GE Crops Dec. 2014

December 4, 2014

December 4, 2014

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

And now for today’s commentary—

I cannot express strongly enough the excitement and pleasure I felt in the 1990s when we first started planting genetically engineered seed corn. It was as close to magic as you could imagine. Spray that crop and the weeds and grass died, but not the corn. Up until the arrival of GE seeds, we were using more chemicals to kill the weeds. Nothing worked very well to kill the grass. In the soy bean fields, we had to hire high school kids to hoe the weeds.

Before we got GE seed, the corn borer would weaken the ear and some would fall on the ground before harvest. Root worms would damage the plants. Not a problem today with GE plants. We just harvested a great crop. Without new technology, that would never have happened.

With all the value and savings in chemicals, labor, and a much bigger crop, GMOs are under attack. GMO critics endeavor to mislead the public by suggesting that GMOs might not be safe. There is no evidence that GE crops are any less safe than conventional crops. We have been eating GE food for 20 years. We have eaten our weight in GE food. No one got sick.

Obviously, you can sense my frustration with the “green activist” attacks on modern agriculture. There are some positive signs. We have a world that needs more food – maybe twice as much in the next 40 years; and we can’t meet the demand without new technology. We are finding so much added value that GE brings to mankind. And there’s more in the pipeline. In Asia and Africa, “an estimated 250,000 to 500,000 vitamin A-deficient children become blind every year. Half of them die.” This is according to the World Health Organization. Like magic, GE rice (Golden Rice) can deliver the vitamin A and the kids will not go blind. Bring it on.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is helping to fund a GE project to enrich bananas with vitamin A which will lift the health of Ugandans.

Do you rely on Florida orange juice as your primary fruit drink? We may need GE to save our orange groves. A deadly citrus disease is seriously damaging our crops.

I find it ironic that many of GE’s most vocal critics are environmentalists. You might think they would be happy that GE crops have increased farm income, reduced pesticide use, reduced soil erosion, reduced CO2 emissions and reduced the cost of food. Sounds like a win-win to me.

If you would like to review my radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go on-line to Have a great weekend.

Until next week, I am John Block in Washington, D.C.