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Ag Sec. Lentsch: Federal Regulation Beats Local Patchwork on GMO Labeling

Friend and blogger Don Carr has pointed out the scientific disconnect Senator John Thune and other tools of the plutocracy exhibit in their embrace of scientific evidence to defend genetically modified crops and their rejection of scientific evidence to fight climate-change legislation.

The statements of South Dakota's Secretary of Agriculture Lucas Lentsch on GMO labeling also display the Republican incoherence on federalism:

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture have passed a resolution supporting a national uniform labeling policy for genetically modified foods. South Dakota Agriculture Secretary Lucas Lentsch says a national standard is needed to overcome all the problems caused by different and diverse state regulations that hamper bio technology.

[Sec. Lentsch]: "The reason why that's so important to get a national footprint on it is to stop the piecemeal approach. You know, in Oregon, there was one county that decided to take on GMO lableing. If you could imagine the patchwork that would happen at a local level across our country, it... would be impossible to try to even manage that. I think that provides clarity and consistency for our consumers" ["NASDA Wants National GMO Labeling," WNAX Radio, 2015.02.09].

Remember, Lentsch directed the SDGOP, which avidly supports states rights and local control on issues like immigration and teacher pay when it suits their agenda. But let states jump ahead on health and environmental concerns that cut into corporate profits, and letting the small laboratories of democracy try different things becomes a piecemeal, patchwork mess that must be ironed out by big government.

Secretary Lentsch underscores a running theme in SDGOP politics: their only principle is power. Their only goal is serving the corporate colonizers who want what they want and will use any available tools and rhetoric to get it.


  1. larry kurtz 2015.02.10

    Don is a good egg and a fantastic tag-team partner. Lentsch is tool.

  2. Bill Fleming 2015.02.10

    Interesting construct, Cory. Here's how I read your power equation. Kind of like the rock, paper, scissors game, only with a strange mobius twist in the paper.

    Power of the person is trumped by the social contract into power of the people which is trumped by representative government. Government power is trumped by corporate power with corporations pretending to be individual people.

    My only critique of your assertion is that I don't think the philosophy is exclusive to the GOP.

    Sadly, a lot of Dem politicos seem to be on that page too. Probably an effect of campaign finance law, which pretty much puts all elected officials in a position of having to someday bite the hands that feed them one way or another.

    Okay, now I've gone and spooked myself. That whole train of thought sounds a lot like Sibby on his good days. LOL

  3. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.02.10

    Careful with those Mobius strips, Bill. You'll be running around in circles all day.

    I do agree it seems harder to find consistent principles anywhere on the political spectrum. I myself have turned over the last 20 years from absolute abstract principles in politics to more pragmatism; I hope I'm at least honest in the application of my principles and pragmatism.

  4. Donald Pay 2015.02.10

    Let's repeat this: "Secretary Lentsch underscores a running theme in SDGOP politics: their only principle is power. Their only goal is serving the corporate colonizers who want what they want and will use any available tools and rhetoric to get it."

    That sums up about the last 40 years of South Dakota history. You think SDGOP stands for states' rights? Uh, no, not if some company wants a solid, hazardous or nuclear waste dump. You think SDGOP stands for local control? Uh, no, not if the locals oppose a corporate hog farm. You think the SDGOP stands up for the state motto? Uh, no, the people have no reason to participate, let alone "rule." The Corporate God has supplanted everything.

    That doesn't mean that many Republicans don't, at times, come into conflict with these values. They most certainly do.

  5. Curt 2015.02.10

    Don Pay nailed it.

  6. Lynn 2015.02.10

    How about we relocated the proposed 6 million chicken farm, any future CAFO's and any nuclear waste disposal around the Colman SD area. Just northwest of the 470th ave and 225th street junction might be a great location.

