Who’s It Going to Be?

A new year is fast approaching, as well as a new government cabinet both on a federal and local level. It seems many are looking ahead, anxious for a change from the past 8 years in more ways than one. I am one of those people on several levels but I’m closely paying attention to agriculture. Does anyone else find it interesting that there’s yet to be a pick for U.S. Secretary of Agriculture? From what I’ve read, it always tends to be a late December pick but this seems to be one of the latest. I’m hoping that doesn’t mean it’s on the back burner and all the other more important picks came first. According to this article from Politico, our President-elect seems to be running through many names. My only hope is he remembers rural America elected him because of the promises he made to farmers out west regarding regulations and support for ethanol. Let me also mention that I hope he doesn’t fill the post to make himself look better (i.e. picking a female because he only has 4 in cabinet so far or picking a Democrat to be bipartisan or for another “R” seat in Congress).

That brings me to the state level. I have no inside information. However, I do find the recently announced transition teams set up by Governor-elect Carney interesting. I assume the agriculture secretary will be chosen from the “Economic Development & Healthy Environment” committee and only one name from the ag industry sits on that committee, Chris Perdue from Perdue Agribusiness. Is it wrong to want a real life farmer on the panel that selects our next Secretary of Agriculture? Doesn’t our #1 industry deserve this?

However, I do find it promising that agriculture is the fifth pillar in Carney’s economic plan. He focuses on supporting farmers through the following opportunities:

  1. Improve nutrient management regulations
  2. Reduce permitting barriers
  3. Preserve farmland and
  4. Promote agribusiness

I assume these would be the priorities of the next incoming cabinet official as well as the focus of the transition panel when picking the next secretary. If you have anything to do with farming, read or share the details found here and make sure you mention whether you agree or disagree the next time you see our Governor-elect or his staff. Or better yet, pick up the phone and call him-http://transition.delaware.gov/contact/

P.S.-The only public insight I’ve found so far from the transition team is from this Cape Gazette article highlighting Todd Lawson’s involvement. Todd actually has an agricultural background and grew up in Sussex County. Too bad he isn’t on the committee selecting our Ag secretary…..

Response to “Shame on Carney for GMO food vote”

In response to the Delaware State News article, “Shame on Carney for GMO food vote”on July 29, I would like to set the record straight regarding GMO food and labeling.

First of all, there are only eight crops commercially available from GMO seed in the United States. They are corn, soybeans, cotton, canola, alfalfa, sugar beets, papaya, and squash. I have seen many non-GMO labels in the grocery store already, such as on blueberries. This is unnecessary and confusing because blueberries have never been a GMO food. The same goes for canned pineapple and popcorn.

Furthermore, leading scientists and world health organization’s agree that GMO foods are safe to eat. Before GM crops can be released to the market, they are tested in ways that conventional and organic crops are not. If a study were ever to yield a result that raised any food safety concern, it is required by law that the information be presented to the FDA. Not a single case of ill health has originated from the consumption of these products for the past 20 years.

In reality, GMO labeling isn’t about a nutrition, health, or food safety issue. It’s about marketing. It’s a ploy where food companies try to capture your attention and separate their product from competitors on grocery shelves. It’s about capturing “fad” food preferences as well. For example, only 1% of the United States population suffers from celiac disease, which requires a gluten-free diet. However, gluten-free labels are everywhere. Food marketers have a history of taking advantage of consumer confusion.

Last but not least, it’s important to know for every dollar we spend on food, only about 16 cents goes to the farmer. Requiring labeling would pass a huge expense down to the farmer and even the consumer. So THANK YOU, Rep. Carney, for standing for science and Delaware’s #1 industry…….Agriculture.

For more information, please visit the links embedded in the article or go here and talk to a real farmer: http://findourcommonground.com/