In the blazing summer sun, the rumbling combine furiously cuts across the wheat fields. The crop this year is rich, one of the best we’ve cut in a long time. The wheat we are cutting is called Hard Red Winter Wheat, which is considered a GMO crop. Though “GMO” has been portrayed as a scary word within the last few years, I am here to assure you that the fear mongering on behalf of the Anti-GMO advocates is completely unwarranted. GMO crops are plants that have been altered genetically to better suit conditions in the plants environment and life-span. GMO’s are not dangerous or alarming ,they are beneficial to producers and consumers alike. Just like we work vigorously to cut a bumper crop and harvest it in the best and most efficient way possible, we too try to provide the most nutritious yet effective source of food to the American consumer.
Within the last decade, public awareness and concern for where their food comes from has dramatically risen. One of the bigger issues the consumer has brought forth is the production and consumption of genetically modified organisms or GMO’s. I believe one of the things that has caused public fear in regards to genetic modification is how it can affect our bodies and health. Truth be told, no one has ever died from consuming genetically modified foods (shocker!). Genetic modification is not unhealthy for people or animals alike. The studies that have shown GMO’s having negative side-effects such as tumors in lab rats, have since been disproven (source). There has been a significant amount of testing done on GMO’s and how they impact not only our food source, but our health as well, that have consistently proved there is nothing harmful about them. Trust me, farmers and ranchers eat all of the food that they grow, too! We don’t want to put anything into our bodies that would be harmful to it as much as you don’t. That being said, when you do the research, and look at the scientific evidence backing GMO foods, you’ll realize that not only are they nothing to worry about in regards to our health, but they are also the most efficient, eco-friendly, and reliable means of mass-producing crops to nourish the demands of our growing population.
Not only do conventional methods of crop production provide an equally delicious and nutritious source of food for the American consumer, conventional farming is far more sustainable and environmentally friendly than organic farming practices. Agriculture already accounts for a large amount of deforestation in the world. We use 1/3 of the Earth’s land for agricultural purposes (source). With organic farms producing far less than a conventional farm and organic farming requiring more land to produce on, trying to sustain a food source for a growing nation and world on organic farming is counterproductive. It would lead to an increase in deforestation and cause a greater environmental impact than conventional farming (source). As for the use of herbicides, with genetically modified crops, farmers are able to use LESS herbicides! The use of Roundup has been greatly critiqued by anti-GMO advocates. In actuality, Roundup is far less toxic than the earlier used herbicide, atrazine (source). Not only are we able to use less herbicides and safer herbicides thanks to GMO crops, we also increase our crop yields by doing so! Along with the use of herbicides, there has also been concern about the use of fertilizers and how they leach into the ground water. Conventional farming practices water and fertilize simultaneously through irrigation systems (source). By doing this, the plants are given appropriate amounts of fertilizer according the the demands per growing season. Unlike this conventional farming practice, organic farms use composted fertilizer which is not released according to the demand of the plant. Being that the fertilizer is not released according to plant demand, there is a significant leaching of nitrate into the soil and groundwater (source). I don’t know about you, but last time I checked, contamination of groundwater is not sustainable or environmentally-friendly. At the end of the day, conventional farming is more equip to cater to the environment, creates larger yields, is more sustainable, is far more efficient, and uses less water than organic farming!
As not only a producer, but as a wife as well, I understand the importance of providing a safe, reliable, and nutritious source of food to the public and to my family. Farmers are the most passionate about providing the highest quality produce to the consumer as possible. Conventional farming practices are perfectly safe, healthy, and are far more economic than organic farming practices. The truth is, we can’t feed the demand of a growing nation and world on organic farms. The only way we can produce enough food in the most efficient way possible is through GMO crops. GMO’s are a means of increasing yields and efficiency, they are not an added ingredient to be feared. All genetic modification does is allow farmers to do their jobs better and provide enough nutrition for everyone in the cheapest way possible. As we harvest our wheat in the heat of the July sun, we smile knowing our high-yields will better contribute to the ever-growing demand for food. Without GMO’s, we would never be able to produce a high-quality crop in a dry climate. Do the research, know the facts, and learn about the benefits of genetic modification and why it is so paramount to our farming practices. GMO’s are not frightening, they are how we feed the world.