The incredible success of the GMO labeling bill was in actuality not about the “right to know” what is in our food. It was an astoundingly clear vote against conventional agriculture, for which GMO seeds have become a lightning rod.
It was a vote against the introduction by farmers into the food chain of an ever-widening range of exotic technologies including the broad use of toxic chemicals, fertilizers and herbicides. It was a vote by an overwhelming number of Vermonters, estimated at 90 percent of respondents, for clean, unadulterated food. That vote should resonate with you and with all those in the Shumlin administration who are grappling with how to meet our federally mandated water quality standards while, at the same time, trying to preserve the conventional paradigm.
Why not take a hint from what 90 percent of Vermonters are telling you about GMOs? The vote was a clear mandate to you that Vermonters do not want GMOs or toxic chemicals in the food supply. Coincidentally, the EPA insists that we clean up the lake, which means that Vermont must arrest the inflow of nitrogen and phosphorus into the lake. Incontestably, the major source of these chemicals is conventional agriculture, which in Vermont, means conventional dairy. We cannot get there by reasserting the same voluntary remedies that have been in effect for near 20 years and which are empirically ineffective; the inflow must be reduced by 36 percent. We do not have to allocate hundreds of millions to stop this flow; we need only to prevent their use. But since conventional dairy farmers are now dependent upon them, and we want to preserve farming, I suggest that you give the farmers a timetable for converting stage by stage to organic. Those who for whatever reason do not want to, or cannot, convert, give these farmers 25 years to realize their legitimate, investment-backed expectations.
Read the full, original article: GMO labeling bill was vote against conventional farming