One of our favorite things to do every summer is visit the county fair. All the rides and local vendors, carnival food, 4H animals and Kansas farmers make it something we just can't miss! But this year we stumbled across a disappointing and unacceptable promotion at the Johnson County Farm Bureau tent: genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Genetically engineered (GE) food is a super hot topic around the nation right now with 9 out of 10 people in favor of mandatory GMO labeling. So you have to ask yourself, why do 90% of people want this? And why is Kansas ignoring this fact?
So What's Up With Kansas and GMOs?
Let me start by saying we LOVE it here.
Kansas is just right for us in so many ways. Our Constitution-defending, liberty-lovin' representatives strive to keep government intrusion as small as possible by placing control of most issues at the local level with the understanding that Kansans tend toward the fiscally and socially conservative side of things. That's what we want.
They do a great job…for the most part. We also love our farmers, but as of late, we've realized there's a HUGE problem here.
We thought this over for a long time and decided the reason that Kansas farmers are so stuck in this GMO rut is because they haven't been exposed to the actualities of GE food, and somewhere along the line, Biotech was able to convince them that GMOs are actually good for us.
Kansans, farmers in particular, are a deeply traditional people who carry on the beliefs and established practices of their predecessors which, in many other ways, is a good thing. Certainly not here though.
Congressman Mike Pompeo Wants to Keep Us in the Dark
Congressman Mike Pompeo is from our very own hometown, and he's the person that spearheaded The DARK Act that seeks to destroy our efforts at mandatory GMO labeling.
Then during our visit to the fair this year, we were given some seemingly innocuous information while our children were playing in the corn sandbox under the Johnson County Farm Bureau tent that we later realized was an active promotion of genetically engineered food.
WAIT A MINUTE!!
This wholehearted acceptance and promotion of GMOs in Kansas is something we've been frequently shocked by over the past few years.
If you've followed us for long, you know our stance on GMOs. Many years of research has led us to the firm conclusion that genetically engineered food is untested, unhealthy and damaging, and we'd never encourage our local farmers to plant GE crops (keep in mind that we're not talking about hybrids).
On approaching the two people manning the farm bureau tent and asking them about the information they were handing out to the fair-goers, their response was far less than desirable. They did their best to tell us they knew all about GMOs, but it was clear they didn't. Their answers were filled with run-of-the-mill talking points that showed a true lack of understanding.
By the 3 minute mark, they had become overwhelmed by the facts and information we were presenting, and they quickly exited the conversation. We walked away feeling super disappointed, but perhaps most bothersome was their unwillingness to hear and know the truth.
Change in Kansas is Critical
We need to be continually contacting Kansas legislators to clear the issue and help them understand that the majority of people have become informed and knowingly reject genetically modified organisms.
- Senator Pat Roberts is the chair of the Senate Agricultural Committee and has received $170,000 from the agricultural sector to endorse The DARK Act.
- Congressman Mike Pompeo is the Kansas legislator responsible for The DARK Act itself.
- Congressman Kevin Yoder voted in favor of The DARK Act despite his constituents' stern objections.
- Governor Sam Brownback
- Senator Jerry Moran
- Find your representatives
Frequently contacting organizations that influence legislation and information dispersal will also further our grassroots movement. It always helps to be kind, courteous and informed during all correspondence.
- Senate Agricultural Committee
- Kansas Department of Agriculture
- Johnson County Farm Bureau
- Kansas Farm Progress
- Kansas Farmers Union
- Your local farmer's markets
Kansas Farm Food Connection is a place that allows people to easily contact 8 different farmers commissions and associations:
- Kansas Farm Bureau
- Kansas Pork Association
- Kansas Wheat Commission
- Midwest Dairy
- Kansas Livestock Association
- Kansas Soybean Commission
- Kansas Grain Sorghum Producers Association
- Kansas Corn Commission
It's Up to Us to Spread the Word
Kansas farmers don't wish to hurt people by any means, so it's up to us to bring this information to light so we can get busy changing things in the sunflower state.
It's my opinion that if we're effective at shifting away from GMOs here in Kansas where so much of our nation's food is grown and raised, that we'll have an even better shot at achieving all of our goals. Mandatory GMO labeling could be just the beginning.
The road ahead may be full of potholes and obstacles, but it's one we must travel if we're going to alter the course we're currently on. Please help us help farmers grasp the importance of gaining a true understanding of this issue by sending a quick message to as many of the listed organizations as you possibly can.
Together we can do it!
Photo source: onlyorganic.org