GMOs and Organic

April 7, 2016

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by John Deere and the National Corn Growers Association. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

The U.S. Senate has failed to pass legislation to stop states from requiring GMO labeling. With a patchwork of different state labeling laws, Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack warns of “chaos.”

Critics of GMO crops are on the attack. They have no science on their side. It is just an unscientific ideological assault. Today, there are 18 million farmers in 28 countries planting GMO crops. The corn and soy beans on my farm are GMO. Why do I plant GMO? The answer is simple. We can produce more at less cost. The whole food chain benefits – especially the consumer. You don’t have to go back many years when a family spent about half of their income for food. That’s the situation in much of Africa today. We spend less than 10 percent.

If we don’t employ modern technology in producing food, there will be less food. We should not even consider going in that direction. By 2050, the world will have 2 billion more people to feed. The growing numbers of misguided, uninformed, anti-science people opposing GMOs have not considered the devastating consequences of what they preach. Food will cost a lot more. More land will need to be farmed, resulting in cutting down rain forests. Greenhouse gas emissions go up. In the end, hunger and starvation will increase.

To make things even worse, the increase in organic farming acres will further reduce our food production. Most estimates suggest that organic farming might come up short in yield by as much as 30 or 40 percent. That is compared to precision farming as we practice it today.

Most farmers today want to use new technology. But think about this. If more and more acres are farmed organically or without GE technology, there will be less food produced. And with less food, prices will go up. We would like to see that. Net farm income will be in the tank this year and maybe next.

With low prices and a burdensome surplus, I wonder why we don’t encourage more organic farms – just a thought.

If you would like to review my radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go on-line to www.johnblockreports.com. Have a great weekend. Until next week, I am John Block from Washington, D.C.