The national Farmers Union conference wrapping up in Denver today featured a call by House Ag Committee members to make the new farm bill centered on farmers, not international trade concerns. They also elected an Indiana farmer Tom Buis president of the National Farmers Union during the organization’s one-hundred-fourth annual convention.
Iowa Farmers Union President Chris Peterson says some of the topics he found people talking about included new genetically-modified crops that may produce pharmaceutical products. The concern is that their unique genetic material might spread to other field crops.
If there’s ever contamination, he says it’ll shut down the export business to all the markets the food industry sells to. Petersen says it has to be researched carefully before there’s full support for “pharma-crops.” They’ve also talked about so-called “Animal I.D.,” the proposal to track every individual animal from birth to slaughter to allay concerns about Mad Cow and other possible threats to food safety.
Petersen says the big concern is whether the program may harm small independent family-farm producers who may have only a few animals, and whether that’ll mean the cost makes it benefit big producers and increase “concentration” of livestock. Farmer-owned cooperatives and energy production on the farm have also been topics at the four-day conference. Petersen is a farmer from Clear lake.