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When we say grassroots, we really mean it

When we say grassroots, we really mean it

By Gene Hall

Fall is my favorite time of the year, even if I have to deal with allergies and even if my favorite football teams struggle a bit.

“Crispness in the air” greets me in the morning. The robe feels good for coffee on the back porch. Then there are the county Farm Bureau annual meetings.

The good folks in five of these county organizations made me part of their conventions this year. That’s about average for me. I get to go and eat good barbecue, sometimes catfish or other fare. I speak on issues and hopefully humorous stories. There was a dessert contest in one county. I ate too much. There are door prizes. There are discussions about how to use Texas Farm Bureau, “The Voice of Texas Agriculture.”

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Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to food

Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to food

By Mike Barnett

A recent post on Facebook explains a lot about the confusion over food.

It’s called ignorance.

Ignorance is not the same as stupidity. People generally are not stupid. But a whole lot of them have a lack of knowledge or information. That’s called ignorance.

This was displayed on a video segment  posted about GMOs on Jimmy Kimmel’s late night television show. In that segment, Kimmel asked people on the street if they wanted GMOs in their food. Then he asked them if they knew what GMO stood for.

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Proposition 1 will drive funds to fix Texas roads

Proposition 1 will drive funds to fix Texas roads

By Mike Barnett

Texas roads were once the envy of the nation.

Ribbons of highway stretched from Beaumont to El Paso and Brownsville to Amarillo, smooth black asphalt that moved Texas motorists and commerce quickly from here to there. Rural roads were second to none, a web of Farm-to-Market highways that carried crops and livestock to markets to feed a hungry nation.

Something happened. People discovered Texas was a great place to live. They came in droves. 25 million Texans lived here in 2010. Expect 40 million by 2040.

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Livestock study uncovers exactly zero evidence of GMO harm

Livestock study uncovers exactly zero evidence of GMO harm

By Gene Hall

The head of the Genetic Literacy Project, John Entine, writes recently in Forbes magazine that a pair of animal science researchers studied evidence of livestock feeding before and after the introduction of genetically modified grain. What did they find? Nothing—no evidence of any difference in feeding GMO grain to livestock.

Science has, of course, concluded the same long ago, but we have to keep explaining, I guess. I’ll take a turn. University of California-Davis Department of Animal Science geneticist Alison Van Eenennaam and research assistant Amy E. Young reviewed 29 years of livestock productivity and health data from both before and after the introduction of genetically engineered animal feed.

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U.S. House moves to block EPA water rule

U.S. House moves to block EPA water rule

By Gene Hall

All fans of property rights and reasonable environmental regulation can cheer at a recent vote in the U.S. House. This week, by a vote of 262-152, the House voted to gut a proposed EPA rule to change the Clean Water Act (CWA.)

The CWA has always given EPA the authority to regulate the navigable waters of the U.S. Once this ill-advised rule is implemented, navigable means mud puddles, ditches and places that aren’t wet most of the time—like a “low spot” in a farmer’s field. That means every foot of ground and drop of water in the U.S. That means aggressive fines of many thousands of dollars a day. It also means lengthy and costly permit fights with regulators who may not care if your crop is at risk.

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Time to ditch the rule before EPA ditches you

Time to ditch the rule before EPA ditches you

By Mike Barnett

It looks like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is trying to flood agriculture into submission with its revisions of the Clean Water Act.

This map, developed by the U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and updated for EPA, shows locations and flow patterns of waterways in Texas.

At first glance, it looks innocent enough. Where it gets problematic is how it could be used.

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