Texas Agriculture April 1, 2016 : Page 9

GMO labeling bill stalls in Senate By Jessica Domel News Editor A bill that would have united the nation under a voluntary bio-tech, or genetically modified or-ganism (GMO), food labeling stan-dard has failed to advance in the U.S. Senate. The bill, authored by Senate Agriculture Committee Chair-man Pat Roberts, would have pre-empted Vermont’s GMO labeling law and prevented a patchwork of state GMO labeling standards. “What we’re facing today is not a safety or health issue—despite claims by my colleagues on the Senate floor,” Roberts said in a press release. “It is a market issue. This is really a conversation about a few states dictating to every state the way food moves from farmers to consumers in the value chain.” Roberts explains that a patch-work of labeling standards could increase food costs as manufactur-ers struggle to meet each state’s in-dividual requirements. “In fact, requiring changes in the production or labeling of most of the nation’s food supply for a single state would impact citizens in each of our home states,” Roberts wrote. “A recent study estimates that the cost to consumers could total as much as $82 billion annually—ap-proximately $1,050 per hardwork-ing, American family.” Sixty “yea” votes from U.S. sena-tors were required to bring the bill to the floor for full Senate consider-ation. The vote fell short with only 48. The bill, had it passed, would have also required the U.S. Depart-ment of Agriculture (USDA) to pro-mote the benefits of biotechnology. Senate Agriculture Committee ranking member Debbie Stabenow has been vocal with her disapproval of the bill, saying she could not sup-port anything but a mandatory la-beling measure. Both Texas Farm Bureau and the American Farm Bureau Federation Infographic provided by FoodInsight.org. (AFBF) support the proposed legis-lation. “It is inexcusable that the Senate vote on a voluntary federal GMO labeling bill that preempts a dam-aging patchwork of state measures fell short,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said in a statement. Duvall said although AFBF ap-preciates Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell scheduling the floor vote, the organization will continue to fight for the legislation, along with Chairman Roberts and others, “to secure a law that sup-ports consumers, America’s farmers and ranchers and our nation’s sys-tem of affordable, productive agri-culture.” “To say we are angry with those senators who abandoned farm-ers and ranchers and turned their backs on rural America on this vote is an understatement,” Duvall said. “Their votes opposing this mea-sure ignored science, threw our nation’s food system into disarray and undermined the public’s un-derstanding of the many benefits of biotechnology in feeding a growing and hungry population. We remain hopeful they will have a chance at redemption by correcting this situ-ation that will otherwise lead to increased food costs for consumers and stifle agricultural innovation, which remains a strength of our na-tion. We must not let anyone forget that rural America and our farmers and ranchers do matter.” Got posts? We’ve got the driver. Powerful driving force Drives most types of posts up to 3.5” in diameter Runs off any small air compressor Portable, lightweight, easy to use Designed & manufactured by a rancher A PRIL 1, 2016 Q Q Q Q Q fencepostdriver.com | 800.980.7599 9 Starting at $450

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