If you care about the future of our planet, here’s why you should support GMOs

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I live and farm alongside my boyfriend who is a fifth generation farmer. I find myself constantly having to defend modern agriculture. There are a lot of opinions on the Internet, but sometimes it feels like farmers are the last people asked about farming. How does that make sense? You go to your doctor for medical advice, your lawyer for legal advice, your mechanic for car advice… Doesn’t it make sense to go to farmers to find out what’s really going on on our farms?

There’s one topic in agriculture that I think is exceptionally riddled with myths, and that’s genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. We grow corn and soybeans and have been doing so for over 150 years as a family. We see firsthand the benefits of GMOs. Over 90 percent of farmers have been using this technology for decades. Why do you suppose that is?

No, it’s not because we are forced to. No, it’s not a conspiracy. No, we aren’t using more chemicals than ever before. These myths, repeatedly endlessly by critics of GMOs, are just not true.  The reason why 90 percent of American farmers have embraced ag biotechnology is because it has substantially reduced our carbon footprint, while improving yields, farmer safety, and the environment at the same.  It’s brilliant technology, really.

The term “GMO” covers a broad spectrum of benefits, but for our corn and soybean farm it breaks down to a few key ones:

1) Much safer herbicide products to control weeds

2) No-till farming, crop rotation, cover crops keep carbon in the soil and conserves organic matter which further protects the topsoil.

3) Practically eliminates the need for insecticides

Despite the fact that all three of these benefits are very important, in my opinion, and I think other farmers would agree, #3 has had the greatest impact on us from a genetic engineering standpoint. Eliminating insecticide spraying thanks to Bt technology, which enables a plant to express a natural pesticide that targets insects but is harmless to humans, has been a Godsend.

0 (1)In an effort to better understand what farming was like back in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, I took some time to interview my boyfriend’s father and uncle, Rob and Ron Sass.

“I remember having to take training courses on how to handle insecticides back in the 70’s,” Ron told me.  “We had to be careful. If we handled this stuff, we couldn’t come home and hug our wives and children, for fear we would get it on them. If we were filling our sprayers and it was a windy day, we could really be in trouble. It was some pretty nasty stuff back in the 70’s.”

Rob added:, “A lot of guys… Well, you could rub your nose with your hand and not even think about it. But these were ‘skull and crossbone’ products, they were not safe to ingest.”

The insecticides that farmers used before insecticide resistant GMOs came onto the market go by several different names: Lorsban, Furadan, Counter, Thimet, Dyfonate. When it comes to chemical hazards there are many different pictograms and warning labels on products, but skull and crossbones is one you don’t want to mess with. Of course as always, the dose makes the poison, but thanks to GMOs farmers very rarely have to handle these products anymore. This has mitigated farmer’s occupational exposure risk, while not coincidentally helping the crops and environment. Crop quality is also much higher than it used to be. We haven’t had to use insecticides on our cornfields in the 15 years since we started planting GMO varieties, and overall insecticide use in the United States as an industry is down 85 percent.

Not only are insecticides practically obsolete for our GMO crops, another benefit to these modern seeds is that they only target very specific pests such as the cornborer or the rootworm, which can have devastating effects on corn. Before this very specific and very scientifically proven technology came around, insecticides killed all insects, even the beneficial ones.

corn rootworm beetles

corn rootworm beetles

“I remember back in the 70’s you could tell we had been planting corn because it smelled so bad when we filled the planters with the insecticide product,” added Rob. “It killed everything, and you could just smell it when you drove down the road. The dose makes the poison, but I remember feeling sick one day back when we had open cab tractors.”

But in order for farmers to successfully control the damaging effects of crop diseases and insect infestation, they must focus on more than just the insecticide aspects. Before the safer herbicides of today were introduced, the products farmers had access to were far worse than they are now. Atrazine, for example, would have residual effects in the soil so you were not able to rotate corn and soybeans. You had to grow corn the following year after growing because atrazine would kill soybeans if you tried to rotate the crops. (Soy is a broadleaf, while corn is a grass.) Today, farmers are able to rotate corn and soybeans, thus interrupting insect survival.

The “GMOs cause monoculture” is another myth; it is actually just the opposite. GMOs help the soil and crop diversification/rotation. Partner crop rotation with no-till methods and cover crops and you have a recipe for soil success.

