Some more election news out of California. Sonoma County has voted to make it unlawful to propagate, cultivate, raise, or grow genetically modified crops. As I reported in June, the law does not prohibit people from consuming or selling GMO foods, or using genetic modification for medications.
Farmers – this one was totally directed at you.
The vote to ban GMOs was won by about 12% points. Some local races also became embroiled in the controversy and anti-GMO candidates were able to win their seats as a result.
Interestingly, Sonoma County geographically connects with other counties in California that have banned cultivation of genetically modified crops. There is now a 13,734 square-mile zone where the technology cannot be used for agriculture. It is the largest area in the United States.
As with other GMO bans, this just makes me sad and worried about the future of agriculture. Biotechnology has increased yields, decreased pesticide use, and increased farmer profits. GMO crops are just as safe as their non-GMO counterparts, which has been confirmed by the National Institute of Sciences. Yet, here we have voters that clearly do not understand this and are banning farmers from using the technology.
Benefits for the environment, farmers, and our food supply should be reasons to celebrate GMOs, not ban them.
I really feel bad for farmers in these counties that can no longer choose environmentally-friendly technology. Hopefully now that the labeling debate has been decided, these kids of ridiculous ballot proposals will die.