GMO Food

American Farmers Just Love Their GMOs and You Should Too

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Biotech Corn
Biofortified

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released its latest data on farmers planting of crops genetically enhanced to tolerate herbicides (HT) crops and to resist insect pests (Bt).

HT soybeans went from 17 percent of U.S. soybean acreage to 94 percent in 2014. Plantings of HT cotton expanded from about 10 percent of U.S. acreage in 1997 to 91 percent in 2014. The adoption of HT corn reached 89 percent of U.S. corn acreage in 2014.

Plantings of Bt corn grew from about 8 percent of U.S. corn acreage in 1997 to 80 percent in 2014. Plantings of Bt cotton also expanded rapidly, from 15 percent of U.S. cotton acreage in 1997 to 84 percent in 2014.

See the chart below for the trends.

USDA
USDA

Why are modern biotech crops so popular with farmers?

Earlier this year, U.S. News reported the views of Illinois farmer Katie Pratt:

According to Pratt, her family uses GMO crops because of the clear value they bring to their family business. They have greatly reduced the amount of insecticide that needs to be sprayed, and they only need to treat the weeds at one point, not several times over a growing season. Her soil has now improved, because she and her family don't have to tromp through the fields as often. The family also uses less fuel, because they spend less time in the tractor. "No one is more aware than the farmer of the impact we have on the environment, in addition to the urgency to feed and fuel a growing population, while reducing our footprint on the planet," she maintains.

And remember folks, biotech crops are not only good for the environment, eating them as caused not so much as a cough, sniffle, sneeze or bellyache. For example, a statement issued by the Board of Directors of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the largest scientific organization in the United States, on October 20, 2012 point blank asserted that "contrary to popular misconceptions, GM [genetically modified] crops are the most extensively tested crops ever added to our food supply. There are occasional claims that feeding GM foods to animals causes aberrations ranging from digestive disorders, to sterility, tumors and premature death. Although such claims are often sensationalized and receive a great deal of media attention, none have stood up to rigorous scientific scrutiny." The AAAS Board concluded, "Indeed, the science is quite clear: crop improvement by the modern molecular techniques of biotechnology is safe."

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  1. But…but there has to be something wrong with them! Because animism!

    1. I’m going to start a food distribution company that sells only GMO foods, touting the benefits of GMOs not only in food quality but in reducing costs by making production more efficient. Assuming, of course, the crazies get out of the way.

      I think I’ll call the company GMOGASM.

      1. You could also call it “pretty much every single crop that humans grow has been genetically modified by them over time”.

        1. I suppose it is accurate to call both “genetic modification” but as I have often pointed out, there really is a difference between traditional selective breeding by artificial selection of random mutations of genes and deliberate modification or addition of specific genes that is probably worth distinguishing. I have no idea why anyone would assume that the former is any less threatening than the latter though. I would think that the deliberate insertion of well understood genes followed by thorough testing for safety would be less dangerous than the natural random mutations that happen all the time.

          1. Why is the distinction valuable if there is essentially no difference?

            1. What difference – at this point – does it make?

            2. There are differences. The modern, deliberate modification of genes is much faster and has achieved results that conventional breeding has never managed to name a few.

            3. It isn’t, but it’s important to understand that the process of breeding and genetic modification by say viral transduction are wholly different. I love GMOs but the talking point above equating the two sticks in my craw.

              1. Yes, that’s what I’m saying.

          2. In any event, GMOGASM will focus on more recent, high-tech interventions in the genetic purity of produce and meat.

            1. Purity. Yes. Purity of my precious, bodily fluids. Purity of essence.

              Mandrake, I like where you’re headed with this…

              1. GMOGASM–perfecting the purity of foodstuffs since 2014.

              2. GMOGASM–in your food, deliberately inserting in your genes.

          3. Deliberate Insertion

            Band name? Yeah – band name.

      2. I think someone already started that company, and called it “Kroger”. Or “Safeway”. Maybe it was “Food Lion”. Or – what’s that one down South – “Winn Dixie” or something?

