29 States Allow Big Ag To Act As Seed Legislator?
By Heather Callaghan, Editor
States like Oregon, California, Texas, Montana and Iowa just simultaneously nuked the ability to have seed laws. Claws of Big Ag found puppeteering legislators.
With little to no fanfare at all, the states passed “seed preemption laws” that essentially shut down public discourse on seeds laws – including the use of genetically engineered crops. There is consternation that the move was “designed to block counties and cities from adopting their own rules on the use of seeds, including bans on GMOs” since in many parts of the country those crucial decisions are only the state’s to make.
Kristina Hubbard, director of advocacy and communications at the Organic Seed Alliance stated:
This bill should be viewed for what it is — a gag order on public debate.
This thinly disguised attack on local democracy can be easily traced to out-of-state, corporate interests that want to quash local autonomy.
Opponents say the sudden measures from states like Texas, Montana and Iowa, reek of Big Agri efforts and are in the same league as “ag-gag” laws that prevent anyone from photographing farms or “right-to-farm” laws that may just “snuff out animal welfare complaints.”
Food and Environment Reporting Network paints a telling picture:
Nearly every seed-preemption law in the country borrows language from a 2013 model bill drafted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The council is “a pay-to-play operation where corporations buy a seat and a vote on ‘task forces’ to advance their legislative wish lists,” essentially “voting as equals” with state legislators on bills, according to The Center for Media and Democracy. ALEC’s corporate members include the Koch brothers as well as some of the largest seed-chemical companies — Monsanto, Bayer, and DuPont — which want to make sure GMO bans, like those enacted in Jackson County, Oregon, and Boulder County, Colorado, don’t become a trend.
In Oregon, the bill was greenlighted in 2014 after Monsanto and Syngenta spent nearly $500,000 fighting a GMO ban in Jackson County. Monsanto, Dow AgroSciences, and Syngenta also spent more than $6.9 million opposing anti-GMO rules in three Hawaiian counties, and thousands more in campaign donations. (These companies are also involved in mergers that, if approved, would create three seed-agrochemical giants.)
In Texas, the bill nixes local laws about seeds but also “cultivating plants grown from seed” and is open to interpretation. Cultivating? Wouldn’t that involve every step of growth?
No surprise – the state’s Farm Bureau Federation, DuPont, and Monsanto hopped on board to lend their support. Texas is our third biggest ag state when it comes to production. These bloated interests are trying to tell people that this is a way to cut the red tape that strangles farmers – never letting on that they are talking about factory farms. The red tape these bills actually produce will be left to tie up local residents, I’m sure.
Proponents say that we simple folk don’t have the “science” it takes to make these agricultural decisions and that local seed laws “complicate” things.
If this makes you mad you need to start telling your representatives. This goes beyond local agriculture and food. It’s about monopoly, and resources and saving our pollinators.
More and more America is starting to resemble Animal Farm. Where corporate cronyism is barely distinguished from communism and man is barely distinguished from pig.
The pigs say, “let us handle those decisions for you, go ahead and rest your labor-ridden mind…”