Tag Archives: gmo safe

GMOs and Chemical Usage vs Organic Crops

Our nephew, Jeremiah, is a well rounded “farm boy” who is passionate about agriculture and preserving the land. He cares deeply for his family and we are so proud of his accomplishments during his high school career which will quickly be coming to an end in May. Too quickly. Where did the time go?  Recently, he asked a few of us to review an essay he had written for one of his classes. As soon as I finished reading it, I just knew it needed to be published on our blog.  He clearly and efficiently tackles a very tough topic in today’s food industry – GMO vs Organic.  I hope you find this information to be useful as you plan your grocery list and strive to feed your family the best food you can afford.  Please note, we support all family farmers whether they raise their food organically or conventionally.  We simply want to cancel out the “fake news” being spread about conventional farming methods. 

Jeremiah Gebhardt, guest contributor

GMOs and Chemicals Versus Organic

            This past Thanksgiving my family began a debate that seemed as if it would never end. The subject has always had an extreme importance to us. That debate just happened to center around if GMOs and the chemicals used during the plant’s life are truly bad for humans to consume.

GMOs are genetically modified organisms. They have been around for nearly thirty years and have impacted agriculture in many ways. Farmers have actually modified plants and crop production since 4000 BC, at least that’s the earliest recording of it from the Egyptians. In 1919 the word “biotechnology” was coined by Hungarian engineer Karl Ereky but it wasn’t until the 1973 were we able to successfully splice a gene from one organism and move it to another. In 1982 the first modern biotech plant was produced.  Technology simply allowed for the original process to become more precise and more efficient. As a farmer,  I believe that GMOs and chemicals are helpful and positively affect our lives and world today. They are able to help farmers produce higher yields in their crops which have helped with world hunger, lower ethanol and biodiesel prices, and help livestock farmers better feed their animals. On the other hand, others believe that genetically modified organisms and chemicals are unhealthy, add unnecessary toxins, and are harmful for our environment. The great debate is whether the positive influences of genetically modified organisms outweigh the potential health concerns and are the potential health concerns based on fact or fear.

The grand debate of farmers using GMOs has been going on for as long as they have been around. The opposing side’s claim of GMOs being unhealthy truly intrigues me. In his article “Ten Reasons to Avoid GMOs” Jeffrey Smith claims GMOs are unhealthy because of organ damage, gastrointestinal and immune system disorders, accelerated aging, and infertility.  He also states that GMOs are unhealthy because the science community has seen a higher increase of chronic illnesses, food allergies, and disorders such as autism, reproductive disorders, and digestive problems. After making these accusations, Jeffrey Smith admits there is no research to prove that GMOs are the leading cause of this increase of disorders.  His only link to the rise in health concerns is the timing of an increase in GMO usage.  He does not have evidence to support his hypothesis.  If he cannot prove what he is claiming then what validity is there to his statement? It could simply be that technology advanced rapidly at this time causing GMOs to be made possible while at the same time the medical field gained the ability to better test and diagnose chronic pain and disease. Genetically engineered food undergoes substantial research and testing before reaching the consumer. In 2012, the American Association for the Advancement of Science released an official statement regarding genetically modified foods, stating “the science is quite clear: crop improvement by the modern molecular techniques is safe.”  In fact, some genetically modified food is even more nutritious than their non-GMO counterparts, according to Dr. Peggy Lamaux, a Cooperative Extensive Specialist at the University of California-Berkeley. She further explained, “An example is low linoleic acid canola oil that can reduce trans-fat content.”

Many people who are anti-GMO believe that genetically modified organisms add unnecessary toxins to maternal and fetal blood. There is a counter article to this concern titled “10 Studies Proving GMOs are Harmful? Not if Science Matters” by Layla Katiraee stating that they do not. Layla Katiraee points out that anti-GMO researchers reasons are incorrect, because their measurements were based on an experiment trying to find Bt’s Cry1Ab in plants not in humans. In order for the study to be correct, pregnant women would need to eat several kilos of corn in order for the Bt measurements to be found in the woman’s blood. There is also the thought that it would not be toxic to humans either way. For example, it is how chocolate is toxic to dogs but humans do not need to worry about the fear of chocolate being toxic. Even though they have found a small amount of toxicity in GMO plants, there is no evidence of the genetically modified organisms being more toxic to humans than organic food.

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The environment also benefits by using GMOs. In 2014, a company named PG Economics finished a study that concluded with finding positive environmental and sustainability impacts from GM crops. In the study, they used previous and new data, and compared the difference genetically modified organisms have made on the environment and how GMOs were able to grow more crops on less farmland. During this study, they found that genetically modified crops were able to significantly reduce the amount of greenhouse emissions from agriculture practices by using less fuel and additional soil storage with the reduction of tillage practices.  In 2012, carbon dioxide emission savings were equal to removing 11.88 million cars off of the road. Also with this study, they were able to prove that GMOs are able to grow more crops with less land. They found this very important because the amount of farmable land is declining significantly. They predict that in a 90 year time span we will have a third of the amount of acreage farmland per individual. This study proves a couple of the many positive effects of genetically modifies organisms that organic foods do not have.