  7. Lynn 2015.02.10


    Thank you for the link! That suggested address is located near a vocal dinner party SDGOP member that commented to someone over at DWC if you didn't like CAFOs to leave South Dakota. Larry I believe you know who it is. lol

    I am totally against CAFOs and Frontline had a special about the use of antibiotics/hormones at these facilities and there seemed to be a higher frequency of MERS and other nasty stuff within a 30 mile radius of them though they could not get absolute proof since due to laws backed by the supporters of CAFOS they could not gain access to these operations for further testing.

  8. Lynn 2015.02.10

    One of those tanker trucks with a full load of waste from a CAFO passed me near Tyndall, SD with it's top not secure and it was leaking thru the air onto my windshield and hood of my car. That is the strongest foul smell. It was gross! It took me a while to get it off my car. I thought it had stained my paint and windshield but luckily it didn't

  9. Lanny V Stricherz 2015.02.10

    And South Dakota would have a voice in this decision as a national agenda, why? David Chicoine, the president of SDSU, a land-grant, agricultural college, who gets over 160k per year plus housing from the State, also sits on the board of GMO kingpin, Monsanto at over 200k per year, plus stock options.

    Meanwhile, my 73 year old body which never had allergies in the past, for the last 15 years, has my sinuses draining 24/7 365, because Monsanto's GMO Roundup has killed all the allergen fighting bacteria in my gut.

    My and probably your, immune system has been wracked by Monsanto's Roundup.

  10. Lynn 2015.02.10

    Lanny will switching to a primarily organic diet help your allergies or is it from environmental also such as GMO pollen?

    Same thing happened to me last summer.

  11. Lanny V Stricherz 2015.02.10

    Mike, speaking of Iowa CAFOs, the owners of the pig hatchery at Hull, IA, under the governor ship of MMR brought their dog and pony show to Marty SD, or I should say two miles above Marty. When the local Native Americans protested on the BIA highway that intersects with SD 46, the then Governor sent his highway patrol, 31 members strong, to breakup the party and to demand that the South Dakotans allow the Iowans to start their effluent producing pig factory on that ground and to then of course allow the effluent to run downhill the two miles into Marty and onward another mile or so to the MIssouri River. But other than the pigs, who gives a shit. We then elected him to represent us in the US Senate, forgetting that he will represent Israel more than SD or the US.

  12. Lanny V Stricherz 2015.02.10

    The good bacteria have been destroyed Lynn. I am not smart enough to know if they can be regenerated.

  13. mike from iowa 2015.02.10

    Lanny,15 or 20 years agoI watched a pickup truck head east out of Paullina,iowa on US 10 and cross into the opposite lane,down an embankment across the golf course fairway and smash into Mill Creek. I helped the elderly farmer and his young grandson out of the truck and up onto dry ground. Both had struck the windshield with their heads and cracked it. The gentleman had been wiping beans with a leather glove. He would soak it with RU and then wipe the weeds by hand. He passed out while driving and nearly cost him and his grandson their lives.
    I have personally been in an ongoing farm health study for close to 20 years done by the U of iowa and U of North Carolina. They are tracking people's health and chemical use. I am no longer actively engaged in farming and my biggest health problems have been musculoskeletal,but you never know what they will discover.

    And Lynn gets big points for pointing out how gross animal waste in concentrated forms is.

  14. Jenny 2015.02.10

    My 78 year old dad died from Parkinson's disease four years ago and I'm certain it was from farm pesticides he worked with all his life while farming. Back in the 70s and 80s, I'm sure a lot of farmers and ranchers didn't realize how important it was to use safety precautions like goggles and face masks. If I was a farmer I sure as heck would cover every part of my body up when coming in contact with any kind of chemical. I don't know how safe farmers are today, but Parkinson's is known to be higher among rural populations and males that work in farming professions.

  15. Jenny 2015.02.10

    Thanks, Mike.

  16. Lynn 2015.02.10

    Jenny sorry about your father!

    Mike from Iowa that is another very good link and there were a few surprises in the data provided.

  17. mike from iowa 2015.02.10

    You ladies are very welcome.

