Two farmers’ experiences with GMO and organic crops

This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

The vegetables that grow at Early Morning Farm in Genoa look the same as the vegetables that grow 85 miles away in fields at Long Acre Agriculture.

But how they are grown and the kinds of seeds the farmers use are worlds apart. Early Morning Farm uses only organic seeds and grows certified organic crops. Long Acre Agriculture grows mostly genetically modified crops–called GMOs — using seeds that have been tweaked in test tubes to keep away pests and withstand spraying with chemicals.

Long Acre Agriculture has been growing corn and soybeans on its family farm outside of Utica for three generations. The farm grows 500 acres of corn and soybeans from genetically modified seeds. The farm, in Sauquoit, started using genetically modified seeds shortly after they were approved in 1996 and hasn’t looked back, said Vincent Johns, who now oversees the growing operation. Johns said most people who are concerned about GMO don’t really understand how they are used and how little risk they pose.

Anton Burkett, who grows only organic crops on 100 acres at Early Morning Farm in Genoa, said he’s added acres every year to respond to increased demand for his vegetables. Burkett uses Bt in the soil to kill the caterpillars that eat his broccoli crops. But Monsanto sells genetically modified corn seeds that make the corn grow with the Bt already in it, keeping bugs at bay while reducing the farmers’ work. Burkett and other organic farmers worry that the prevalence of Bt will make it ineffective in the future.

Read the full, original article: When to grow GMOs: How two farms made vastly different choices

 

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