I’m going out on a limb, I mean really out there. Like, the limbs where squirrels fall off of trees…
In two days, March Against Monsanto will be protesting GMO’s, pesticides, and basically everything that the Monsanto company stands for because for heaven’s sake we are fully incapable of thinking critically, doing our research, and making informed decisions based on sound, proven science and economics. I spent a lot of time in the car yesterday and this sparked some thought on what producers were going through 5-10 years ago. The organic movement was new, real, and the first storm of new consumer opposition conventional farmers would face for the next who the hell knows how long. I have a choice in looking at these new consumer movements as opposition, or just new niche markets. No matter how innocent a niche market a movement may be, there is still opposition. There is opposition against conventional farmers, not so much on the conventional farmer versus organic farmer side, but from the consumer side. Somewhere, somehow, somebody is out to fight you for what and how you are raising your livestock or growing your corn. The only difference now, is that the opposition is more intense, and it’s laced with more anger and hate. I feel that social media has allowed opposition folks to be hurtful without exposing themselves. Their social media accounts where they talk freely are not their true names, pictures, etc. and they feel this allows them to be downright mean, controversial, and sometimes a bully. They don’t have to be held accountable for their actions because their profiles are fake.
I think about the organic movement and how passive organic consumers have been about conventionally raised produce and meat lately. I feel as if we have learned to cohabitate in one house together, respecting each farmer’s choice to raise conventional or organic. I feel that consumers who seek out organic are more content than they were 10 years ago because more of their food choices are available at their fingertips. But wait…. Not everything is peachy. The anti-GMO people are protesting chemical resistant hybrids. A little history, we have genetically modified certain hybrids in corn so that after they are planted and sprouting, we can spray a chemical (mostly glyphosate, but other chemicals too) to kill the weeds that are competing for water and nutrients in the soil against the corn plants. These genetics make it so the plant remains unharmed when spraying these chemicals. So the lines are running really fine here. Are the same people who are protesting GMO’s the same people that are pro-organic? If they are, are they protesting because they’re just against modern agriculture in general? Or are they protesting because they’re looking for something to blame other than themselves for their latest health problems?
Consumers who oppose GMO’s have taken this opposition to the next level, (as with anything) including false accusations, false diagnosis, and false outcomes of consuming GMO’s. I think at this point Norman Borlaug is rolling over in his grave. If you don’t know who he is and your protesting GMO’s you definitely need to start listening, NOW. Norman Borlaug is one of seven people ever to win all of the following: the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Congressional Gold Medal. He was also awarded India’s second highest civilian honor, the Padma Vibhushan. He dedicated close to his entire life fighting world hunger with genetically modified crops ahem, GMO’s. He is quoted as the man who saved a billion lives. While in Mexico, he developed high yielding and disease resistant wheat varieties that helped Mexico become an exporter of wheat. These varieties also helped countries like Pakistan and India double their wheat production. All of this happened between 1942 and 1970. (Wikipedia) Mr. Borlaug definitely paved the way for the amazing biotechnology world we have today. He didn’t have near the equipment or technology to use, but he gave us ideas and inspiration for combating diseases, drought, and insects for our crops. Let me also note that these herbicides have helped us conserve our soil. Farmers used to till in between the rows of beans to cut down the weeds and that lead to more top soil run-off during rains. These days I am not sure I know a farmer that tills his fields where beans are planted.
On both of our family’s farms, we raise crops that are genetically modified and we turn our crops around to feed our animals with it. GMO’s allow us to grow more abundant crops on less land. They also allow us to be more productive and profitable. Lately, I have seen pictures of lame baby pigs surfacing social media sites blaming GMO’s for the lameness and deformities. We have been using GMO’s on our farms for many years and have never experienced an increase in abnormal birth or lameness because of our corn or soybean hybrids. We keep track of every sow’s litter number every single time, so trust us we would know if something was wrong.
Biotechnology is not a new practice, “Farmers have intentionally changed the genetic makeup of all of the crops they have grown since domestic agriculture began. Every fruit, vegetable and grain that is commercially available today has been altered by human hands, including organic and heirloom seeds” –GMO Answers.
Another thing to remember, “Often when people ask about genetically modifying foods, they refer to “GMOs.” A GMO is a plant developed through a process in which a copy of a desired gene or a section of genetic material from one plant or organism is placed in another plant, or by turning off or moving an existing gene. The only GMOs commercially available in the United States are the following nine crops: soybeans, corn (field and sweet), papaya, canola, cotton, alfalfa, sugar beets, potato and summer squash” –GMO Answers.
I feel as if the same group of people that were opposing conventional farming (non-organic) are the same ones opposing GMO’s. Needing to know where your food comes from and how it’s grown is human nature. But not doing your research, not asking the very farmer who grows your food and asking him how it’s grown and why it’s grown that way it is, is irresponsible. Assuming that Monsanto is this toxic, big-government-funding-human-killer is the same as assuming people who are against GMO’s are hippie-hypochondriac’s who are afraid to live their lives for fear of what they are eating, but will gladly take acid from a stranger off the street. People are people, it’s the same all the way around. Once you get to know people and where they come from, the fear of the unknown fades away, and your guard slowly lets up. You get to know that other human being as a friend. If millions of farmers across our nation are raising livestock and crops the way they are (conventionally) its not because we are under the pressure of large corporate companies, we have a conscience too for heaven’s sake. We are good people who care for our animals and crops just as anyone would. We would never endanger our lives, our neighbor’s lives, or your lives to make a quick buck. We all eat the same food.
I beg you to do your research, and not give into fear mongering social media people who want a quick ticket to fame.
Please note: I was NOT paid by Monsanto or an affiliate of Monsanto to write this. All opinions and thoughts are 100% my own.