Sunday, May 11, 2014

Your Taxpayer Dollars Pays for GMOs

This morning, while perusing my Facebook news feed, I stumbled upon a photo that caught my attention. The words written across the image stated: "Fact: Our current agricultural system uses taxpayer money to subsidize the planting of GMOs, while
organic farmers are required to pay fees for certification."  While I was already aware of the deplorable actions of the USDA by requiring organic farmers to pay exorbitant fees in order to claim that they are organic, I did not realize that the taxpayers were all helping biotech companies to further in the ruination of our planet. So, it seemed to me that I needed to put my investigative cap on in order to learn more about this claim. 

Image originally posted on the Alternative Health Works Facebook page. 

Now, over the years, I have been told by various people peddling their foods at local farmers markets that they cannot afford to be certified, even though they are indeed organic. These concerned farmers shared with me that in order to qualify under USDA regulations as organic it would cost somewhere between $10,000 and $50,000 dollars. Yes, I have repeatedly heard this through word of mouth, but today I wanted to see what our government actually had to say about it.  

Ergo, I visited the USDA page to try to discover exactly how much one has to pay to qualify for organic status. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, only a vague response is posted on the site. Accordingly, it declares, "Actual certification costs or fees vary widely depending on the certifying agent and the size, complexity of your operation. Certification costs may range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars...Typically, there is an application fee, annual renewal fee, assessment on annual production or sales and inspection fees."  This confirms to me that not only are the lobbyists for biotech companies so powerful that they can strike deals with our government, making it incredibly difficult for the small farmer to claim organic status, but according to the USDA site, the certification fees vary depending on the particular agent.  At least the way it is written it would appear that every agent has free range to charge whatever he or she feels like, without having a standard set of guidelines. Furthermore, there are 'typically' at least four sets of fees organic farmers must endure paying in order to become certified. That in itself is bad enough and leads this particular food lover to wonder how many of our so-called trusted government officials are actually in the back pockets of biotech.

Moreover, Carey Gillam of the Huffington Post reported in May of last year that, "U.S. taxpayers are footing the bill for overseas lobbying that promotes controversial biotech crops developed by U.S.-based Monsanto Co and other seed makers."  The USDA refused to comment on this particular investigation, but Monsanto spokesman, Tom Helscher apparently said the following: "Monsanto believes it is critical to maintain an open dialogue with government authorities and trade groups in other countries. We remain committed to sharing information so that individuals can better understand our business and our commitments to support farmers throughout the world as they work to meet the agricultural demands of our world's growing population." 

I have already discussed this fallacy in my article Feed the World...Organically, and won't go into too many details here, aside from the fact that these words are simply a product of public relation teams that have been recycling this idea into our heads since the fifties.  If I were British I would just have one word to say and that word would be, 'Poppycock!' (okay, I am not British and I just wrote it anyway). 

Alas, feeding the world's population is what biotech companies claim, but this is frankly another lie to get us all to come on board to their way of thinking so that they can continue earning unprecedented amounts of money at the expense of our individual health and the health of every living Being on the planet.

To add fuel to the fire, the State Department is not the only governmental agency using tax dollars to supplement an income for biotech. Jason Linkins, also from the Huffington Post, cites that the Farm Bill Aid Package, that comes from taxpayer money and which was intended for the small farmer, actually goes to fill billionaire farmers' pockets.  In his article he names eleven people with a net worth value of somewhere between $2 billion and close to $34 billion dollars each, who all receive subsidization from the government.  I ponder why these people receive aid when they clearly have the means to feed the world many times over without any assistance. One can only speculate why these people, who have more wealth than they can possibly spend in this lifetime, would be receiving these large sums of extra income from us. The only explanation is that we live in a society where those who earn the top one percent of the world's wealth help others who are in that same category to keep as much money as they can for their small circle. In other words, the rich are getting richer as they legally steal from monies meant for those who are genuinely in need of it.

Furthermore, Mike Barrett posted on the Natural Society website in 2012 that healthy crops are not subsidized by the government. On the other hand, GMO crops are subsidized. So more and more farmers are feeling pushed to turn to growing the genetically modified corn and soy that the government pressures them to grow simply so they can make ends meet.  This is nothing but a lose-lose situation.  We are losing having healthy foods to consume all while the Earth and its inhabitants, from the vegetation to the animal life and from the soil to the water are all being destroyed due to modern farming practices.

The message being presented here is that farmers who are ethical and create wholesome foods are penalized by having to spend cost prohibitive amounts of money just so they can tell the world that what they are selling is indeed real food, while the GMO companies who are poisoning us and the planet at large receive money from every angle that they can.  Needless to say, the socio-economic structure of our culture is a racket and we have kept the blindfolds on for long enough. It is time we rise up and take action. We must write to our congressmen and women telling them of our outrage and the fact that we are now demanding change. What's more, we can fight back by eating organically and locally.

That being said, while it is certainly difficult to understand why these people are allowed to use pervasive techniques in killing our land and our water simply for the sake of earning an extra buck, it is important to note that each individual does make a difference. We all have the opportunity to choose how we live. Are we going to buy GMO or are we going to purchase only healthful organic foods? Will we use pesticides in our garden or will we invite the pollinators in so that our vegetation will naturally propagate? We have to remember that when our food and water is gone there will be nothing left. The important lesson we are all meant to learn is that when we live in harmony with Mother Earth, she will live in harmony with us in return.

Thank you for reading about my Organic Bliss!