If you eliminate insecticides you save the beneficial insects like bees, butterflies, or ladybugs, which eat soybean aphids. Elimination of insecticides also means less passes with farm equipment which saves on fuel and mechanical wear and tear, thus reducing our carbon footprint. According to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (Isaaa.org), the positive impacts of crop biotechnology equate to removing 11.9 million cars of the road for one year.

Picture1

It baffles me when I hear some people complain about our current food production system (with their bellies full, of course!) when we have made so many leaps forward. We need to understand that science and progress are doing wonderful things for agriculture, and I’m confident they will continue to do so. Technology has improved in every aspect of our lives and agriculture is no exception.

If you believe in moving forward with our planet to feed 9 billion people by the year 2050; if you believe farmers should have the ability to grow more food on less land while conserving resources, using less chemical and fuel inputs; if you believe in eliminating insecticides while preserving the topsoil of our land for future generations, there has never been a better time than right now to support biotechnology for the future of agricultural production.

Michelle Miller, Farm Babe (@thefarmbabe), raises sheep and beef cattle while helping on her boyfriend’s 2,000-acre crop farm in Northeast Iowa. She is a passionate agvocate and believes it is important to bridge the gap between farmers and consumers. In addition to running her blog, www.facebook.com/IowaFarmBabe, she does freelance writing and public speaking.

  • Rickinreallife

    Thank you for taking the initiative to share how ge traited crop varieties have benefitted your farming operation. I don’t know where your farm is located, but I am most familiar with farming in western Nebraska, in the semi-arid high plains. One point that you brought up is very important, that glyphosate has actually increased cropping options because of its low residual presence. My family managed a small ranching operation that was mostly pasture but we did farm about 700 acres, mostly wheat with some alfalfa until I was in 6th grade, after which my father ran the local elevator and had a small feed business, but I was employed by area farmers even after we moved off the farm.
    When I was a kid in the 1960’s and 70’s, the area was almost entirely wheat, with some limited corn where there was flat enough land for row irrigation, and occasionally sunflowers and potatoes, but wheat made up 90% or more of crop acres. Farmers would plant winter wheat in one season, and then the land would lie fallow the next. Even in the fallow season, you went over the field with equipment 3-5 times a year to turn the stubble into the ground and to eliminate weeds before a final pass to plant the wheat in the fall. In the area I grew up, everything is about conservation of soil moisture. The reason you grew a crop every other year was to bank soil moisture so you could get a decent yield every other year. But that tillage to eliminate weeds lost some soil moisture and left the ground devoid of ground cover and erosion, wind and water, was a constant risk. Farmers only got income from a particular property every other year.
    Now, roundup ready crops have given farmers more cropping options. Farmers in my hometown now are going with a no-till wheat, corn, fallow rotation. A key factor is the low residual of glyphosate. Farmers can leave the stubble in the field and spray for weeds after wheat harvest. The next spring, corn is then planted directly into the wheat stubble. Because of the no till, soil moisture is preserved sufficiently to grow a dryland corn crop. The new rotation helps disrupt pest and blight cycles that affect a wheat only pattern, and farmers now can get income off their land 2 out of 3 seasons, and the ground is covered and better protected from erosion for all but about 4 months in the 3rd fallow year, rather than for 5-6 months every other year. Leaving the stubble and not losing soil moisture, and not having to worry about residual effects has also given farmers more choices to grow sunflowers or sorghum following wheat. The only issue is the availability of a market for those crops.

  • Sean Gallagher

    Very well written, thank you 🙂

  • Well done. I’ve linked this article to my blog – Paradigms and Demographics. Rich Kozlovich

  • Americium Dream Documents

    GMO’s “substantially reduced our carbon footprint”;
    compared to prior methods of conventional farming?
    or compared also to current organic methods?
    . I’m glad you think Bt technology is safe;
    you try that on your kids not mine;
    because what if the science is corrupt?
    where there’s controversy there’s conspiracy.

    • roadwarrior

      or someone looking to make money from a manufactured controversy.