Another area of concern for there being toxicity is in the chemicals that are applied to the crops such as Roundup. Many people who are anti-GMO and anti-chemical believe that crop farmers drown their crops, which would create extra toxicity in the crop. In an article covering this myth by corn and soybean farmer, Dave Walton, he puts how much chemicals farmers add to their fields into perspective. He states that corn farmers, on average, add half a gallon of herbicide spread out over one acre yearly which is roughly a football field. That would also equal to being one-third of a drop of chemicals per square foot. For soybean fields the amount of chemicals spread is even less. Farmers put on yearly an average of a pint and a half plus a couple tablespoons of herbicide per acre. This would equal one twelfth of a drop per square foot. The amount of chemicals added to a field is not near enough to add any concern of any toxins being added to the crops and especially the food that is presented at your table. Since chemicals added to GMO crops do not add near enough toxins to be more dangerous and more unhealthy than organic foods, genetically modified organisms do not lose the battle of having unnecessary toxins added.

The family discussion at Thanksgiving showed how the great debate over GMOs is often more based on emotion rather than on facts.  A simple fix for human illness is ideal, and when a fix cannot be found a quick cause to blame is often sought.  When emotion is removed and facts are focused upon, GMOs seem to be more positive than negative for our local community.  GMOs give today’s farmer the potential to produce more grain on less land, with no scientifically proven health concerns, and the bonus of helping the environment at the same time.  The facts show GMOs and chemicals are positive for farmers, consumers, and the environment.

By Jeremiah Gebhardt

 

References:

Smith, Jeffrey. “10 Reasons to Avoid GMOs – Institute for Responsible Technology.” Institute for Responsible Technology, 14 Mar. 2016, web.

Katiraee, Layla. “10 Studies Proving GMOs Are Harmful? Not If Science Matters | Genetic Literacy Project.” Genetic Literacy Project, 1 July 2016, web.

PG Economics. “Beyond the Rows.” New Study Shows Positive Impacts from GM Crops | Beyond the Rows, Monsanto Co, 15 May 2014, web.

Walton, Dave. “GMO Myth: Farmers.” Genetic Literacy Project, Genetic Literacy Project, 24 Mar. 2015, web.

Licklifer, Lauren. “GMO Foods – CommonGround.” CommonGround, findourcommonground.com/food-facts/gmo-foods/.

Have you been organically misled?

When I asked a grocery store employee in Columbia, MO where the stick carrots were he directed me to the organic section without a second thought. I smiled and let him know that I prefer my veggies to be non-organic and asked where that aisle might be. With a look of confusion he pointed and sure enough there was a small area on the other side of the produce displaying the carrots I was in search of.  The employee was simply used to person my age, specifically a mom, purchasing organic in that city.  But is it really healthier? Am I doing my family a disservice by feeding them conventionally raised foods?

It is interesting to me when I hear about people eating organic or GMO free because it is the best for their family and because they want their families to be healthy. I want your family to be healthy too. I want you to live a long and beautiful life. Guess what…I also want MY family to be healthy and MY family to live long, beautiful lives. As farmers who raise GMO crops and crops with pesticide, we are not doing so with a blind eye or hard hearts. We actually have not only OUR families BEST interests at heart, but also YOURS!  If we didn’t believe our crops were nutritious and healthy and SAFE we wouldn’t serve them to our children.  The same beef, corn, wheat and soybeans we are selling to you are the same ones we eat as well as a family.

This quote written by  with The Genetic Literacy Project jumped out at me today,

I could certainly afford to pay up to 50% more for organic food for my children to eat, but I refuse to. I decline to pay the premium for organic food because I cannot justify it when comparable conventional foods (including those with GMOs) are just as healthy and nutritious, and arguably more environmentally friendly.

What’s The Genetic Literacy Project? Is Monsanto behind it?  No, Monsanto nor any other “big wig” seed company or agricultural entity is funding it.  This project is an independent biotechnology research group affiliated with STATS and Sense About Science. Click HERE to read her full article.

Here’s another portion of an interesting article I came across this week…

One thing they {consumers like you} will not read on any label is a new finding from Academics Review, a group of scientists dedicated to testing popular claims against peer-reviewed science.

The scientists’ conclusion based on U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported recall information: Organic foods are four to eight times more likely to be recalled than conventional foods for safety issues like bacterial contamination. Nor will consumers see anywhere a reference to the body of peer-reviewed research finding that organic foods are no more nutritious than foods produced by conventional agriculture.

Why are consumers so misinformed? This is not an unimportant problem. It’s dangerous. The very people most likely to seek out organic food for its purported safety — the elderly, pregnant women, parents of young children and people with compromised immune systems — are most at risk from organic’s higher risk of contaminants, including deadly e-coli.

– JOHN R. BLOCK was U.S. secretary of agriculture from 1981 to 1986. The lifelong farmer now is senior policy adviser to the law firm of Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Matz PC in Washington, D.C.

Food for thought! This much thinking makes me hungry…

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Combine Burgers 

These are PERFECT for taking to the field for the men while they work!

Ingredients:

1 can Crescent Rolls

1 lb of hamburger

3/4 C shredded cheese

2 T Worcestershire Sauce

Onion

Lowery’s Season Salt

 

1. Preheat oven to 350

2. Brown hamburger using onion, sauce and season salt (and anything else that sounds tasty to you!)

3. Pinch together crescent rolls on baking sheet to make 4 rectangles from the 8 triangles.

4. Spread cooked hamburger on dough (about 3-4 T per rectangle)

5. Sprinkle with cheese.

6. Roll up dough to form a burrito-ish crescent burger.

7. Bake for 15 minutes.

8. Wrap in foil and take to field with ketchup and mustard for dipping!