GM Wheat and Smithfield Sale

June 6, 2013

June 6, 2013

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—

Japan and South Korea slammed the door on our wheat exports. Not because they were  sent any bad wheat. Not because anyone got sick. Not because there is any risk to anyone. The  reason is that we discovered a field of genetically modified wheat in Oregon.

Japan and South Korea have overreacted because there is nothing inherently wrong with  GE wheat. If there is anything wrong, it would be that we don’t know how that GE field  suddenly appeared in Oregon. Where did that wheat come from? I’m sure that we will  eventually sort this out.

Back to the real issue – we have been eating GE crops for almost 20 years. Beyond that –  read the Washington Post – “Humans have been genetically altering foodstuffs for millennia.  That’s how we got modern wheat.” I would add – that’s how we got watermelons without seeds.  You know that God didn’t make them that way. It’s time the critics of GE crops got over their  suspicion. I am optimistic that the trade interruption with Japan and South Korea will be  resolved soon. It’s going to take longer to educate the suspicious public.

Turn the page – new subject. As I ate my delicious Smithfield pork loin for dinner last  night, I could imagine the doubters wondering if Smithfield pork next year will be as delicious,  or as safe, or as reasonably priced -- because the Chinese are buying Smithfield, by far the  biggest pork producer and processor in the U.S. Smithfield operates 460 company farms and  2,100 contract farms in 12 states. If completed, the Chinese purchase of Smithfield will be the  biggest Chinese acquisition of a U.S. company costing more than $7 billion.

U.S. foreign investment regulators will probably approve the sale. Why not? How much  national security sensitive intelligence can be found in a pork chop? The new Smithfield will  still have to meet all of our food safety regulations. After paying $7 billion, the company under  new ownership has every incentive to protect the brand name by producing a quality product.  Finally, the more cross border ownership, business, and trade between different countries, the  more interdependent we become and the safer the world will be.

Until next week, I am John Block from Washington.