Proposition 37 battle: A tale of two farms

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Proposition 37 battle: A tale of two farms

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Albert Straus greets a cow at his family dairy farm in Marshall, Calif. on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012. Albert's parents Bill and Ellen Straus began the farm in the 1940s. Straus Family Creamery was founded in 1994 by Albert and is the first 100% certified organic creamery in the U.S. Straus is in favor of an upcoming state ballot measure which would require labeling of genetically engineered food items. (Jane Tyska/Staff)

Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 9:30am

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Two farmers. Two opposite points of view on genetically engineered food.

The divergent opinions of a West Marin dairy farmer and a Fresno County rancher crystallize the debate over Proposition 37, a highly contentious ballot initiative that would require labeling such food. If it passes, California would become the first state to require a "genetically modified" label on a host of food products -- from breakfast cereals to tofu.

Proposition 37 is unusual because it's pitted businesses against businesses. Big natural-food companies and organic farmers are on one side. A variety of traditional farmers and chemical, seed and processed-food firms are on the other.

Agriculture is a $43.5 billion business in California, the state's largest. For that reason, spending on Proposition 37 has exceeded $50 million. This tale of two farmers portrays their stakes in this election.

Continue reading Mercury News' profile of the Proposition 37 battle for GMO labeling in California.

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