  18. CLCJM 2015.02.10

    Mike, I want to thank you as well. My folks were both raised on a farm and farmed for 18 years.My mother developed PD in her 40's and died just short of 76. A brother of my dad's went into farming as well and he's in the late stages of PD.I've wondered about possible causes but this is the only thing like this I've seen.
    Also, the link, sorry, I don't remember which one that said the FDA knew there was problem with antibiotics in the 70's but had to keep silent or have their funding cut is just terrifying. How do we know if anything is safe? More to the point, I'd say we can assume that nothing is.I just don't understand how the voters can keep voting for politicians who clearly don't care who or what they hurt!!! I just wonder what planet tey think they or maybe their children or grandchildren will live!

  19. Lanny V Stricherz 2015.02.10

    CLDCJM, I am having a terrible inner struggle with my soul trying to decide if I want to stay in SD, and it is based on the things that you point out. I listened to the Republicans debate last winter and spring to be the candidate to run for the US Senate, and all wanting to destroy the EPA, all defending the Keystone XL Pipeline, all opposed to AHCA, all opposed to Common Core as well as a variety of issues like that and then the guy who got the nomination and eventually being elected US Senator, having trashed our state with so many of his economic development issues, some of which so far thankfully have not gone through.

    I see the State government controlled by that same party, unwilling to expand medicaid, pushing still for the Keystone XL and know that there are no safeguards that were built in by past US legislatures, that are safe with the current group we have in Congress.

    I just don't understand how they can keep getting elected in SD, to say nothing of the United States. Can it really all be about taxes?

  20. mike from iowa 2015.02.10

    I don't think any of us will be safe as long as wingnuts roam the Earth. Here is a quote from a dingbat wingnut Missouri congresscritter "Manly Firmness" Mike Moon-“It is just like going to war,” Moon told the Columbia Tribune. “You want a soldier to fight like a man. If a woman is in the trenches, you want them to fight like a man, too.

    “It was not meant to downplay their womanhood at all,” he added. “We just want them to know, every man and lady who is representing us, that we are demanding, as citizens of Missouri, that Obamacare be repealed and make it clear we don’t want a replacement.”

  21. Gayle 2015.02.10

    Lynn who is the owner of the chicken farm and where is it to be located? Thanks!

  22. Paul Seamans 2015.02.10

    About 20 years ago someone from outside South Dakota decided that they would build a bunch of hog barns south of the town of White River. They built at two locations before the Rosebud Tribe stopped them and sent them packing. These two locations now set idle. On Feb. 25th in Pierre during the 2015 State Tribal Relations Day a listening session on agriculture will be held. Most of the presenters have done a lot of work on promoting CAFO's in South Dakota. Will they be promoting the acceptance of CAFO's on the reservations?

  23. Lynn 2015.02.11


    Sonstegard Foods located 2 1/2 miles from Parker, South Dakota

    That would be a nightmare for a landowner to have one of these huge ag operations be railroaded near your property, being upstream or where there could be issues of runoff. Your property values would take a nosedive and depending on the situation be very hard to sell.

    Water contamination in North Carolina is old news from CAFOs but here are a few articles


    It just goes on and on with searching the Internet.

  24. Gayle 2015.02.11

    Thanks Lynn! Phil Sonstegard = Republican and one of the wealthiest SD.

  25. clcjm 2015.02.11

    Lanny, it's about taxes and power, summed up in SD's semi-official motto: Business friendly. And unofficially, screw the rest of you. I've left the state twice, more because first one husband and then the second talked me into it. The first one wanted to try WA because he had relatives there and worked there summers in high school and thought jobs were good. Well, he'd never been there in the winter with two straight months of rain and no sun and the local economy in 1970 not being so good. So we came back. Second one wanted to try Reno so he could try to get back into music. Thought it might work for me, too, cuz I was trying to get into teaching with a newly acquired degree and Reno was booming(2003-2006). However, the music thing didn't happen. And the only teaching jobs I could get were part time or temporary although I could and did work at three and four of them, simultaneously. After three years of that rat race, I was done. and we came back here.
    Long story short, the grass often looks greener but at this point, I'll stay where I was born and fight to make it a better place. I know it can get very discouraging but I refuse to give up. My feeling is if we give up this state, then they will be emboldened to use the same tactics elsewhere and then there will be no other place to go. WE have to make a stand in every state because our democracy is at stake IN every state. I don't know if I'll see the changes we need but if I/we don't try to make a difference and protect our rights, then there will be nothing left for my daughter, son-in-law and 14 year old grandson! And the thought of that nearly makes me weep. Please, Lanny, stay here and fight for our state. Please don't let the oligarchs and bought and paid for political hacks win. Too much is at stake!

