-fanatics and their friends in government will take their boot off of the Farmers neck.
The “Farm Bureau” is an organization that keeps the farmer (and the general public) connected in what’s happening down on the farms. The Montana Farm Bureau is just a chapter of the larger organization, but have published a timely piece for anyone truly interested in this subject.
~ Lorraine Newman and Kris Halterman
Statement by Bob Stallman, President / American Farm Bureau Federation / Re: Biotechnology and Coexistence / March 5, 2014
“The American Farm Bureau Federation supports the Agriculture Department’s decision to move forward with an important recommendation about biotechnology and coexistence. That recommendation, from the final report of the Advisory Committee on Biotechnology & 21st Century Agriculture (AC21), is to foster communication and collaboration to strengthen coexistence among farmers. We are disappointed by the implication from activist groups opposed to modern farming practices that there is widespread disagreement when it comes to coexistence and agricultural biotechnology. Frankly, that assertion does not hold up to scrutiny.
“AFBF has been an active participant in the constructive dialogue undertaken through the AC21 process. The fact of the matter is that for decades now, a hallmark of U.S. agriculture has been the ability of farmers to pursue innovation, utilize diverse cropping systems and respond to consumer demand for high-value, identity-preserved and specialty crops. Contrary to the claims by some who have a stake in muddying the waters with overblown charges, the diversity and vitality of our industry would not be possible if not for the past success of coexistence, or as we practice it, just being a good neighbor.
“While the U.S. regulatory framework is based on a scientific evaluation of safety and risk, the emergence of premium markets for crops that exclude the use of approved biotechnology as a method of production are purely market-driven. One fundamental principle has applied throughout the history of diverse cropping systems — the farmer who derives value from a premium, differentiated crop accepts responsibility for implementing the production practices necessary to preserve the value of that crop. In all examples of identity-preserved crop production, the additional costs of production and the costs associated with accepting additional risk are offset by higher prices.
“The idea that there is a ‘war in the countryside’ is not borne out by the personal experience of the vast majority of American farmers or the evidence presented at the meetings of the AC21 committee. Although GMO opponents talk about a deluge of legal disputes between farmers for unintentional gene flow, the AC21 report didn’t identify or find evidence of significant legal disputes among farmers related to coexistence or cases of farmers being threatened legally for unintentional gene flow. Any purported ‘war’ in agriculture does not reflect facts and is merely the product of an activist agenda that does not reflect the best interest of farmers or American agriculture.”