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Bush and Kerry seek rural votes

(Thursday, Sept. 2, 2004 -- CropChoice news) -- Organic Bytes #39, from Organic Consumers Association, 08/31/04:
In a heated Presidential race, both Bush and Kerry have begun making promises to the nation's farmers and rural communities, hoping to swing a few more votes in their direction. Kerry has proposed doubling the amount of ethanol required in U.S. automobile fuels, which would theoretically increase demand for corn and lower dependence on foreign oil. Unfortunately in terms of energy conservation, this is a rather dubious proposition, given that conventional chemical-intensive corn production requires more energy to produce ethanol than it produces. Kerry says he's also considering putting together an "insurance plan" where farmers can receive government assistance if their organic crops are contaminated by pollen from neighboring genetically engineered crops. In the meantime, Bush is seeking to woo large corporate farms producing strawberries, tomatoes, and other crops by pulling the U.S. out of the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty signed in the late 80s to protect the ozone layer. By rejecting this environmental treaty, U.S. farmers will be able to continue using methyl bromide, an extremely toxic fungicide which poisons farmworkers and depletes the ozone layer. Unfortunately both Kerry and Bush are listening more closely to agribusiness lobbyists and the biotech industry than they are to consumers, environmentalists, and family farm advocates. Neither candidate is talking about policies such as mandatory labels for GE foods, supported by over 80% of U.S. consumers. Nor have Bush or Kerry had much to say about increasing subsidies for organic and sustainable farming practices or promoting energy conservation on family farms--as opposed to maintaining our current $25 billion annual farm subsidy system, which mainly rewards the nation's largest factory style farms and cotton plantations for using up unsustainable amounts of energy, water, and topsoil while polluting the air, food, and water with pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and genetically engineered crops.