European Trade Deal

November 12, 2015

November 12, 2015

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

The Trans Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement is sitting in Congress now. It was not an easy process to get the deal this far. If we can find the votes to pass it, it will be a big win for the American farmer.

Now, on the Atlantic side, we are in the process of negotiating a trade agreement with the European Union. This will be even more difficult – at least from agriculture’s point of view. The EU is not helping.

Just last month, two-thirds of the EU countries filed applications to opt out of cultivating (GM) crops. They aren’t going to allow their farmers to grow GM crops. They may not even allow them to be imported. They did this after the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) certified the safety of GM crops and said they could be grown.

At this point, we are talking about Monsanto’s corn, which is the only GM crop approved for cultivation. In Europe, it is currently grown primarily in Spain and Portugal. If Europe insists on ignoring science and insists on rejecting the most promising technology in my lifetime, I don’t see how we can ever reach a trade deal.

GM crops have been in commercial use for 20 plus years and have an impeccable safety record. They boost farmers’ incomes and reduce consumer prices.

Let me read to you a quote from an EU Report on GMO biosafety: “The main conclusion to be drawn from the efforts of more than 130 research projects, covering a period of more than 25 years of research, and involving more than 500 independent research groups, is that biotechnology and in particular GMOs, are not more risky than conventional plant breeding.”

Last year, GM crops were grown in 28 countries around the world on over 181 million hectares, by 18 million farmers. Globally, GM crops have boosted yields by 22% and decreased pesticide use by 37%. Today, we don’t have the backbreaking labor load that my grandfather carried. Think about the energy being saved and the forests that won’t have to be cut down. Today, we are far more efficient and produce much higher yields on the same acres.

Think about how wide the Atlantic Ocean is separating U.S. and Europe. Right now, that’s how far apart we are on farm policy.

If you would like to review my radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go on-line to Have a great weekend.

Until next week, I am John Block from Washington, D.C.