Biotech Crops Good for Farmers and the Environment, Says National Academy of Sciences

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biotech crops - pest resistant

Yesterday, the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences released a comprehensive report analyzing the effect on biotech crops on farmers and the environment. The press release accompanying the study notes:

Many U.S. farmers who grow genetically engineered (GE) crops are realizing substantial economic and environmental benefits—such as lower production costs, fewer pest problems, reduced use of pesticides, and better yields—compared with conventional crops, says a new report from the National Research Council. However, GE crops resistant to the herbicide glyphosate—a main component in Roundup and other commercial weed killers—could develop more weed problems as weeds evolve their own resistance to glyphosate. GE crops could lose their effectiveness unless farmers also use other proven weed and insect management practices.

The development of weeds resistant to herbicides is not a problem peculiar to biotech crops, but is likely exacerbated by the fact that so many biotech varieties incorporate resistance to a single herbicide, glyphosate. The good news is that new varieties are including tolerance to other herbicides. Mixing and matching these crops will better control the development of herbicide resistant weeds.

The new NRC report also notes:

The economic effects of GE crops on farmers who grow organic and conventional crops also need further study, the report says.  For instance, organic farmers are profiting by marketing their crops as free of GE traits, but their crops' value could be jeopardized if genes from GE crops flow to non-GE varieties through cross-pollination or seed mingling.

As I have explained before, organic standards are a process standard which means that organic farmers can easily solve any problem with "contamination" by setting reasonable tolerance standards.

Go here to download the whole NRC report.

NEXT: Interns Built the Pyramids Redux

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  1. So, uh, who funds the National Academy of Sciences?

    1. Cuz no one else, say like the engineers who developed such strains or Consumer Reports or Ronald Bailey, could have told us what the NAS just did?

    2. That was a devastating retort when you were arguing against that libertarian in your head, wasn’t it? Shut the fuck up, Dan T.

    3. No research was ever done until government started funding it.

    4. SHUT UP DANNY DEVITO

    5. When I want you to ask a question I’ll yank your head off my cock.

    6. I’m not sure about the funding, but it has a congressional charter.

      The scientists are academics, aka government wards. The funding most likely comes from a mix of govt and corporate sources.

      FASCIST FOOD SUCKS!!!

      Reason and Ronald Bailey should be ASHAMED of themselves for putting out this FASCIST ANTI-LIBERTY ANTI-MARKET FRAUDULENT SCIENCE PROPAGANDA!!!

      Just don’t look behind the curtain. Don’t ask who funded this. Don’t ask what role the govt played in it. Don’t ask or think about the ramifications from a pro-market and pro-liberty perspective. Just keeping smiling and reading Reason and gobble up the propaganda with your fascist food.

  2. Hey Ron,

    Saw this story first at the NYT, and boy did the comment boards explode with “SEE!! GMOs BAAAD!!”” The Times even headlined the story with the negative read…

    “Study Says Overuse Threatens Gains From Modified Crop””

    The comments are such a joke:

    http://community.nytimes.com/c…..4crop.html

    “Rudy Haugeneder
    Victoria, BC, Canada

    GM foods are controlled by a tiny handful of monopolies that force farmers to use them. That is a crime against humanity,..”

    “”Matthew
    Boston

    …By allowing Monsanto and others to patent seeds, we are creating a market where farmers who follow the laws of nature can not compete. …”

    “”
    Garrett
    Belleville, ON
    …and now with the monopolizing of seed stock, we’re seeing typical monopolist behavior: just like drug dealers, they start cheap and then raise the prices once they figure they’ve got you hooked.””

    “”DTY in NY
    Monsanto is the enemy of life’s integrity. Those who love money at any cost would love monsanto. So similar ilk on wall street trade their stock till they drop their plop””

    “”WiscAlum
    IL
    … This is globalization at its worst.””

    “”StevenK
    NY

    …It’s a lose lose situation where we’re all losing out on the basic joys of fresh natural produce and we’re all gaining weight from the abundance of mutated food. The only winners are Monsanto and the rest of the mob making money off us stupid Americans.””