  26. bearcreekbat 2015.02.11

    clcjm, great post, wonderful attitude - thanks!

  27. Lanny V Stricherz 2015.02.11

    clcjm, I was half way through the following letter when I heard my email beep go off, meaning I was notified of your beautiful reponse. My brother forwarded it to me and as I responded to him, I said I might as well stay in SD, because the @#%$#@ are trying to destroy public education everywhere in the US. Here is the letter.

    An Open Letter to Governor Walker
    Published February 9, 2015 Alumni Voices , Education in the news 47 Comments
    Tags: Claudia Felske, Scott Walker

    Dear Governor Walker:

    I was both surprised and bewildered last week when I saw a news clip of you stumping in Iowa about Megan Sampson, whom you called “The [2010] Outstanding Teacher of the Year in my State.” This was baffling to me since in 2010, I was named Wisconsin High School Teacher of the Year (Maureen Look-Ainsworth, Middle School Teacher of the Year; Peggy Wuenstel, Special Services Teacher of the Year; and Michael Brinnen, Elementary Teacher of the Year). In a most humbling ceremony, we were each surprised at our respective schools by State Superintendent Tony Evers and later honored at the State Capital as the Wisconsin Teachers of the Year.
    And so, as one of the bonafide 2010-2011 Wisconsin Teachers of the Year, I feel the need to engage in one of the most valuable skills we teach our students, critical analysis.

    Verified by multiple news sources, it turns out that Megan Sampson did win an award in 2010, but it was the Nancy Hoefs Memorial Award given by a relatively small organization of Wisconsin English teachers (WCTE) for “an outstanding first year teacher of language arts.” She was one of less than a dozen teachers across the state who self-nominated for this award.

    You failed to mention these details as you used Sampson’s lay-off from her first year teaching position as an opportunity to bash Wisconsin schools on the national stage. You blamed the seniority system for Sampson’s lay-off when, in good conscience, you should have done some serious soul searching and placed the blame squarely on your systematic defunding of public education to the tune of $2.6 billion that you cut from school districts, state aid to localities, the UW-System and technical colleges.

    This Wisconsin Teacher of the Year would like to clarify precisely what you’ve done for education.

    2010-2011 was a surreal school year to be named Teacher of the Year as that was the year your passage of Act 10 marked the exodus of thousands of outstanding veteran teachers from the profession they love and marked the beginning of an extreme strain on our ability to continue providing the excellent public education Wisconsin has always been known for.

    And what have you done lately? In just the past month, it seems you have once again actively declared war on education in your own state:

    1. You’ve directed the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction to devise content exams that would certify anyone with a degree to become a certified teacher. The ramifications of this move are nothing short of catastrophic and would grossly diminish what data has repeatedly shown to be the single most important factor in student learning: the quality of the classroom teacher. Allowing someone to teach without any training in HOW to teach, in effective pedagogy, in student behavior, brain research, motivation, and classroom management is akin to allowing someone who says “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on t.v.” to give you a heart transplant.
    2. Continuing your bellicose streak (war is war, right?) you cut to the jugular by proposing a 13% across-the-board budget cut from the Wisconsin University System, our cornerstone of higher education, the source of much of our skilled and educated workforce, the center for research and development for our state. Aside from clearly being anti-education, this move is clearly anti-growth.
    3. Psychological warfare has been your most recent tactic when you attempted to (and later tried to blame it on a clerical error) revise “The Wisconsin Idea” the sacred credo of the UW system articulated over a century ago. You sought to omit mention of public service and improving the human condition (you do realize that as Governor, you are considered a public servant?) You also tried to delete the phrase: “Basic to every purpose of the system is the search for truth.” Truth. Hmm…I guess I shouldn’t be surprised about that one.
    Your tenure as Governor has demonstrated nothing less than a systematic attempt to dismantle public education, the cornerstone of democracy and the ladder of social mobility for any society.

