Though genetically modified wheat is not yet commercially available, the Washington Association of Wheat Growers on Feb. 11 came out against an initiative that would mandate labeling of food made with GMO ingredients.
Eric Maier, a Ritzville, Wash., wheat farmer and past president of WAWG, said the impact of Initiative 522 on wheat farmers would be negligible at this point, since a genetically modified wheat variety is still likely seven to 10 years away from commercial cultivation.
The association opposes the initiative in its entirety.
"It's just bad policy," Maier said.
According to the association, foods produced through genetic modification are indistinguishable from foods produced through traditional means, and requiring mandatory labeling misleads consumers by falsely implying differences where none exist.
In an association release, Maier said the initiative is full of contradictions. For example, a food made of genetically modified ingredients would require labeling when sold in grocery stores, but not in restaurants.
WAWG also accuses I-522 supporters of trying to mislead the public by claiming the initiative will avoid export market disruption. The association says the initiative has nothing to do with export markets, but is part of an effort to create an "unnecessary and expensive regulatory system that will ultimately hit Washington consumers in the pocketbook."
Thursday, December 01, 2011 11:00 AM
Washington Association of Wheat Growers | Posted: Friday, April 20, 2012 9:00 am
RITZVILLE - I am writing you today about a challenge ahead of farming communities throughout Eastern Washington. The challenge is real and it affects more than those involved in advocacy groups and organizations. Our challenge is apathy and ignorance.
Not just apathy within our own communities and governments, but apathy outside our circles. As farmers, we have been silent about the obstacles we've overcome and the importance of our work. I used to think it was "someone else's job" to tell the story of farm life and agriculture.
My job was to sit on the tractor and to harvest the best crop possible. It was up to some staffer I didn't know to advocate for me. Well, even the greatest staffer is only one voice. I am now seeing first-hand the consequences of a silent farming community.
The mission of the Washington Association of Wheat Growers is to work for solutions to problems of the farm, the farm home and rural community using united, organized action to represent, protect and advance the social, economic and educational interests of wheat farmers of Washington State.
In today's world of instant media and information, this protection requires us to share the stories of our farm families. I encourage all of you to look at advocacy as a vital tool necessary for our farms' survival.