    • Roy Williams

      Sorry, there is no conspiracy, just some financially-motivated people trying to get people to buy organic products through a well-funded campaign to scare people away from conventionally grown products – and they have you providing free promotional services! At the very least, you should charge Whole Foods and Stonyfield for your service!
      Over 270 scientific societies around the world, with a total membership of maybe 500,000 scientists, have stated that GMOs are safe. 1,700 scientific reports indicate GMOs are safe to eat as well as provide substantial environmental benefits. About a dozen “scientific reports” have stated the opposite, and some of those reports have been found fraudulent or of such poor scientific quality that regulatory agencies have declared them to be not useful.
      You yourself are likely to have grown up eating food made from GMO corn and soybeans. 300 million Americans have been consuming GMO products for 20 years. No one has ever shown harm from GMO products in a court of law, even here in the U.S. Are you saying that you know something that hundreds of thousands of scientists don’t know? Sorry, but I will trust the clear scientific consensus that GMOs are good for people and good for the environment.
      The biggest threat to long-term global food security is public opposition to genetically engineered plants and animals. If you want you and your children to be food secure thirty years from now, support and encourage GMO technology.

      • Americium Dream Documents

        I’m not against GMO; only the Bt trait,
        and being roundup tolerant,
        or where the testing is controversial.
        The biggest threat to long-term global food security
        is overpopulation and not adapting to climate change;
        GMO is just one adaptation, and it is still short;
        what we need is massive desalination and irrigation projects.
        web.pol/healthcare/gmo/what science is EU and Russia looking at?/summary:
        . most of EU and Russia appear to be banning GMO’s;
        is that because they see through corrupt science?
        or that they are swayed by ignorant masses?

        • JP

          What is your issue with the Bt trait?

          • Americium Dream Documents

            some have claimed that the trait is passed on to germs in your gut;
            so the amount of Bt you get is higher than stated;
            and they say in those doses, it does damage human intestines
            the same way it damages insect intestines.
            . of course people who make these claims
            are accused of just trying to make a buck;
            but that is a problem with the science of both sides of this issue.

          • agscienceliterate

            Love to see that citation of “some.” Post, please.
            Bt is not broken down in the human gut the same way it is in an insect gut. If you have any credible evidence to the contrary, by “someone” or other, post it.

          • Americium Dream Documents

            but both sides can make a buck off of bad science;
            by using it to promote either GMO’s or alternatives.
            . when I say some have theories about Bt toxicity,
            it was not from a paper worthy of citation;
            however, I found it quite plausable.
            Jeffrey Smith writes for Dr.Mercola:
            “The Bt-toxin, they claimed, would be completely
            destroyed in the human digestive system
            and not have any impact on all of us trusting corn-eating consumers.
            Oops. A study just proved them wrong.
            Doctors at Sherbrooke University Hospital in Quebec
            found the corn’s Bt-toxin in the blood of
            pregnant women and their babies,
            as well as in non-pregnant women.
            (Specifically, the toxin was identified in 93% of 30 pregnant women,
            80% of umbilical blood in their babies,
            and 67% of 39 non-pregnant women.)
            The study has been accepted for publication in
            the peer reviewed journal Reproductive Toxicology.
            [Maternal and fetal exposure to pesticides associated to
            genetically modified foods in Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada.
            Reprod Toxicol (2011)]

            “In the human study, some of the subjects were found to have
            Roundup Ready gut bacteria!
            This means that sometime in the past,
            from eating one or more meals of GM soybeans,
            the gene that had been discovered in the chemical waste dump
            and forced into the soy,
            had transferred into the DNA of bacteria
            living inside their intestines—and continued to function.
            That means that long after we stop eating GMOs,
            we may still have dangerous GM proteins
            produced continuously inside of us.
            When the results of the study emerged,
            the funding from the pro-GMO UK government mysteriously dried up,
            so they were not able to see if the same type of gene transfer
            happens with Bt genes from, say, corn chips.
            If it does, it means that eating Bt corn
            might turn our intestinal flora into living pesticide factories
            —continually manufacturing Bt-toxin from within our digestive systems.

            ” if Bt genes were colonizing the bacteria
            living in the digestive tract of North Americans,
            we might see an increase in gastrointestinal problems,
            autoimmune diseases, food allergies,
            and childhood learning disorders
            —since 1996 when Bt crops came on the market.
            Physicians have told me that they indeed
            are seeing such an increase.

