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Tossed Out

Larry Cooper is a leader of Colorado Right To Know, an advocacy group that's pushing for a statewide GMO labeling ballot initiative. The group's finances are currently lagging behind the issue committee opposed to mandated labels, the No On 105 Coalition. (Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media)
Larry Cooper is a leader of Colorado Right To Know, an advocacy group that's pushing for a statewide GMO labeling ballot initiative. The group's finances are currently lagging behind the issue committee opposed to mandated labels, the No On 105 Coalition. (Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media)

In just a two week period, the amount of money flowing into Colorado’s battle over whether or not to label foods that contain genetically modified ingredients, colloquially known as GMOs, has reached staggering amounts. Voters will decide Proposition 105 in November.

From the last week of August to September 10, those opposed to labeling – organized as an issue committee called the No On 105 Coalition – raised $1.4 million, dwarfing the $22,000 raised in the same period by those in favor, Colorado Right To Know GMO.

In sum, the No On 105 Coalition has roughly $1.2 million in cash on hand compared to $14,000 on hand for the labeling proponents with Colorado Right to Know.

Genetically modified wheat has never been approved for farming, so nearly all of the wheat grown in the U.S. is a conventional variety. (File: Eric Durban/Harvest Public Media)
Genetically modified wheat has never been approved for farming, so nearly all of the wheat grown in the U.S. is a conventional variety. (File: Eric Durban/Harvest Public Media)

Monsanto has agreed to settle some of the lawsuits brought by U.S. farmers who allege they lost money when an Oregon field was discovered to have been contaminated with an experimental genetically modified strain of wheat.

Most of the corn and soybeans grown in the United States is genetically modified, but GMO wheat has never been approved for farming.

But in May 2013, the Agriculture Department announced that plant samples from a wheat field in Oregon indicated the presence of wheat that had been genetically modified to be resistant to the popular herbicide glyphosate. That prompted Japan to halt imports of white wheat and South Korean millers to suspend purchases of the grain.

Farmers in Ukraine produced more than 22 million metric tons of wheat in the 2013-14 marketing year, to the U.S.’s nearly 58 million metric tons, according to USDA estimates. (Valdemar Fishmen/Flickr)
Farmers in Ukraine produced more than 22 million metric tons of wheat in the 2013-14 marketing year, to the U.S.’s nearly 58 million metric tons, according to USDA estimates. (Valdemar Fishmen/Flickr)

The ongoing turmoil in Ukraine could impact the world’s wheat supply and with reports that fighting is edging closer to a key Black Sea trading port, farmers and commodity brokers are paying attention.

Pro-Russian rebels appear to be pushing closer to the Ukranian city of Mariupol, a strategic port city. As Ukraine is one of the world’s largest exporters of wheat, any disruption in the harvest or transport of the country’s wheat crop could put a kink in global supply lines and could raise grain prices across the world.

Daniel O’Brien, an agricultural economist at Kansas State University, says that could benefit U.S. farmers. Particularly farmers of Hard Red Winter Wheat, which is often used in bread and grown primarily in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and the Dakotas.

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