Organic Foods

March 9, 2017

March 9, 2017

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association and CropLife America. They are friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

Before focusing on today’s ag issue, I want to pay tribute to Clayton Yeutter. Clayton passed away Saturday, March 4 – age 86 – having served as U.S. Trade Ambassador and Secretary of Agriculture for Presidents Reagan and Bush. Clayton Yeutter – a good friend and champion for the ag industry and our country. He will be missed.

Today, I want to raise some questions about organic food products. The organic market continues to grow. Organic supporters have been able to convince many consumers that organic is healthier, safer, and more sustainable. But it is not. And now, many organic producers are calling for a “check-off program” to fund research and promotion of their product. We have check-off programs for pork, milk, beef, etc., but the programs promote all pork including Durochogs, Poland China hogs – all breeds. Same is true with dairy – the program promotes all dairy.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has jurisdiction over the National Organic Program as it does over all of the check-off programs. Here is the risk. An organic check-off program could raise millions of dollars and be used to mislead the public into thinking that organic is better, safer, more nutritional than conventionally raised crops. Here is my point. I don’t think the U.S. Department of Agriculture should be a partner and supporter of a program to discourage adoption of modern agriculture technology, including biotechnology. Our ag industry is productive, efficient, and sustainable.

We don’t want to go back to farming like my grandfather, with weedy crops and low yield – 80 bushels per acre corn. If I wanted to be selfish about the whole question, I would encourage more organic farming. Why? Because production would be cut by one-third or one-half. Then, we would have less corn, less soybeans, less pork on the market and mine would be worth more money.

We need to make science-based decisions; we don’t need to be funding more false and misleading claims. That really is “fake news.”

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

Until next week, I am John Block from Washington.