Mark Bittman has an editorial today in the New York Times on the new GMO labeling laws. . . . I was pleased to see that he had a reasonably accurate portrayal of the science on GMOs.
. . . .
[But] he goes a bit off the rails [here]:
“. . .[B]y simplifying the growing of . . . large tracts of crops, especially corn and soybeans, G.M.O.s have become an indispensable crutch for the fertilizer- and pesticide-dependent monoculture . . . .”
The implication seems to be without GMOs we wouldn’t have as much corn and soy. . . .
Yes, there has been an increase in corn acres since the mid 1980s, but biotech corn didn’t start being grown in earnest until about 2005. . . .
. . . . We were planting more corn [prior to 1950] than now. But prior to 1950, there was no biotech. Use of . . . “synthetic” fertilizer didn’t begin in a big way until the late 1930s. And, yet in the 1920s, we planted more corn than we do now. So much for the “chemical warfare”, “fertilizer-dependent” story that explains our “monoculture” production system. . . Bittman might want to rethink some of the key underlying economic reasons why we plant hardy, easily storeable, easily transportable crops like corn.
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