            . aside from what I said, here is are citations for BT:
            Cytotoxicity on human cells of Cry1Ab and Cry1Ac
            Bt insecticidal toxins alone or with a glyphosate-based herbicide
            Mesnage R., Clair E., Gress S., Then C., Székács A., Séralini G.-E
            Journal of Applied Toxicology 2012
            Hematotoxicity of Bacillus thuringiensis as Spore-crystal Strains Cry1Aa,
            Cry1Ab, Cry1Ac or Cry2Aa in Swiss Albino Mice
            Bélin Poletto Mezzomo, Ana Luisa Miranda-Vilela*, Ingrid de Souza Freire, Lilian Carla Pereira Barbosa, Flávia Arruda Portilho, Zulmira
            Guerrero Marques Lacava and Cesar Koppe Grisolia*
            Department of Genetics and Morphology, Institute of Biological Sciences, University of Brasilia, Brasilia/DF, Brazil
            J Hematol Thromb Dis 2013.
            . here are notes from the responsibletechnology site
            that gives some citations for bt:
            “Mice were fed potatoes with an added bacterial gene,
            which produced an insecticide called Bt-toxin.
            Scientists analyzed the lower part of their small intestines (ileum)
            and found abnormal and damaged cells,
            as well as proliferative cell growth.[8]
            The state of the liver—a main detoxifier for the body—
            is another indicator of toxins.
            Rats fed Monsanto’s Mon 863 corn, engineered to produce Bt-toxin,
            had liver lesions and other indications of toxicity.[12]”
            [8] Nagui H. Fares, Adel K. El-Sayed,
            “Fine Structural Changes in the Ileum of Mice Fed on
            Endotoxin Treated Potatoes and Transgenic Potatoes,”
            Natural Toxins 6, no. 6 (1998): 219-233.
            [12] John M. Burns, “13-Week Dietary Subchronic Comparison Study
            with MON 863 Corn in Rats Preceded by a
            1-Week Baseline Food Consumption
            Determination with PMI Certified Rodent Diet #5002,”
            December 17, 2002 [monsanto]

          • JP

            To be completely honest, the Gish Gallop you’ve posted is speculative commentary on a quack doctor’s site from a flying yogi and ballroom dance instructor based on the flawed assumption that presence = harm as well a citations from such debunked science as Seralini and based on Pustazi.

            I don’t give any of that much credence at all.

          • agscienceliterate

            Nor do I. But then again, I asked for a credible citation, without much expectation of getting one.
            Measurable presence does not indicate harm. Dose level above X standards indicates harm. I don’t even want to try to bother to explain this basic science to ADD. If one doesn’t even care enough to learn high-school level science, I really don’t want to waste my time on such simple baby basics anymore.

          • Roy Williams

            You are citing papers that have been widely discredited. There are about a dozen or more papers that make claims of toxicity due to “GMOs” , and a few more, such as you cite, that claim harm due to glyphosate or Bt. On the other side of the coin, there are about 1700 papers that show GMOs to be safe, and many more that show safety of Bt and Glyphosate. Furthermore, the studies claiming harm contradict established, “textbook” knowledge of biochemistry and molecular biology. Several of those papers have been found to be fraudulent, meaning the authors “manufactured” the “results” they published. Any Ph.D. trained in experimental molecular biology can point out the numerous errors in those papers claiming harm.
            Just one obvious example: the study claiming rats fed GMOs showed tumors or other problems: millions upon millions of lab rats and mice are fed a standard lab chow that contains soybean products – so every lab rat for the last 20 years has been fed GMO feed. Some of the papers claiming harm from GMOs or glyphosate have been reviewed by governmental scientific advisory councils and found to be of poor quality and not useful.
            270 scientific societies around the world, with a membership that probably exceeds 500,000 scientists, have made public statements about the safety of modern agricultural techniques. Many, many scientists trained in molecular biology and biochemistry have read those papers you are citing, and there is an overwhelming agreement that those papers are not scientifically valid.
            *
            Scientific knowledge is not created or “proved” by a single report. You probably remember in high school that you did an “experiment” that “proved” some statement. Sorry, but science does not work that way. No one or two papers is sufficient to convince scientists that something is true or false. The total collection of papers that provide evidence that GMOs are safe does far outweigh the dozen or so that say GMOs are harmful.
            *
            What special knowledge do you have such that you think you know more about GMOs, glyphosate, and Bt than tens of thousands of Ph.D. scientists who have spent their careers studying molecular biology? That seems to be a bit like following the advice of fortune teller rather than that of the Mayo Clinic if you have a serious illness.

          • Americium Dream Documents

            the problem is if I don’t trust BigMoney
            I can’t trust “tens of thousands of Ph.D. scientists”
            if the science could be corrupt,
            then we need to bring science to the people:
            whoever believes in Bt should do it routinely;
            and whoever doubts it should avoid it routinely;
            then let epi’studies speak to us.

