Even if production doubled, people would starve!

As a farmer, I like to think we are great at efficiently raising food in a sustainable manner. Today one U.S. farmer feeds 155 people worldwide. We’re raising 2.5 times more food than we did in 1960, yet people are still going hungry.

“Clean your plate. Kids are starving in Africa,” my mom would say when I was a kid. Today kids are still starving in Africa and around the world. There are many U.S. families that are food insecure. One in eight Iowans is food insecure, meaning they lack the resources to live an active and healthy lifestyle. One out of 5 Iowa children does not have enough food to eat.

Truth is, kids would go to bed hungry even if we increased production another 2.5 times. People are not getting the minimum number of calories needed due to politics and governmental intervention. Every ill these days is getting blamed on politics, and it’s tiring. I know. However, governmental policy undoubtedly influences a society’s wellbeing. That’s why throughout history food has been used to control people and as a tool of war. Food is even used for political gain. Right now food is being used as a political pawn relating to climate change.

Food is being blamed for our obesity problem, although we’re free to make our own food choices. Food is even being blamed for being full of chemicals. (Side bar: In a consumer survey conducted by the International Food Information Council Foundation, the number one food safety issue cited by Americans is “chemicals in food.” In 2014, only 23 percent of Americans listed this as the most important food safety issue for them. This percentage increased to 36 percent in 2015, edging out “foodborne illness from bacteria” as the number one food safety concern.”)

How many of the folks who are worried about chemicals in their foods are coffee drinkers? After all, caffeine is a natural pesticide. I’m also curious to know how many of these folks — as well as those who want to label GMOs — regularly drink pop or soda. Did you know a chemical found in many sodas may cause cancer? That’s why it’s contradictory to buy organic produce and then drink Coke or Pepsi products. Besides, buying organic produce doesn’t guarantee it was raised without chemicals including pesticides even though 95 percent of consumers said they buy organic foods because they think their pesticide-free.

It’s a misconception that all chemicals are bad. I recently shared a picture of a banana, listing its chemical make up. There were many big words that I can’t pronounce, yet I don’t fear a banana. Unfortunately, a few activists decided the public should fear banana research. Banana label

Iowa State students in February protested research to develop bananas that could combat Vitamin A Deficiency. Dr. James Dale from Queensland University of Technology developed the new banana by transferring a gene from a wild banana from Fiji to the bananas consumed as daily food in Uganda and other parts of Africa. A student, who apparently has sufficient Vitamin A, dressed in a banana costume to protest bananas being developed to provide nutrition to the developing world.

Activist block the progress of developing better foods. They also can cause a delay in foods, like Golden Rice, that could help millions of kids become healthier and live longer. “We don’t have the luxury to rule out the use of any technology that may hold promise to improve crop performance,” says Stephen P. Long, University of Illinois crop scientist, in a recent article in the Iowa Farmer Today entitled, “Scientists say the world is one crop breeding cycle from starvation.”

The greatest strides can be made by giving all people the freedom to develop their potential of economic freedom. Even regulations made for all the right reasons can have very dire consequences. That’s why I’m so concerned about the direction our country is headed. I’m concerned about governmental overreach. I’m concerned about how legislation and regulation will impact my livelihood. I’m also concerned by the amount of FREE stuff that some U.S. presidential candidates are promising.

As we decide on new leadership for our country, let’s take into consideration what made this country great and what will continue to maintain our leadership status. Be an informed citizen and make your vote count!