    “”Sam Verma
    Vancouver, Canada

    I’m not sure if this article was written by a staff writer or by a lobbyist for the food industry. GM foods and GM technology is largely aimed at monopolizing seeds and therefore the future of mankind itself. These few companies have decimated native species in many Third World countries, bought off local critics and aggressively peddled their science which has no quantitative backing from scientific research””

    “”TJ Colatrella
    Boiceville NY
    We have become the destroyers of worlds..

    Our Corporations are America’s biggest and most lethal enemy, we will not fall to any other nation or philosophy, but to our corrupt all powerful corporations..!

    And on and on and on…

    Its pretty clear through 90% of the comments that the report could have been nothing but a glowing endorsement of the benefits of GMOs, and these people would still see it as evidence that they’ve been right all along: GMOs are part of some capitalistic conspiracy to control nature and make us all fat and unhealthy and destroy the planet. In the end its not about food at all for some people; its inherently political… its about Nature vs Evil Coporashuns…

    Feeding the world’s population is kind of an afterthought for them… primary is maintaining the purity of their bodily fluids and their liberal conscience. Michael Specter’s book, “Denialism” deals with this a bit, I believe (I have not read it yet)… He mentioned that as a liberal, upper west side science writer for the New Yorker, how shocked he was anti the luddite beliefs of many of his ‘educated’ peers… his segment on charlie rose was really interesting, here:

    http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/10784

    He’s one of the few voices I’ve heard out there calling on his fellow liberals to stop being chicken littles and learn a little about the facts before adopting these ideological beliefs about what are in fact pretty dry, scientific topics that lack most of the controversy injected into them by ‘activists’

    1. I saw the headline and knew it’d be like swatting a hornet’s nest with the sandalistas, and the hum from the hive hasn’t disappointed.

    2. GMO idiots are worse than HFCS idiots

      1. At least the consequence of HFCS people getting their way isn’t mass starvation, so yeah, the GMO people are way worse.

        And yes, HFCS people, I know a study came out of Princeton that might validate HFCS concerns, I’m just waiting for more evidence.

        1. Man, I really want a Coke now.

          1. Mexican Coke or American?

            1. Is that a Mexican pancho or a Sears pancho?

        2. Yes, the increased crop yields, drought resistance, etc. is a real bummer. I suspect the starvation is due to nitwits afraid of the GMO bogeyman.

        3. Might it? That might be interesting and/or relevant. When might we know?

        4. Dear Episiarch,

          “At least the consequence of HFCS people getting their way isn’t mass starvation, so yeah, the GMO people are way worse.”

          The pro-GMO people will ultimately be responsible for the largest numbers of starvation. Y’all, without a single thought or question, wanting to put the food supply for billions into a single basket. What happens when the GMO companies make a mistake? A farmer doesn’t lose part or all of his crop, nor does a region of farmers have a terrible year, but the entire freaking world is screwed.

          What happens if they don’t make a gross error, but instead we just keep building up this system of “science and technology” that ignores the fundamental law of farming? Does it really make sense to build ever fancier ways to conceal the damage done by our insistence on ignorant short sighted small minded means that destroy the capacity of the planet to support life?

          Regards,

          Patriot Henry

          1. Then why is it 90% of farmers disagree with you?

    3. THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED!

      1. AGW deniers refuse to listen to scientists when they say that AGW is happening just as GMO haters refuse to listen to scientists when they say that GMO is safe. Both ignore science in order to keep their preconceived ideas.

        1. AGW science is not equal to GMO science. But of course you knew that anyway, right?

  3. Sorry; important follow ups =

    1 = cue: “”Ron Bailey is clearly just a shill for Big Agribusiness…””

    2 = Your reading public DEMANDS DISCLOSURES. Please amend.

  4. So, uh, who funds the National Academy of Sciences?

    Just wondering…really

    1. I do, and quite unwillingly, fuck face.

      1. One word. Fuckface. A fuck face is an entirely different thing.

        1. OK, I’ll accept that. I went back and forth, even toying with a hyphen.

          1. Dan T is a fuckface who makes fuck faces during the rare times when he’s not being face-fucked.

            1. Warty feels that Dan has a very fuckable face.

              1. That’s what I got out of it.

                1. Nah. His lips are way too big for me.

          2. OOOOOHHH!

            ‘toying with a hyphen’

            Punctuation pr0n!

