Last week the USDA caved to lawmakers who obviously don’t care about organic products. With all the news and screaming about the threats to organic farmers, I still wasn’t quite sure how this affected me. What the heck is alfalfa anyway? Does this mean my turkey wrap might not have sprouts on it anymore?
So I dug into some research. As it turns out, alfalfa is our nation’s fourth largest crop. It is used most prevalently by farmers for their livestock to graze on year-round. And, it is a flirty little cross-pollinator. So what’s the fuss all about? Well, this new genetically-modified alfalfa is supposed to be resistant to Roundup – you know, the mega poison that kills any living organism in its path. Now, if it resists Roundup, then farmers can use the poison to kill off weeds they don’t want and still keep their alfalfa cow-food. Sounds alright, huh?
But it’s not. See, genetically-modified anything goes totally against organic farming. And since alfalfa is rampant with the cross-pollination activity, then organic farms within wind-blowing distance of non-organic farms are likely to be contaminated by the GM alfalfa, rendering their certification as an organic farm completely invalid. So the USDA who certifies our organic farmers essentially screwed them last week by not advocating any protection for the organic farms in this decision.
If the supply of organic forages falls, the cost will rise. Organic dairy farmers will either be squeezed and go under or organic milk prices will rise. The impact: higher prices at the checkout counter for moms and dads buying organic milk for their kids. (Or maybe we’ll see more imports of organic milk powder from nations with stricter GM controls to keep the market going.)
So, yeah, I hooked up with Stonyfield’s website and fired off a letter to our President. I figure it’s the least I could do in support of our organic farmers who work hard to make sure my kids are healthy. I just wish there was more I could do…