On May 25, I made this filmed speech to the Knoxville March on Monsanto, one of 400 such rallies worldwide to raise awareness of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO). I was honored to be asked by area small farmers to speak on my legislation and accomplishments in agriculture. One week later GMO zealot, Greg Johnson, published a column not only attacking to me personally, but so devoid of fact, one really has to question his motives. Here is a glaring example:
Niceley and the other nonscientists want genetically modified foods banned. Just last week, a Sanders-sponsored amendment to require the labeling of genetically modified foods failed in the U.S. Senate by 27 to 71.
First, my degree is in Plant and Soil Science, with a minor in Animal Science. I have owned and operated a farm all my adult life and served as House Agriculture Committee Chairman. I am at least as qualified as Biology graduate, turned insurance salesman and GMO zealot, Greg Johnson, to comment on the subject.
Second, I have never advocated banning of GMO foods. In fact, I have been in discussions with the University of Tennessee, as well as the Tennessee Department of Agriculture to work on a dual track agriculture, involving mass production for the world and viable local farms to increase the nutrition in local communities. My position is if the European Union and countries like Japan can choose not to buy GMO food, my neighbor down the street should have the same choice.
Finally, the Sanders amendment was to “permit” states to require labeling, which is problematic and why I did not pursue that legislation. Obviously, GMO zealot Johnson knows nothing of my background, didn’t listen to my speech or even read the proposed amendment. What I am working on is a way local farmers and gardeners can determine whether the seeds they buy are GMO, hybrids or open pollinated. And I would like to see legislation to allow Tennessee producers to label their foods as Non GMO should they choose. Unlike GMO zealot Greg Johnson I support consumer choice and free market solutions. Greg Johnson is perfectly entitled to his opinion, but he shouldn’t be so blatant in misrepresenting mine. The consumers and farmers in Tennessee deserve much better.