            1. You should see what I did that semi-colon on prom night. Really laid down some em-dash. Interrobanged her so hard she couldn’t connect two closely-related independent clauses not conjoined with a coordinating conjunction for almost a week.

        2. Like an “Oh Face”?

          1. Such as this one?

    2. Shut the fuck up, Dan T.

      1. When asked on the MMPI whether he looks at his shit after a bowel movement, Dan T. answered, “Of course I do. Be pretty hard to poke it down the bathroom sink drain with a Q-tip if I didn’t.”

    3. SHUT UP DANNY DEVITO!

  5. You guys have to admit when people point out the NAS supports something you don’t agree with, like AGW, you’re all “hey, whatdaya expect from some government agency.” When they say something you agree with it’s all “hey, take that organic loving hippie, the NAS says so!”

    Me, I’m sitting pretty because I assume the NAS is right on both issues…

    1. It might be that we are more skeptical of government reports that call for more government funding and control, than we are of government reports that don’t.

      1. I’m not sure this report = less government. If modified crops are good then government may well get into funding them, using them for aid/development etc.

        1. Well, MNG, how is a report that says “Hey, this is working out pretty well” going to be used to push for increased government control? Who gets to build their bureaucratic empire based on such a report?

          Pretty much nobody, that’s who.

          1. Er, it could hasten government funding of said technology? Just a thought man.

            1. Sad MNG, even for you, that is very sad.

              1. When a science is up and coming and endorsed governments don’t jump into funding it?

                Interesting JI. Ever seen a federal research grant or public research university?

                You’re usually smarter than this, just trying to pick a fight with a liberal tonite dude?

                1. Your “just a thought” was much more of an afterthought. Your insistence that this could be a wellspring for govt intervention isn’t even that.

                  1. You deny that as scientific techniques become established that the government does not rush in to fund their further development?

                    Incredible.

                    You’re a smart guy. Why not back down from this ledge with honor before I start searching for public money grants in this area. Let me know JI.

    2. Out of curiosity, can you provide an example? Nothing springs to mind.

    3. MNG: Strictly speaking the NAS is not a government agency. As they somewhat self-aggrandizingly explain:

      The National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council have a proven track record of providing expert, independent advice on such diverse issues as fighting global warming, reducing medical errors, and preparing the next generation of leaders in science and technology. We are private organizations that do not receive a direct appropriation from the government. Together, we enlist the aid of the nation’s most knowledgeable scientists, engineers, health professionals, and other experts who volunteer their time for the study of specific issues.

      1. Ron I don’t question the NAS on that, in fact that was my point: when it comes to things like AGW many here criticize NAS statements by impugning their allegiance and funding, I don’t. But thanks for putting up that statement, hopefully it will eliminate some wasteful discussion next AGW thread 🙂

        1. “Ron I don’t question the NAS on that, in fact that was my point: when it comes to things like AGW many here criticize NAS statements by impugning their allegiance and funding, I don’t. ”

          NAS is a bunch of academics, and like almost all groups of academics, it’s dominated by statists firmly entrenched within the State.

    4. well, there is also the fact that AGW theory as put forward by the climategate dudes and James Hansen is not-falsifiable or measurable except through the passage of time. if someone thinks hansen et al are lying about current temperature and Co2 readings, then yes you are correct and those people are hypocrites (and luddites). if, however, you think seeds, weeds, resistance, and intellectual property are well within the realm of scientific understanding to an extent that a model of the entire climate is not, then there is no equivalence.

      1. Yeah buddy, the people at the NAS somehow missed that the thing they endorsed was unfalsifiable, immeasurable nonsense, but you picked up on it…Whatever.

        1. how is it falsifiable or measurable? its a PREDICTION ABOUT THE FUTURE

          1. based fucking in large part on shit like tree rings in siberia to give it current measurements context.

          2. Are you so ignorant of science that you think that a prediction about the future is therefore unfalsifiable?

            BWAHAHAHA!

            The whole BASIS of the falsifiability principle is that one must make a prediction of a future event!

            Lord, lord.

