Viewers Speak on GMO's and Free Trade

Published on: 16:16PM May 04, 2015

Editor’s Note: The following comments were received following the May 2-3, 2015 edition of U.S. Farm Report…

Viewer Comment #1:  Your story on the Oregon county's ban on GMO crops spurs my response. I am a dry land wheat farmer in Washington. I hear stories of the mysterious decline in bee populations. I have waited patiently for coverage of a possible explanation from you or other ag media. Here is what my local beekeeper told me at the cafe.  He asked me if I was raising canola again this year. I said yes. He asked what variety. I said I don't remember but it is a Roundup Ready variety. He indicated he wasn't interested in parking his bees there as he has in the past.  I nearly let the opportunity get away but instead I moved to his table and asked why he was not interested since it was Roundup Ready. In the past he was quite complimentary of the honey production on our conventional canola. He explained that his production on GMO canola was near zero and it killed his bees.  His explanation was that the mature bees that he brings to a GMO canola field carry on as normal. They pollinate the crop, return to the hive and produce honey. The next generation of bees which use a portion of that honey to survive to adulthood die unexplainably. I learned this at my local cafe from a beekeeper with no political ax to grind. He is just trying to make a living. Has no one else heard of this?  I am a political, some would say radical, conservative. I don't buy into regulation or any part of the "green movement" but if my unassuming beekeeper tells me this story in a matter of fact fashion I have to give it some credence.

Your Oregon story showed the danger in letting highly educated, but totally uneducated, voters run portions of the agricultural industry with their emotional votes. But, is there an untold story about GMO's known to my local beekeeper and no one else?  Kirk Kramer

Viewer Comment #2:  Oregon and the vote on no GMO. The cry for more testing on cross pollination is yet another stall. THAT'S JUST COMMON SINCE. ..... RIGHT! Cross pollination is plant growth 101. Sandy Bowen

Viewer Comment #3:  Ag exports are the highlight of trade, and I see our stake in it. But bipartisan "free trade" is a con-artist's dream! Importers fail to contribute to the US and the Treasury in every way, save retail wage tax mostly, and they're slight. Sure, G. Bush senior was right, America benefits from cheap dollar store goods from cut-throat wage and benefit competition abroad, but how do the old, unemployed, welfare, and disability cases gain? It's their jobs, their tax-paying jobs, and industries that are needed to buy those. The "efficiency" you cite of foreign competition is nothing more than common greed by polluting, endangering, depriving, manipulating, and brain-washing poor working-classes by cruel authoritarian governments that split the profits with our steely Wall Street importers.  Your experts ought to fairly measure the results since the WalMart rise of imports. The '30s Smoot-Hawley tariff they often argue was when the nation had a trade surplus, and to what extent this harmed the overall economy is doubted. We have a whopping deficit now. The changes to America that you'll ignore is mind-numbing. Heard of 99%, or Occupy? Why?  If all were equal, free trade is fair. Buy low, sell high. But it's not! Our national tradition of taxes handicaps American work, because we protect our majority. We pay for health and defense and infrastructure. Old age and ports and education, public transportation and parks. We don't wear breathing masks, we can drink the water, we enforce job safety, we have retiree health and income safety nets. Cut-rate countries don't and that's one step above saying that national slavery is an economic institution worth saving. Haven't you noticed that economists cowardly support each other and always repeat the same mantra?  Investment-class incomes love imports, our domestic producers hate taxes. Either abandon our fought-for standards or demand that product sold in America has all the same percentage of tax paid, on the barrel head! Taking it out of earned profit here and paychecks alone keep taxable assets and investment outside our country. I won't listen to any more of this Libertarian hogwash about settling for less. Face up to it! China is the #1 economic super power, not us!  Those workers get 50% of our standard of living, at 15% of the wages. And our "trade partners" bringing them in (tax-free) pay 15% in yuan, not dollars. The fortunate half of workers that aren't rural poor there can't say anything against the establishment, and you want us to be the same? Farmers here benefit from our public investments and support. Crop damage occurs, and the Libertarians among us are the first to cry for financial rescue, just like the poor Wall Street importation schemers!  Maybe, John, the new trade agreement is somewhat better than the existing circumstance, but for average America's falling fortunes that economists won't count, it just couldn't be any worse. I do not agree with your "accepted view" and if truckers and longshoremen get a bite out of importers fortunes, I like it. Find new markets on new continents if you want more trade, aren't there still hungry to feed out there?  Sorry to rant, but you asked for it. If you go to Congress sometime, bring average America with you.  Gregory Clifford - St. Francis, MN

Viewer Comment #4:  Just wanted to say I've watched your show off and on for decades.  At one time was very dry. John Phipps really did a nice job as a host. He brought life to the show. With the addition of Tyne Morgan, this show is great. In the year or two she has been on this show has become something I try to watch each week. John, Tyne, and the rest of the show are very informative, very knowledgeable.  I like watching Tyne ask the tough questions.  Some of the guests seem surprised she knows so much about all farm aspects. Keep up the good work.  Hope you keep your current hosts.  Thanks, Andy in Wisconsin

Viewer Commment #5:  I Love US Farm Report! Keep up the fabulous job Tyne, I really appreciate the quick update on the website because that's how I watch it usually. Your loyal viewer, Bryan Mitchell - Ulysses, KS