“I've got some good looking ears coming," said Kirk Bair, admiring his genetically modified corn crop, which he has Monsanto to thank.
“To use conventional corn, non-GMO, I'd have to till, apply pre-emergence herbicide. It's more economical and more convenient to use GMO corn on real ground," he said. Although all that's true, this farmer and agronomist's praise stops there. “I only use it because I felt like I had to,” he said. “My seed supplier said, ‘Kirk it's harder and harder to get ahold of conventional seed.’"
In just 17 years, corn crops in America went from 100% conventional to 85% GMO. Soybeans are now 93% GMO and it's growing.
“I can see why farmers want to use it." But, Bair can also see why people don't want to eat it. “When you put a herbicide gene inside a corn seed, soybean, wheat, whatever you're working with, you're eating that. You're ingesting it.”
It's a growing movement away from the technology many farmers credit with feeding the world and back to the basics, what proponents of 522 say will save the world.
“I want to know what I am eating and I don't want to eat GMO foods," said Bair.
It's that mindset that's pushing initiative 522 -- a label requirement listing all GMO's on food. If you haven't heard of 522 don't worry, you will. Californians tried to pass something similar last year, after a $40 million campaign fight it failed. Now, both sides are ramping up for a final showdown and Washington is Ground Zero.
“I think it's great,” said Bair, about the idea Washington will be the battleground. “People need know what they're eating. People want to know what they're eating."
The race has already reached the millions with barely a dime spent. Big agribusiness and the mainstream food industry have a million in backing. Two million has already come in by liberal powerhouses and organic groups.