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A Small Rancher’s View on California’s Prop 37

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Editor’s Note: The following is the opinion of the author, and not necessarily that of Menuism. However, with tomorrow being Election Day nationwide, one thing we all certainly encourage is for you to get out and vote if you have not already done so. Let your voice be heard! – KK

Photo by Nuclear Winter

As an Idaho observer with a passion for healthy food, I have a great interest in California’s current battle over Proposition 37, an initiative for labeling food products that contain Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO).

The particular wording of the proposition leaves some things to be desired, but the general idea is a starting place to bring transparency to the food industry.

One of the main arguments against Prop 37 is that it will initiate a spate of lawsuits because the language of the Proposition is so poor. My impression is that in California, lawsuits are as common as vanilla ice cream anyway, so this is not really a reason to vote for or against. If it passes, there will surely be lawsuits. If it fails, there will surely be lawsuits.

Another problem, in my view, is exempting all of “organic.” The organic certification system has its own set of loopholes, corruption, and fraud.

I also question the reason for exempting the livestock industry, which consumes vast amounts of GMO corn, soy, and other feedstuffs. And why should the alcoholic beverage companies get a pass?

Consumers (we are all consumers) should have a right to know what’s in the food. How they choose to use that information is up to them.

Can a government regulation like Prop 37 bring valuable information to the consumer? Can it be enforced? What is the cost? What are the trade offs? What are the unintended consequences that are possible?

All I know is that if you follow the money trail, the opposition to Prop 37 (almost all the big food, drug, and chemical companies) is outspending the proponents (small specialty companies and individuals) by at least 5 to 1. What do they have to hide?

In the meantime, your support of your own local farmer is probably your best protection. You have your own doctor, dentist, and in California, probably your own lawyer. Since you eat every day, why not have your own farmer? A professional that you trust to tell you what’s in the food and the history of his/her farm. Learn to produce and process your own food.

Yes on 37 will send a message to the government and the industrial/chemical food giants, but meanwhile, you should also take more personal responsibility for what you eat and who you trust.


John Brady is one of a now-rare breed of farmer-ranchers who comes from an unbroken chain of family farmers going back multiple generations. He is the third generation currently farming the same land in Idaho. After earning a degree in Agronomy and a Master’s degree in Agricultural Economics, borrowing money, and participating in USDA farm commodity programs during the 1970s, he has finally overcome most of that to be a maverick in doing things the “new old-fashioned” way, working with nature to raise beef the way it was intended: on grass, legumes and forage. Watch John move cows at, read the Brady’s Beef blog and keep up to date on all things Brady’s Beef on Twitter.