    How our paths have diverged from that August afternoon in 1986. True story: it was freshman orientation just outside Memorial Union. We were two of a couple thousand new Marquette University freshman wistful about what our futures held. Four years later, I graduated from Marquette and later became Wisconsin High School Teacher of the Year. You never graduated, and you became the Governor of the State of Wisconsin bent on dismantling public education. Ironic, isn’t it? Situational irony at its best. I’d laugh if its ramifications weren’t so utterly destructive for the state of Wisconsin.


    Claudia Klein
    2010-2011 Wisconsin High School Teacher of the Year
    Marquette University Class of 1990

  28. mike from iowa 2015.02.11

    Lanny,I read the letter,googled it,cpoied and pasted it to themudflats blog in Alaska. They have the same problems with their wingnut legislators. The only difference is they have a moderate republican turned independent governor now who is intent on making major changes in Alaska's political culture. The lt guv is a Dem and he is in charge of elections there so maybe the elections will run smoothly,on time without the shenanigans wingnuts are famous for. Thanks to you and clcjm both. It's a great day to have some good news in a red state for once.

  29. clcjm 2015.02.11

    Thank you so much BCB. I feel that this blog and the comments are helping to find my voice and my courage. It's hard enough to fight these battles but often we feel like the only voice in the wilderness. thank God for the technology that allows bloge like this to be and the brilliance of Mr. Cory Heidelberger for finding the stories and issues and the thoughtfulness of all the commenters who share their opinions whether we all agree or not. We MUST communicate and debate fi we're ever to resolve problems.
    So I humbly thank everyone for the positive responses I've received. Perhaps, for a badly bullied and abused and very insecure child I have come along way. That's undoubtedly what makes me the strong fighter for justice that I am. Again, thank you, everyone!!

  30. bearcreekbat 2015.02.11

    Lanny I am related to two teachers in Wisconsin. In their opinions Walker is the worst public servant they have ever experienced. They tell me that his anti-education initiatives have seriously undermined the morale and the ability of Wisconsin teachers. They are considering leaving the state. Walker makes our current South Dakota governor almost look like a supporter of education in comparison.

  31. Lanny V Stricherz 2015.02.11

    bearcreekbat, In my humble opinion, these last two governors have done more harm to education, primary secondary and post secondary than any in my lifetime. I voted for Janklow the last two times that he ran and although I don't necessarily agree with everything that he did, I think that overall he was a pretty darn good governor. As far as Rounds and Daugaard, I cannot find one thing that either of them have done that helped our State. Oh a few in our state but certainly not for the overall good of the State.

  32. bearcreekbat 2015.02.11

    Lanny, I cannot find a rational argument to counter your viewpoint about our last two governors. You are right on this point, which is why I had to ad the qualifier "almost" to my comment comparing DD to Walker.

  33. grudznick 2015.02.11

    Perhaps these good teachers, Mr. bat, will move to South Dakota like our good friend Mr. H did. To teach.

  34. mike from iowa 2015.02.11

    bcb-about once a week or once every two weeks I check out Madison Capitol Times Opinions and get the lowdown on Wisconsin politics from dedicated Wisconsin liberals. Great source of information and opinions from various writers.

  35. bearcreekbat 2015.02.11

    grudz, unfortunately they left South Dakota during the Rounds years precisely because of the manner that our state diminishes our teachers. They went to Wisconsin because they thought that state actually valued teachers and education. Then Walker took office and everything went down hill. My guess is that they will likely migrate to Minnesota if Wisconsin continues to follow Walker's lead.

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