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Getting To The Truth

Written by Dennis Sun

     As a society, we’re all concerned about our world and what is happening. But there is so much out there, it’s hard to keep track of what is right and what’s wrong. Those in agriculture seem to be better informed mainly because I believe they read more.

For the general public, food safety is always the hot topic, as it is with those in agriculture.  Everyone has an opinion, and they think they are correct, but do we really know the whole story?

Such was the case a while back when Oklahoma State University Department of Agriculture Economics had a question in their monthly poll or survey that asked about the institution of government policies concerning food. OSU asked survey respondents if they supported a government policy mandating labels on food containing deoxyribonucleic acid – or what we know as DNA. Yes, that’s right DNA. Over 80 percent supported the government policy mandating labels on foods containing DNA. But 82 percent also supported mandatory labels on GMOs. The results seem like satire, but they are real.

The bad part is that most urban Americans do not understand the difference between DNA, the genetic material essential to life, and GMO, or genetically modified organisms. In GMOs, the genetic material of a living organism has been altered for some purpose, in many cases to improve a plant by adding herbicide or pest resistance. A label’s warning of a food’s DNA content would be as meaningless as a label warning of its water content.

Speaking of water, some years ago, a campaign came out about dihydrogen monoxide (DHMO) – a chemical implicated in some pretty bad stuff. The campaign explained the pros and cons of DHMO, its uses and its impact on humans and animals. People who read the information went nuts, and some even wanted to ban the substance. 

At the end, the campaign revealed that dihydrogen monoxide, DHMO, is just H20 – water. There were 10 typed pages on how DHMO can have negative impacts, but not once was it mentioned that DHMO is simply water. You see – it’s important when taking surveys or reading survey results to really see where the information is from and what it is going to be used for. 

That leads me to two really credible surveys that public lands ranchers will be receiving soon. The National Public Lands Council and Wyoming Public Lands Coalition, through the Sustainable Rangelands Roundtable, have developed surveys with input from public land ranchers across Wyoming and the West. These surveys ask social and economics questions, and the results will hopefully prove the importance of public lands ranchers to small communities and the nation.  

In the West, we have always known how important ranching is, but we have to prove it in a credible way to our nation’s urban centers.  Please fill out the survey as accurately as you can and remember all information is totally confidential. This survey and the information to be received have passed national certification authority. Dr. John Tanaka of the University of Wyoming College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Ecosystem Science and Management Department represents us on the Roundtable.

These surveys are the real deal. From the results of these surveys, the National Public Lands Council, working with a national public relations company, will spread the true message about the good that public lands ranches and ranch families provide to America and their communities.