Viewpoint: ‘Organic At All Costs’? How a small clique of anti-GMO groups invented the conventional vs organic myth

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Credit: Rebecca Sananes/VPR
Credit: Rebecca Sananes/VPR

Today’s farmers aren’t uneducated self-serving workers driven solely by greed. They are genuine stewards of the land, who employ a variety of techniques and tools to calculate what approach works best with a specific crop on a specific piece of land. While a Roundup Ready biotech crop works well in some instances, rotational grazing may work well elsewhere, or perhaps it’s time for organic barley over the winter. This is precision agriculture, both in strategy and application.

Yet while the broader spectrum of agriculturalists recognizes this, there is one segment of the industry that sees the world through a much narrower lens — we’ll call them OAACs (pronounced oh-acks), because they are Organic At All Costs. 

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While we connect and collaborate with young farmers and fellow agrarians at FFA conventions and commodity gatherings, they are working to paint our products as “dirty.” While we are getting agricultural degrees and learning at land-grant experimental stations, they are slickly producing snackable and viral media clips and shockumentaries to project their world-view to the masses.

It’s misinformation at its finest, and as someone deeply vested in the ag industry, it’s heartbreaking to see. I can understand how the public has latched onto the idea that agriculture is more divided than it really is.

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Related article:  Viewpoint: ‘Well intentioned’ Sri Lankan plan to embrace organic farming tainted by lack of science, damaging its economy, health, and food security
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