Why grow GMOs? A farmer explains 4 environmental benefits of crop biotechnology

Credit: Matteo Farinella
Credit: Matteo Farinella

Unfortunately, biotechnology has taken quite a beating in public perception. We’ve seen activists’ smear campaigns disseminating misinformation. The most ridiculous claim is that farmers don’t want to plant these crops; they’re forced to grow them. But we’ve adopted this technology voluntarily. And one reason is the environmental benefits for our farm.

Here are a few of them:

We Use Zero Insecticides

Thanks to genetically modified crops, we no longer apply any insecticide to our corn crop. That’s right: it’s been over 20 years since we sprayed insecticides. Before GMOs, insecticide was a very important crop-protection tool. Now the Bt trait protects the corn from insects that can (almost literally) chew through an entire field. And the Bt protein only kills certain pests. It doesn’t bother other beneficial insects. So not only have we stopped using insecticides, we are able to protect the good bugs, too.

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We Have Less Carbon Emissions

Tractors have to burn fuel to get across the fields. That means every time we have to apply herbicides or insecticides, we have to run the tractor up and down the field burning fossil fuels. And that contributes to climate change. With the adoption of genetically engineered crops, we are able to make fewer passes across the field. The result is a smaller carbon footprint.

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