Jun 2, 2013
Genetically-modified (GM/GMO/GE) food, once seen as the answer to world hunger, is now widely considered a scourge to the health of humans, the environment and farming around the world.
Beneath the campaign of silence by the western media, food and farming activists are fighting harder than ever to expose these dangers and remove GMOs from the food supply.
But for all their efforts, these activists have missed the central point: economics.
US grain production, chiefly GM corn and soybeans, is not only a HUGE business – think not just food, but animal feed, ethanol and industrial uses – it is a strategic weapon of Wall Street. By keeping US grain cheap, and using GM patent protection, the agro-industrial complex – Cargill, Monsanto, DuPont, ADM, Potash, Caterpillar, etc. – has been able to dominate US agriculture AND hold the developing world ransom. Our "cheap" grain is exchanged for crippling economic "conditionalities" that prevent India, Mexico, Egypt and similar countries from achieving economic independence.
Why is grain cheap?
1. Incredible efficiency with hidden costs. No crops are biologically equipped to be grown in 1,000+ acre monocultures. Without untold quantities of fertilizer, pesticides and other chemical agents, our food supply would collapse under the weight of disease and insect damage. These artificial methods have put our soil, groundwater and biological diversity in grave danger.
2. Wall Street and Welfare. The farmer is paid on average 40% of his costs for a bushel of wheat. The other 60% comes from the commodity futures markets (which make the farmer dependent on contracts from the Cargill-controlled grain cartel), direct taxpayer assistance from the Farm Bill, and the farmer's own debt.
3. GMOs. With the incredible economic pressure on farms to get big, grow every square of land and cling to Wall Street for protection, GMOs have been seen as a necessity, replacing careful management with indestructible poison factories that look like corn and soybeans.
Is there a better way?
Despite the well-intentioned efforts of food activists, GMOs are under no threat as long as these economic pressures exist. People are too poor to buy organic food, and the incentives are too powerful to close the political revolving doors and allow the science to be heard.
We need to follow the lead of Franklin D. Roosevelt, and fight for PARITY. This is still a permanent US law that requires NO LEGISLATION to be passed. A simple order from President Obama to Ag. Secretary Tom Vilsack, spurred on by a campaign of political pressure, is all we need.
Under the system of Parity, the Federal government guarantees any US farmer last year's average cost of production to grow this year's grain.
It costs $18.30 to grow a bushel of wheat. We want the Dept. of Ag (with a loan guarantee from the Federal Reserve) to guarantee the purchase of any and all major, storable grains – wheat, corn, soy, rice, oats – at or near that $18.30.
Parity (as proven in the 1940s) has the following effects:
1. Proliferation of family farms.
You are setting a minimum wage for production. Anyone capable of beating the average production cost can now go into the farming business with little debt or risk. We need 1 million new, family farms, and with Parity we'll have them.
2. Smaller, more diverse farms.
With the economic pressures of mega-farming removed, farmers can now work on a manageable scale, combining grain cash crops with hay, meat, milk and vegetables.
3. DEATH TO MONSANTO, THE GRAIN CARTEL, AND THE COMMODITY FUTURES MARKET
Under Parity, there is no opportunity for Monsanto or Cargill to exist in their current form. What farmer, guaranteed enough to grow organic grain, will persist in growing GMO? And what farmer will engage in a commodity futures contract when Uncle Sam has already guaranteed a fair price? The commodity markets closed for lack of business throughout the 1940s, and the same will happen.
If we must deny parity prices to GMO grain, then we'll need a new law and let's make it happen.
4. A small increase in food prices, but a reduction in taxes and vast increase in employment.
The National Organization for Raw Materials (NORM), the group who maintains the parity history and records of the 1940s, estimates under full parity an average increase of ~15% in food prices. Essentially, if you're buying non-organic, you're going to be paying somewhere between that and organic food. Organic food prices would likely not increase.
BUT – we can eliminate much of the current Farm Bill, and better yet – when you pay farmers a fair price, your economy grows. Instead of 60% of your food costs going to predatory financial speculators, they go to family farms. Those family farms need tractors, houses, grain silos, labor, rural infrastructure, etc. etc.
The Parity records of the 1940s show a 7:1 relationship between the national economy and the income of farms. Add another 60% to farm income, and imagine the possibilities.
Knowing what we now do, nobody wants GMOs except the powerful agro-industrial complex. They're too powerful to defeat directly, so attack their vulnerability – give farmers a fair price so they don't have to deal with the devil to stay in business! Support Parity now!
Read more at http://www.againstausterity.org/program/parity-agriculture
United Front Against Austerity (UFAA)