USDA Comments regarding fostering “coexistence” between GMO and non-GMO farmers

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Note: While the media and public use the term GMO for genetically modified organism, the scientific and legal term is genetically engineered or GE. Every time you see GE you can mentally substitute GMO. They are interchangeable.

Please take a few minutes to comment on the proposed “coexistence” of GMO and non-GMO crops at the USDA Regulations.gov website.

I thought I would share my own comments as submitted this morning regarding the USDA’s goal of fostering coexistence between conventional (non-GE aka non-GMO), organic (non-GE aka non-GMO) and GE (aka GMO) “stakeholders” (they are corporate interests instead of farmers — sad). I am neither a scientist nor a lawyer, but I understand the concept of genetic contamination, and that is the big issue between GE “stakeholders” and non-GE farmers (because non-GE farmers are real people, usually family farms, organic farms, etc. not the huge corporate, industrial farms). GE DNA has contaminated non-GE crops destroying the non-GE seed’s genetic integrity. In other words, pollen from GE crops has crossed with non-GE crops, especially heirloom crops, destroying those varieties forever. The heirloom and open-pollinated varieties that have been contaminated are now extinct; they do not exist in their original forms any longer (except for those varieties that have been preserved in seed banks). The GE “stakeholders” are accountable to no one for the contamination and destruction of non-GE and organic crops. When tested, many organic crops cannot be sold as organic because of GE contamination. Collaboration? Coexistence? It is not possible. Monsanto et al (corporate interests) do not care about non-GE seed preservation or organic crop integrity. Monsanto et al only cares about corporate profits. They must be stopped. By the way, every time a state votes down a GMO labeling initiative it is helping Monsanto et al in its corporate takeover of the world’s food supply. Stop listening to the big propaganda machine sponsored by the GMA (Grocery Manufacturers Association — corporate big food lobby), Big Food (and the politicians in their pockets) and Monsanto et al (and the politicians in THEIR pockets). It is time for the American people to take a stand.

USDA Comment Request on Fostering Communication and Collaboration with the goal of Coexistence. Detailed request for information. Note the “voluntary” focus with the goal of heading off any additional regulation of GE crops and the pesticides used in their production.

BILLING CODE: 3410-34-P
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Office of the Secretary
[Docket No. APHIS-2013-0047]
Enhancing Agricultural Coexistence; Request for Public Input
ACTION: Request for information.

Comments by Michele Haynes, Connecticut USA

I vehemently oppose this USDA undertaking of “fostering communication and collaboration with the goal of enhancing agricultural coexistence” which smells of corporate interest protection. It is not the USDA’s job to foster communication, collaboration and coexistence amongst “stakeholders” in the United States. Any and all programs currently under development, especially with the aid of Monsanto et al (biotech and chemical companies responsible for genetically engineered seed and pesticides used on those genetically engineered crops) need to cease production, specifically printed and online materials and any “toolkits” used to further the corporate interests of Monsanto et al. My tax dollars should not be spent on fostering goodwill between GE interests and non-GE farmers. Additionally, strict regulation of GE crops needs to be implemented with the goal of protecting non-GE seed genetic purity using non-GE farming zones, respecting state and local ordinances and laws regarding the restriction and denial of growing GE crops, and huge buffer zones (two mile minimum) must be created between GE crops and and non-GE crops, and a 1,000 foot (minimum) buffer zone between the spraying of the pesticides that accompanies the growing of said GE crops from any and all human activity including public roads, private roads, public and private buildings, schools, businesses and non-GE farm land.

Area 1:

“Where should USDA focus its efforts to best foster communication and collaboration
amongst stakeholders? What would best facilitate farmer-to-farmer communication
and collaboration?”

I think the key to this question is the use of the word “stakeholders” instead of farmers. The corporate interests want to ensure the continuation of huge profits at the expense of transparency, safety, and genetic integrity of non-GE crops.
I want to remind the USDA that it does not represent corporate agricultural interests (Monsanto et al), nor does it represent biotechnology interests, nor the GE (genetically engineered), conventional or organic farmer’s interests; the USDA represents the people’s interests first and foremost. If this is forgotten, the focus of the USDA’s energies becomes misguided as is the case in this discussion. The USDA’s job is not to “foster communication and collaboration to strengthen coexistence” between organic, traditional (non-GE), and GE farming interests. The USDA’s job is to, once again, protect the people of the United States from unhealthy and unsafe foods, protect the food supply from contamination, whether it be biological, chemical or genetic contamination, and to put the safety and needs of the people of the United States before any corporate interests. Secondary to that, the USDA works to ensure that the US food supply is consistent, abundant, and affordable.