  6. You can’t get these guys to admit anything…

    1. I admit you’re a fucking retard, Dan T. Shut the fuck up.

    2. see Ronny B’s comment above re the source of funding for the NAS. are you willing to admit that the type of consumer safe-guarding that OMGONLYTHEGOVERNMENTCANPROVIDE has, in fact, been provided through private means?

    3. As the thread has evolved, Scotch T’s

      You can’t get these guys to admit anything…

      is now much more apropos, following as it does MNG’s

      Yeah buddy, the people at the NAS somehow missed that the thing they endorsed was unfalsifiable, immeasurable nonsense, but you picked up on it…Whatever.

      RC like.

  7. GILMORE wrote:

    Michael Specter’s book, “Denialism” deals with this a bit, I believe (I have not read it yet)… He mentioned that as a liberal, upper west side science writer for the New Yorker, how shocked he was anti the luddite beliefs of many of his ‘educated’ peers… his segment on charlie rose was really interesting, here:

    http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/10784

    He’s one of the few voices I’ve heard out there calling on his fellow liberals to stop being chicken littles and learn a little about the facts before adopting these ideological beliefs about what are in fact pretty dry, scientific topics that lack most of the controversy injected into them by ‘activists’

    I’m surprised Michael Specter hasn’t been ‘sent to Coventry’ by his liberal fellows.

    ****

    TBS, if Monsanto were to announce that they supported the teaching of evolution, I wouldn’t be surprised if ‘environmental activists’ came out in favor of “Creation Science.”

    1. “TBS, if Monsanto were to announce that they supported the teaching of evolution, I wouldn’t be surprised if ‘environmental activists’ came out in favor of “Creation Science.””

      And if Monsanto came out with support for eugenics and the Aryan race, I wouldn’t be surprised if Reason and many of it’s audience blindly supported it. After all, it’s a corporation that makes money. Nothing could ever go wrong with the extension of the State into business, and there could never be any conflict of interest between State charted scientists and corporations.

  8. …came out in favor of “Creation Science.”

    That’s less of a stretch than you imagine. Just substitute “gaia” for “God” and they are good to go.

  9. I was going to attempt to write a lengthy, intelligent, and articulate response to this article. Then I realized “Why bother?” since obviously Reason is doomed to the downwards spiral of mediocre, insipid, uninspired git-prop bullshit. If you want my formal response you’ll have to wait for me to research, write, and publish my upcoming book about food and liberty.

    I would however like to make 2 brief points to the non-audience:

    1. FUCK YOU REASON. FUCK YOU. As a food loving liberty loving person I am ashamed and disgusted at your performance. The relationship between food and liberty isn’t that obscured except by ones own biases and ignorance and character faults. Inexcusable.

    2. I’m bumping Reason down my reading list, from the “B” list (read at least 2-3 times a week reading most of the content) to my “C” list (read once a week reading only some of the content). I used to hope Reason would make it onto the “A” list (read every day almost entirely or entirely), but having noticed a clear pattern of decline I know it’s only a matter of time before it makes the “D” list (read rarely and only when seeking “entertainment” – the deliberate waste of time and mind for “fun”), and I reckon “F” (I only live once and I value my life, don’t ever bother) will be shortly behind.

    1. too tired. Someone count the DRINK here for me.

      My favorite,

      Patriot Henry|4.13.10 @ 9:10PM|#
      I was going to attempt to write a lengthy, intelligent, and articulate response…

      .. “and instead, i’ll just be another non-point making idiot troll who says things like, “FUCK YOU REASON. FUCK YOU” for saying anything pretty boring and factual about topics on which I am a total fanatical true believer for partisan reasons…”

      Seriously, if this had been real-time, we could have made a real party out of it.

  10. My teabagging uncle sent me this link, and, WOW, I can’t believe what a bunch of corporate tools you people are.

    Reason? More like Corporate Unreason!
    I’ve seriously researched the GMO issue and these things are scary as shit. Humans just do not understand the genetic code well enough to be messing around with nature like this. Mother Earth is a Bitch, and she’ll be biting us in the ass. The genes from these things get into everything and are causing anti-biotic resistance and superbugs. Besides just being a scam to get more money and power into the hands of Monsanto and it’s ilk.