          • JP

            Fine, then there’s a whole lot of food you’re going to have to avoid, because Bt is widely used in many different types of farming, not just as a genetically engineered trait.

          • Americium Dream Documents

            I understand the Bt toxin can be used as insecticide;
            this should be permissible even on organic goods;
            but if you put the Bt gene in the corn
            then there is fear that the Bt gene is transferred to your own gut germs;
            and then your own gut germs constantly produce Bt toxin.
            . as was said, that science was defunded, debunked, etc;
            so we can’t be sure; but we can do our own testing:
            I will eat organic and get only Bt toxin,
            while you eat food containing the Bt gene.

          • JP

            If this were truly a thing to be worried about, then we would be worried about our gut bacteria somehow being transferred the ability to, for example, produce cyanide because of eating apples.

          • Americium Dream Documents

            you might have a point but that is a bad example;
            because cyanide is mineral that a gene can’t produce;
            there may be a lot of gene transfer from plants,
            but I haven’t been warned about eating all plants!

          • JP

            So your argument is basically that someone told you to be worried about eating Bt crops, therefore there must be something to that?

          • hyperzombie

            Wow, When you eat Natural Bt you eat the whole bacterium that contains all the genes to make over 5000 Bt toxins. When you eat GMOs you eat the genes that could make 1-5 Bt toxins.

            All this is totally moot anyway, even if you gut bacteria could make tons of Bt toxins it wouldn’t matter because it is not toxic to humans or any other mammal.

          • agscienceliterate

            And Bt is not absorbed in the human gut the way it is in an insect gut. Thus, the activists’ claims that they are “eating Bt” in Bt crops is a moot point.

          • Roy Williams

            The epidemiology “studies” have long since been done.
            *
            Do you *really* believe that all scientists are corrupt? Are you kidding? Do you have any idea how many years of training it takes to become a research scientist, and how much work it takes? A scientist who is found to be producing false reports is quickly out of a job, because they cannot get funding. It is sort of like if in your job you had to reapply every six months, just to keep your job, and if your employer did not like what you did, they could just not pay you any more. There has been clear, proven cases of “corrupt science” trying to say that GMOs are harmful; the person who did it was censured by his university, and now he will have a lot of trouble getting funded, because he is severely restricted from publishing. The same thing happened to the person who published the article claiming vaccines caused autism – he is now marginalized and lost his medical license because there was clear evidence of fraud.
            *
            So, yes there is occasionally fraud in science, but very seldom, and in the case of research on the effects of GMOs and glyphosate the only fraud has been in efforts to claim that GMOs and glyphosate are harmful.
            *
            I do research in a major research and teaching hospital. I have met many scientists who are qualified to address the question of the safety of GMOs, and I have never talked to a scientist who thinks GMOs are harmful. None of those scientists have a stake in the GMO controversy – they are funded primarily by the National Institutes of Health (as am I), and by organizations like the Gates Foundation. There is no “corruption” – just a common knowledge of molecular biology that leads all of us to conclude that genetic engineering is the best way to introduce specific traits into plants, with the fewest chances of the development of unwanted traits, in the shortest amount of time.
            *
            Those of us who work or have worked on genetic engineering projects here are focused on finding cures to inherited diseases and cancer, using genetic engineering techniques. When scientists here advocate for GMOs, it is not for money or the prospect of money. They fully understand the vast benefit to mankind that can be obtained now and in the future using genetic engineering techniques, and we are all terribly frustrated at the public resistance that has been generated by activist organization spreading the claims from fraudulent “scientific” reports. The frustration is multiplied when we see that public resistance being promoted by large companies who stand to profit greatly by people choosing to buy “organic” products, and are using fraudulent, false claims of harm due to GMOs.
            *
            By continuing to broadcast those claims in your posts, you have become an unpaid worker for those organizations and corporations. They get all the money, you do the work, and in the end we will all suffer if those organizations and corporations succeed in using fraudulent claims to get laws passed that outlaw the use of genetic engineering.
            *
            Don’t continue to say “tens of thousands of scientists” are corrupt – they are not. They have spent up to 35 years of their life in school and in training positions just to get to be scientists – and they sure did not / do not do that just to make false reports to support some corporate interest. That idea is as far from the truth as can be imagined. The many men and women who have worked decades to achieve the position of research scientist have done so because they want to advance our knowledge of the world and contribute to the betterment of mankind. No scientist who is saying GMOs are good is doing so to support some corporate interest. Rather, if scientists discover something that may be commercially viable, they hope a company will make a product out of it – this happens with the discovery of new medicines and treatments. We certainly don’t say “this new drug is good” to make money. If it really does look promising, we report on the good and the drawbacks, and do what we can to support further development of the idea. The same is true of the development of plants with new traits. It is easy to think of many very beneficial or just plain “cool” traits that could be (or have been) inserted into food crops. Did you know that in addition to the “big six” biotech companies there are close to 20 smaller companies and almost that many non-profit organizations that have developed genetically engineered varieties of plants and animals? And, just as there are many, many small companies trying to develop the next great medicine or vaccine, there are companies developing great new GMO crops. At the heart of every effort is not some CEO of a big company saying “do this”, but a scientist who comes to realize that it may be possible to put a new trait into a plant, or to make an new drug, and pursues the idea because of their love of discovery and the satisfaction of knowing they have made a recognizable contribution to our collective knowledge about the world, and that they have made a positive contribution to mankind.
            * The “fears” you have mentioned elsewhere on this forum are not held by scientists who are in a position to really understand what is going on at the level to which you are attempting to bring the discussion. Again, what do you think you know that tens of millions of dollars of research effort has not discovered?
            *
            If you are really interested in scientific support for your beliefs, then you need to quit bashing everything that does not support your beliefs and adjust your beliefs to what is scientifically supportable.

