Minnesota Farmer


There seems to be a bit of talk going around now about Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMO’s, lately.  The coming vote on California Proposition 37 has something to do with it I’m sure.  The Pop. 37 vote has gotten TV personalities talking about GMO’s also, but usually they are talking about the “shocking” pseudoscience of those “chicken little” fear mongers in our midst who will do anything to get noticed.

Those who have been on my Facebook feed have seen the recent shares I have made from farm related organizations as they highlight what the scientific mainstream has to say about GMO’s.  Basically, the agricultural community is for the use of GM plants.  Now some would say that is because Monsanto is tainting the waters to promote its products, but agriculture is not controlled by Monsanto, or DuPont, or BSAF, or any other multinational company.  The farming community is made up of mostly family farms, 97% of the products produced on the farm are from family groups, not some multi national company, and we are all a bit independent minded enough not to believe what the first snake oil salesman tries to sell us.

I’ve been asked to give my personal opinion by a reader, as you can guess from the words above, I am in favor of the use of GMO’s.  I find no smoking gun, or franken-foods to cause me concern. I have not always been on the GMO bandwagon, but my earlier concerns were over the cost to the consumer and the value of GM products.  As time has gone on, these products have proven themselves to me and to the agricultural world at large.  There is value in producing GM products, they are safe to use, and the world will need them if we are to continue to feed our worlds growing population.

So, this is #1 in a series.  Stay tuned for my experience and a brief history of GMO’s.



1 Comment so far
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Go for it Michael. Getting the family farm perspective on this is really important. You are right about why GMO is hot as a topic right now. California’s proposition on labeling is driving interest on this side of the Atlantic, while France’s rejection of GMO within the European Union (most nations in favour of GMO) is lighting fires on the other side.

The naysayers on GMO talk about super weeds and the need to use more pesticides with GMO crops. I would love to get an understanding from you and other farmers you communicate with about the challenges and benefits of using GMO crops, what it means in terms of yields compared to your experiences with non-GMO equivalents.

When I go grocery shopping I buy a brand of potato that has been genetically enhanced by researchers at the University of Guelph here in Ontario. My hothouse tomatoes are definitely GM foods. I may be more knowledgeable than the average consumer of these foods and wonder if produce were labelled GM would it affect buyer behaviour. I see “organic” in lots of skews at my local grocers. Sometimes I buy it if the price is almost the same as “unlabelled” produce. What are your thoughts as a grower on the whole issue of labeling GMO foods?

Comment by Len Rosen (@lenrosen4)

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