Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Farmers Tackle GMO Issues

The latest Ohio Farmer magazine discusses the many GMO issues going on right now in Ohio and around the world.  A recent panel discussion brought the many pro's and con's together in a setting among agriculturists.

Advertisers bombard us with "what to eat" messages. Chefs become television stars talking about food. Doctors offer their views on consumption in media commentary daily. Scientists are brought into the discussion. Grocers and restaurateurs get their say. But what about the people who produce the food? Shouldn't farmers have a say in the food dialogues too?

That's what the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, the Ohio Soybean Council and U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Council had in mind as they organized a "Food Dialogues" event in Columbus last month. In two panel discussion sessions a variety of sources were brought together to examine critical food issues. They participants included scientists, dietitians, restaurateurs, a nutritionist, a food blogger a food bank organizer, an environmental spokesman, and it included farmers."

"Michel immediately made the point that while the public perception is that corn and soybean crops have had genes inserted for herbicidal or insecticidal activity, the fact is that genetic modification has occurred in all plants and continues to occur naturally in all organisms. Billman raised the concern that his crops could be contaminated by GMO pollen. Hoy questioned whether GMO use fit into the concept of integrated pest management and what the intent of creating GMO crops was."

Billman is right.  It is nearly impossible to find pure non GMO in the crops I raise.  I know the Billman family and most of the people in this article so it's really interesting for me.  I interviewed for a job with one of the panel members as their agronomist and quickly saw it wasn't going to work between us.

Scientists don't agree on the impact of GMO's.  Farmers don't even agree on GMO's, so how in the world are we supposed to provide a solid image to the consumer?

If you want to know about your own seed and your own soil, start testing it.  It isn't cheap but it's hugely revealing.  I haven't found a soil or seed in my community that comes back with a test result that says glyphosate is non-detectable.

It appears that glyphosate ties or chelates more than manganese and cobalt, it's effect on aluminum and iron may be even bigger keys why we see corn maturing early with pink leaves.

It's here, now what do we do with it?

Ed Winkle


  1. Well pink leaves corn apparently also occurs on non-GM corn, from what some farmers said on NAT, so you can't put it all on glyphosate. But I guess it could be if glyphosate or some other herbicide was used past a certain vegetation stage.

    I want to immediately dissociate from that other Michel! ;) Just because there is "GM" in the name, the issue with GMOs is not with "genetic modification", of course this happens with conventional selection by humans or simple reproduction by Nature itself: Each seed in a field of a million seeds is genetically different and unique, and cross-pollination already happens constantly even with non-GMOs. The issue is partly with the technique of genetic engineering (i.e. how the genes are inserted), but mostly with the global consequences of these modifications. I am generally not pro-GMO, but not systematically, as there could be instances where the consequences of not using GMOs could be even greater. For instance, to fight stem rust in African wheat, where the alternative would be a lot of starvation, or to fight the citrus disease in Florida, which is progressing as a blight. It's probably even for important for the fruit trees, since conventional selection on this type of plant can take decades, much longer than on an annual crop.

    How's the diet going? Are you and LuAnn able to follow it strictly? Lost 2 pounds on Monday, 4 yesterday, hope it's not going exponential!

  2. Wherever you see the pink leaves, glyphosate can be detected in the soil and or the plant and seed.

    This is one crazy diet for me, we are doing well, lost two belt buckle holes already and can walk a lot farther, could get back to ten years if I keep this up!


  3. Man that green combine looks good in your field...;)

  4. How did you lose 2 belt buckle holes? Did the holes refill themselves with leather? ;)
    Well the 3 first days were easy to far, not even the slightest hunger pang so far.
    I'll be buying a new pair of jeans this week, just punching more holes in the belt won't do.

  5. Brad it is not fair to poke fun at an old man. The little 9400 was available so we did some swapping. The 920 head did miss some Apex soybeans where I didn't have my ground level enough.

    Chimel, 7 pounds since Sunday this morning. I have a LOT of fat to burn!

    Hey, I sent you the diet and you are the scientist. You figure it out!


  6. The issues you have seen this year that made you believe the nations cron crop is sick and won't be able to perform the way the industry expects apparently couldn't drag down yield. The nation is producing a record crop this year. Just saying

    David Seck

  7. I know David, I know, that bugs me but I am so happy for it. Extra nitrogen really helped sick corn. Why? There is science behind it and we will get to the bottom of this.

    That link to the New Zealand article shows iron and aluminum are involved in chelation and plant health more than we understand. No wonder gypsum does such great wonders on so many farmers.

    Keep digging and asking and learning like all of us curious folks do!

    On the yields, see dismal failures but also much better than expected fields and it wasn't all weather.

    Everything we do impacts yield.