Farmer-to-farmer communication has not been the problem; Monsanto legal team-to-farmer communication has been the issue. Conventional and organic farmers and farmers that grow GE crops are not the issue (except when the farms that grow GE crops are corporate-owned industrial farms with no accountability — a board of directors has no conscience). Conventional and organic farmers have been bullied, sued, and destroyed by the corporate interests behind GE crops (and the chemical companies that manufacture and sell the pesticides they use on these GE crops). These corporate interests will do anything and everything to protect corporate profits and do not care one whit about the conventional and organic farmer’s interests. The USDA needs to be reminded that it does not represent the interests of Monsanto et al. The USDA represents the needs and wants, the very vision, of the American people who are concerned about the long-term safety of GE foods, unlabeled and untested, in our food supply, and the subsequent destruction of non-GE seed genetic purity.

Area 2:

“As part of USDA’s outreach and education efforts, we are interested in identifying
education needs and exploring the creation of “outreach toolkits” that will encourage
communication, planning, and crop-specific practices to facilitate successful coexistence.”

It is NOT the USDA’s job to create, at taxpayer expense, “outreach toolkits” that aid Monsanto et al and farmers that grow GE crops in furthering their for-profit practices. Again, I will remind the USDA that it is responsible for the safety, purity, and abundance of the US food supply, not Monsanto et al corporate profits or the continuation of GE crop production.
The USDA should NOT create “outreach toolkits” at taxpayer expense.

Area 3:

“In the area of education and outreach, we are seeking public input regarding the implementation of the recommendation that USDA foster communication and collaboration to strengthen coexistence.”

Once again, I want to remind the USDA that it does not represent corporate agricultural interests, nor does it represent biotechnology interests, nor any particular type of farmer’s interests; the USDA represents the people’s interests first and foremost. If this is forgotten, the focus of the USDA’s energies becomes misguided as is the case in this discussion. The USDA’s job is not to “foster communication and collaboration to strengthen coexistence” between organic, conventional (non-GE), and GE farming interests. The USDA’s job is to protect the people of the United States from unhealthy and unsafe foods, protect the food supply from contamination, whether it be biological, chemical or genetic contamination, and to put the safety and needs of the people of the United States before any corporate interests.

Corporate interests such as Monsanto et al have already infiltrated US universities, spreading propaganda about how wonderful their products are for the world. Now the USDA, a taxpayer funded organization entrusted with protection of the US food supply, wants to take up the GE banner under the guise of fostering coexistence? Misguided doesn’t begin to describe this goal. The public has been educated but not by Monsanto et al or the USDA. The public has finally been exposed to the many truths about GE crops and the resulting GE foods. While Monsanto et al may have “hired” the USDA to join its propaganda machine, the American people will no longer believe the lies; they have already been informed enough that they question anything the corporate machine and its hired US agencies have to say about GE crops.

There is no way for GE crops and non-GE crops to coexist side by side. Open-pollinated varieties, hundreds of them, have been contaminated by GE DNA thereby destroying the open-pollinated crops’ genetic integrity. Once lost, that genetic integrity and purity can never be restored.

Genetically engineered crops should be required to be isolated to farming zones set aside specifically for growing those crops in communities that agree to sponsor them. These communities should NOT receive any kind of taxpayer-funded incentives for sponsoring GE crops and the farms the grow them. GE crops should, at a minimum, be two miles from any non-GE crops. Any GE crops that will be sprayed with any kind of pesticide (aka herbicides) should be at a minimum 1000 feet from any public roadway, private roadway (driveways), private homes, schools, retail and/or business of any kind; in other words, no humans should be unwittingly exposed to pesticides. GE seed should be weighed and accounted for every step of the way from bagging to shipping to planting with not one seed escaping into the wild or onto a non-GE piece of land. Any escape of GE seed, pollen, or the final product should be met with heavy fines, further growing and handling restrictions and even possibly the loss of a GE growing permit.

In regard to voluntary solutions to conflicts between GE farmers and non-GE farmers, there will be none that will protect the non-GE farmers from contamination. Monsanto et al takes what it wants by force, has the financing and legal power to see that its interests come first before any other interests. No voluntary solutions are possible. The USDA needs to create strict regulations for growing GE crops. Huge buffer zones, respecting community and state laws that prohibit the growing of GE crops, and strict regulation of the handling of GE seed and GE pollen from GE crops must be implemented. The farmer who grows GE crops must be held responsible for any contamination of non-GE crops by his crops’ pollen. It is time for accountability, not coexistence.

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