In my environmental communications class, we have discussed issues on a very broad basis. This class is a little different than most of my ag comm classes. You see, this class also has many environmental science and conservation students. As close as that sounds to agriculture, I’ve learned very quickly that many of those students have views that butt heads with my own, they also seem just as passionate about their viewpoints as I am about my own.
One of the topics that seems to be the largest dispute between their views and mine are GMOs (imagine that).
As a farm kid, I know that farmers aren’t the bad guys that others sometimes perceive them as. My dad wouldn’t be planting the seeds he does if he didn’t think they were the most cost-effective and would raise him the healthiest and most bountiful crop possible. I also believe, that companies like Monsanto, aren’t the devil. I believe that they are just doing their job to help farmers be the most profitable and efficient at their jobs, just like a librarian helps a student to best use the library to its full potential.
Many seem to believe that the U.S. should ban the use of GMO crops like many European countries have done. As it turns out, nine European countries currently have bans on the cultivation of GMO crops, many on Monsanto’s maize.
As anyone who goes to the grocery store knows, labeling is becoming a confusing ordeal. Illinois Corn says that there are five food labels that consumers shouldn’t pay extra for: natural, no added hormones, cage free, non-GMO, and pasture raised. Don’t these sound like extra money-making schemes?
While doing a little research to see what large food manufacturing companies have to think about this, I found an interesting story about everyone’s beloved Cheerios.
The Farmer’s Daughter USA tells that Cheerios has hopped on the GMO-free labeling bandwagon. Although they state that they didn’t have to change any of their ingredients (there are no GMO oats for commercial use). If Cheerios were always considered a safe cereal, why would they need to add this label? Are they trying to use the scare-tactics and take advantage of extra sales from consumers who really believe GMOs are bad for them?
General Mills then said
“On safety – our No. 1 priority – we find broad and deep global consensus among food and safety regulatory bodies that approved GM ingredients are safe,”
in their annual 2014 Global Responsibility Report. If General Mills can have such a large change of heart about biotechnology and GMOs, I hope that the rest of the world can too.
NPR talks about a few myths that need cleared up to help show the basics of GMOs. The main one being, that few crops actually are GMOs.
Alfalfa, canola, corn, cotton, papaya, soy, sugar beets, and squash are the true GMO crops.
Being an AGvocate, I want to help farmers and consumers unite, so that goals for safety are known by both parties. Farmers and farm companies will need to band together to ensure their ideas, products, and yields are wholesome for all that eat them.