    Yeah I’ve read all the propaganda by the corporate tool sites liek this one, but it’s all just a fig leaf covering up the profit motive.

    These was a study by a Dr. Putzai in England who proved that GMOs cause organ damage, and he was suppressed by the corporate-controlled scientific establishment. Same with the researchers who discovered that Bt genes had contaminated the sacred netive corn plants of the Chiapas indians in Mexico. Plus these are organic farmers who have been sued for patent infringement because pollen blew onto their lands and contaiminated their crops with the frankengenes.

    There is a new documentary out called Food, Inc. Which EVERY should watch. Out food sources, the most basic necessity of life are being taken over by giant corporations who are doing uncontrolled experiments on the human population!

    Wake up!

    1. Thats at least a 2X DRINK

      1. Correction: 3X+1

        1) for the cliche, “for a magazine called “Reason”, +

        2) the predictable “teabagger” comment (ok, new rule, but the usage as a default criticism even though no one here has any obvious Tea Party affiliation – its a new gimme “drink” moment – as one of those “you are all clearly part of my imagined enemy by your inadvertant violation of my sacred cows” kind of thing), +

        3) “I’ve seriously researched the GMO issue and these things are scary as shit”…

        Because none of us know anything about it, and are all ignoramuses… this should reprove us finally and make us stop wanting to know more. “Scary as shit” is inviolable proof of the real danger of stuff people have been eating without any side effects for 50 years. The equivalent of “yall are kinda ignorantic types, aint ya? needs ya some edumacation”

        The +1 bonus point goes for the spelling problems of the person trying to lecture others on how retarded they are. Always a good laugh, and deserving a DRINK if done consistently and in a funny way.

        A winner, all around.

        I probably missed at least one DRINK for the post describing this as some kind of neoconservative or GOP line-toeing kind of publication, but whatever, 3+ is enough for a good time.

  11. If it weren’t for the difference in their solution (one telling Reasonoids to FOAD, the other telling Reasonoids to ‘wake up’), I would guess that “Patriot Henry” and “Organic Girl” are the same troll.

    On the (tentative) assumption they are not the same troll, I would like to invite them to get together with Tony and Chad and LoneWacko on their own website and slag each other for our amusement.

    1. yeah, I’ve looked at some of the other threads and seen how you call everyone who disagrees with your “libertarian” orthodoxy a “troll”.

      Liberty from what, eh? Not liberrty from wage slavery to corporations that control our food and our water and our bodies and minds.

      You fools should watch ‘Manufacturing Consent’. It was made by a Nobel Prize Winner who shows how the corporate media brainwashes Americans into supporting the corporate plutocracy. The media in other countries is publicly owned and doesn’t contain this kind of brainwashing and we see how they have things like universal health care and they don’t tolerate greedy corporatations genetic monstrosities.

      1. ?

        I was not aware that either Noam Chomsky or Edward Herman had won a Nobel Prize (and was not able to find either of them on any of the lists of laureates).

        Pray, when did this occur?

        “Liberty from what, eh? Not liberrty from wage slavery to corporations that control our food and our water and our bodies and minds.”

        And, as an alternative to this “control” (for which you cite no evidence other than an argument from a dubious authority), you propose government control? (Don’t bother with a response couched in syndicalist theory and rhetoric, syndicalism merely hides the fact that they are proposing an authoritarian government behind rhetorical devices.)

        1. dude, dont try…

          We fools need to watch the video of the book we already read and had dismissed as bunk based on comparative reading of other books about the issues.

          We need to redefine “wage slavery” so that everything from indonesian child labor (removed from trash sorting to GAP t-shirt making) to starbucks employees are all in the same pool of ‘corporate exploitees’

          We need to realize that Government control of media is generally a *good thing* and has produced far better results than a free press.

          We also need to erase any understanding of the tragedy of the commons, and basic economics, and then we will finally understand Organic Girl’s line of thought.

          Basically, we all need to bash ourselves in the head for a few hours, then we will finally stop being the horrible ‘corporate tools’ we are. even though we’re all just normal people who happen to think differently. Its the way things go in a “democracy”, man. We all have to be equally ignorant about everything. Otherwise we upset the others.

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