          • JP

            That’s one of the best summaries of the scientific mindset I’ve yet read.

            These anti-biotech activists (and really, anti-science folks of all stripes) seem to have R&D backward – they demand that “more testing be done” without realizing the amount of research and testing and other legwork that goes into developing new concepts and techniques even before they are applied into products.

          • Roy Williams

            Thank you!
            But what is paradoxical is that the folks often labeled “anti science” try to use “science” to support their belief. The real problem is that “first impressions are lasting impressions”, followed by the fact that very few people are emotionally strong enough and mentally secure enough to admit they made a mistake (like initially believing the anti-GMO rhetoric). The last huge psychological hurdle is that bad news is four times more powerful than good news (explains why blood and gore and corruption is mostly all you see in national news outlets). And, most people do not share the scientist’s excitement in learning something new, and of being challenged with a difficult problem.
            Our education system teaches everyone that if they do not have an instant, short answer to every question, they are a failure. Our education system teaches everyone that “I don’t know is *not* an acceptable answer, even at the graduate level. I was incredibly lucky that my mother taught me, from “day 1” that the right answer was always “let’s figure it out” or “no one knows that”, or even “well, that was the wrong idea”.
            Right now, our entire education system should be focused on teaching how to find information, and how to discern garbage from reality. But first we have to teach the education system how to do that.
            Cheers.

          • Stuart M.

            Jeffrey Smith is a former “levitation guru” who believed you could fly if you concentrated hard enough. He also lists “dance instructor” on his resume. Scientific background? Zilch. Nada. This is the man you use as a counterbalance to 100s of thousands of real scientists? The 88% of scientists in a PEW poll that said GMOs were safe to eat? The European Commission which has said GMO breeding methods are no more risky than conventional breeding methods? These are the exact same scientists that tell us global warming is man-made. Do you believe them on global warming but not on GMOs? Why? You are being very selective in your prejudices but I guess that’s the definition of prejudice.

          • JP

            But none of those things actually make sense from a biological perspective. That’s the reason they aren’t taken seriously, not because of people trying to make a buck.

          • agscienceliterate

            And in fact the only entities making a buck from the argument that Bt in GE crops can harm you is the organic industry. Which uses Bt itself. There is so much fiction-worthy irony in his arguments.

        • Good4U

          You are correct on the overpopulation issue. The best way to prevent people in poor regions from overpopulating is to raise their standard of living. Transgenic technology holds the potential to do just that. The main reason that poorly developed countries generate so many babies is that the parents correctly believe they need their children around to feed them when they get old, Access to modern agricultural technology can help to break that endless cycle of poverty and ignorance that leads to overpopulation. As evidence, look at the demographic facts in highly developed countries (low birth rates, high educational levels) vs. the impoverished ones (high birth rates, low education). Transgenics and other methods of gene transformation has, and will continue to improve these statistics for the benefit of human health and environmental integrity. It’s time to get on the right side of these issues.

          Russia can’t feed Nigeria. The Russians are barely self sufficient at food production, and are not good examples of good science or effective deployment of sustainable agricultural systems. The EU couldn’t protect itself against Russian aggression without U.S. support. Why would you advocate following the EU or Russia as models for the impoverished areas of southern Asia, Africa, or South America?

          • Americium Dream Documents

            I’m not “following the EU or Russia
            as models for the impoverished areas”;
            Roy Williams said “Are you saying that you know something that
            hundreds of thousands of scientists don’t know?
            Sorry, but I will trust the clear scientific consensus…”
            so I was pointing out that globally,
            there is not a lot of scientific consensus on GMO’s.

          • Jason

            There is a scientific consensus. The EU has not made any claims to banning domestic cultivation over scientific reasons. In fact, all of the major EU scientific agencies agree on safety. The EU bans domestic cultivation over political reasons. That is evident because they still import hundreds of thousands of metric tonnes of GM grains every year.

          • Americium Dream Documents

            assuming what you say is true;
            what are the political reasons for
            banning the raising of GMO crops in the EU?
            is it not a popular sentiment that GMO science is corrupt?
            that BigMoney conspires to suppress anti-GMO science?

          • Jason

            Assuming?? It’s not an assumption. Literally every single EU Acadamy of science and food regulatory body has agreed on safety. So what other reason could there be?

            What are the political reasons?? To appease voter base with a very anti GMO sentiment. What do you think??

            And no… It is not a popular sentiment that GMO science is corrupt…at least anywhere outside of the minds of you conspiracy theorists. And no…it is not a popular sentiment that “big money” conspires to suppress anti-GMO science.

            See what I mean about conspiracy theories? Your whole post is based on one.

          • agscienceliterate

            Jason, I too am pretty much am sick and tired of responding to people with not even a basic grasp of high school level science, whose credentials only include Google University woo. And of people whose posts include words like “corporate greed,” “corrupt,” “Big Money,” “poisoning the earth,” and the like. These posters have no interest whatsoever in science or farming, and just continue to mouth SandersSpeak which means nothing.

          • Jason

            God… you are so right. Anytime I see the phrase “Big Anything” I know we’re in for nothing but conspiracy & doubt. It’s so draining.

          • agscienceliterate

            Yup. I have posted so may websites for these activists who are too lazy to look up credible studies on their own, wouldn’t recognize one if they read one, and are too locked into their preconceived attitudes to read them anyway. I think there are just certain people I will not waste my time responding to in the future. There are plenty of organic foods and non-GMO certified foods they can eat and be happy with. I’m interested in the science of Ag biotech and will stick with that, for curious people who sincerely are interested in the benefits of modern farming methods.

          • Jason

            To the conspiracy minded all that evidence doesn’t matter. To them, it’s just evidence of the scale of the conspiracy.

          • MargaritaO

            It’s true, producers, you listed are benefited, but eaters are not. Tasteless food with strange texture, that is a GMO stuff usualy.

          • agscienceliterate

            Genetically engineering an ingredient in food does not change the taste or texture. I am curious what foods do you eat that you believe are genetically engineered, that you think have a different taste or texture as a result of being GE. Please be specific and list some foods where you believe you have observed this unlikely phenomena.

          • Farmer with a Dell

            Eewww, “tasteless food with strange texture”, gaaak, that sounds like an organic vegan diet. All that funky hummus and slimy tofu. And those bland leafy greens with olive oil slopped all over ’em. Yuck!

          • J. Randall Stewart

            Taste is determined by three things 1) How it is grown 2) Variety 3)How it is harvested.

            GMO does not determine the variety. I can have the exact variety with or without a GMO trait. They will taste identical.

            The GMO sweet corn I raise is delicious.

          • MargaritaO

            We know, how such a consensus can be made. You (even though you are a laureate) just do what the majority does! The example with insuline is not so good, either. It would be much wiser to discover how the body can make less insuline, than produce such a poisonous substance, as insuline is, in the great quantity!

          • Jason

            WTF are you talking about?

          • Farmer with a Dell

            Obviously ‘MargartiaO’ has his/her/its spamming sequence all effed up. That will happen occasionally with the more dedicated spambots when didactically pushing an agenda. Brainless twunts.

          • Stuart M.

            The biggest thing driving the European ban on growing GMO crops is trade protectionism. Many European farmers along with politicians want to keep out American GMO seeds to protect their outdated European agriculture from competition. That’s obvious. The unscientific hysteria against GMO is a very convenient reason to enforce this trade protectionism against America. Russia has been banning Western farm products and biotechnology ever since it invaded Ukraine and the EU and America imposed sanctions on Russia for it. Again, Russia’s action was a purely political decision dressed up as “concern” about GMOs. In the meantime, China has been going full steam ahead with its own GMO program.

      • MargaritaO

        What YOU personally prefer to eat? I know that many farmers do not eat crop, which they sell. They prefer to plant their own food for themselves separately.

        • Roy Williams

          The 20 years I spent working on the farm was pretty much exclusively devoted to growing calves for dairy farms. When it was convenient to do so, I would get fresh milk from the dairy for my own consumption, as I have my own pasteurizer. The only crop I personally ever grew was sorgham-sudan hay.

        • Farmer with a Dell

          Can’t speak for Roy or the others but here on my extended family’s farms we grow a wide assortment of foods. You can bet we enjoy bagging off a few pounds of produce from some of our farm trucks carrying 20 tons each at harvest, bringing that good wholesome food into our kitchens and onto our tables. That’s the real meaning of “fresh”, “local” and “seasonal” you silly self-deluded foodie assclowns are always misconstruing. As for the rest of our meals, well those come from the grocery store just like anyone else. Proud and delighted to be able to step into a supermarket and access the most abundant, safe and affordable foods history has ever known. It doesn’t get any better than that!

        • J. Randall Stewart

          I know that many farmers do not eat crop, which they sell.

          This is not only meaningless, but it is also untrue.

          How many farmers do you know? I know several hundred. I eat my own product, I eat GMO sweet corn, conventionally fed beef, potatoes right from the field or storage, etc. Every farmer I know does, too.

          The only thing I know of that any farmer doesn’t “eat” that they produce is raw milk–and if I had to choose whether to drink milk from my dairy or a dairy I know that sells raw milk, I’d drink my own milk long before I drank theirs. (Do you know what somatic cell count is?)

        • Rickinreallife

          That was an offensive and ignorant insinuation.

  • Good4U

    Excellent article, worthy of a much wider audience. These are the subjects that should be on TV instead of the mindless drivel that parades across our screens every hour of the day. Keep up your excellent work, and don’t let the critics get you down.

  • Stuart M.

    Fantastic article! Every Tom, Dick and Harriet thinks they are an expert when it comes to the “dangers” of GMOs. We so rarely hear from the farmers who actually have firsthand experience with GMO crops. The advantages have never been so clearly explained before. I’m sad to answer your question that no, many people do not go to a real doctor but to a quack one when they are sick, they get their legal advice from their neighbor or television, and they fill their cars with useless fuel additives. Ignorance is too kind a word to describe these people. Militant stupidity comes closer.

  • reginabee

    Congratulations on turning your back on nature and being a part of the downfall of our beautiful planet. These people did not create the seeds or this world and to alter them in this highly invasive and irresponsible way is troubling. Michelle, I hope you understand what is at stake. Monsanto/Bayer/Dow/Syngenta/Dupont are on a mission to eliminate our natural world and replace it with their products. Farmers know more than scientists about the natural world and they have the deepest regard, fear and respect for it due to the difficulties faced especially in these trying times with climate change. We do need to evolve to survive but turning to these people, chemical companies who seek only to profit from what belongs to us and to the earth is wrong. They are just waiting for the demise of the honeybees, we can’t even drink the water any longer, and they will have complete control. Nature is not ours to dominate and control. We are here to work together with regenerative and restorative methods that work with all the intricate ecosystems and biodiversity at hand. I hope you will reconsider joining up with these people, they have no morals and will stop at nothing to make money. Our children’s future is at stake for we are only borrowing the earth from them right now.

    • JP

      I love these people with their naturalistic fallacies writ large.

  • MargaritaO

    OK, GMO is beneficial to workers /farmers. It is beneficial for longer shelf-life, i.e. for sellers, too. But is it beneficial for eaters? The history of hundred thousand deaths because of the GMO cotton seed oil is remembered!!

    • Farmer with a Dell

      “…hundred thousand deaths because of GMO cotton seed oil…”?

      Where, exactly, in your dark corner of the world did any of this happen, comrade? Your beneficent rulers must be keeping it secret from the free world, because we know nothing of it. Perhaps you should stick to trolling your Eurasian echo chamber blogs. Out here in the real world you come across as a deluded puppet, a tool of your handlers. You are an embarrassment to all of us.

      • agscienceliterate

        Maybe she means a hundred thousand cotton bollworms. RIP.