        Anyhoo – it’s been done…

        #AllGMOAllTheTime

      3. You could play up the environmental advantages and really confuse some hippies.

    2. Gaia refuses the bodies of those who have corrupted themselves with these Frankfoods. Only the organically pure can be received in her mossy bosom.

  2. How come there is HT corn and BT corn, but not corn that is both?

    1. Bt corn is shown at 80% and HT corn as 90%, so I would say the vast majority of corn is both.

    2. SD: There is. I wanted to keep the post short so I didn’t cite the USDA data for stacked varieties (stacked meaning that they contain both HT and Bt).

      Stacked cotton reached 79 percent of cotton plantings in 2014. Plantings of stacked corn made up 76 percent of corn acres in 2014.

  3. American Association for the Advancement of Science

    Has anyone heard of the organization before? Don’t know anything about them, but the name sets of my warning sensors.

      1. Of course Warty knows all about an organization whose acronym is essentially “ASS”.

      2. Okay, looks legit. Name just seemed fishy to me. “Science” doesn’t really need to be “advanced”.

        1. “Science” doesn’t really need to be “advanced”.

          Especially when it’s “settled”, amirite??!

          /weathertard

    1. From wikipedia:

      “It is the world’s largest and most prestigious general scientific society, with 126,995 individual and institutional members at the end of 2008, and is the publisher of the well-known scientific journal Science, which has a weekly circulation of 138,549.”

      Time to get those sensors recalibrated.

      1. The important question, did all the members vote and come up with Scientific Concensus? Because that appears to be the only thing that matters.

    2. As well it should! Any “scientists” that actually get paid for what they do (profits!) are automatically suspect. Only selfless souls who work for Greenpeace can be trusted!

  4. Do they sell the seeds at ACE or Agway? I stopped planting corn in the garden long ago because I was tired of growing worm nests.

  5. Do they sell the seeds at ACE or Agway? I stopped planting corn in the garden long ago because I was tired of growing worm nests.

    1. I think most of the corn in question is not the kind you eat off of the cob, so you probably wouldn’t want to plant it anyway.

      They do sell pesticides at those places.

      1. This. Most of the GMO corn is dent corn.

      2. No, I don’t want to grow cow corn.

  6. OT: In case anyone missed it, I am concluding that Bo and Tulpa are the same:

    https://reason.com/blog/2014/07…..nt_4651610

    1. Bo has certainly filled Tulpa’s niche of pedantically arguing about minutiae while suffocating the rest of us in a cloud of smug self-satisfaction, so it would make sense As for whether Bo is literally Tulpa…I have a hard time caring.

      1. RELEASE THE BOTARD!

      2. Yeah, I just thought the lines telling us to “go make those arguments at Kos and see how you do” were too remarkably similar to be a coincidence, but effectively you are right.

    2. The first mistake you made was not blocking Bo with Reasonable.

      1. SHUT UP I HAVE TO USE IE9 AT WORK BECAUSE MY EXISTENCE HAS A SAD

        1. Who makes their employees use IE? Get a new workplace.

    3. I think you are putting way too much effort into analyzing Bo or Tulpa.

      1. It took about three minutes of searching the site to find the “Kos” line. It was one of Tulpa’s favorites.

        I know you have a thing where you want to engage it, but you’re just letting it troll us.

        1. Well, I suppose you could fairly accuse me of being too charitable in my judgements about people. Perhaps my late arrival to internet based social interaction has left me insufficiently cynical.

        2. Though if Bo actually is a Tulpa sock puppet, I’d have to give Tulpa some sort of grudging admiration for the effort.

    4. I just realized I had a chance yesterday to ask Nick Gillespie about the theory that Palin’s Buttplug is really Dave Weigel, but I forgot.

  7. OT: The free market at work.

    Interesting free market fight going on here in the Boston Suburbs

    story

    So we have a local supermarket chain that exists primarily north of Boston and in Southern NH. They are a family business that grew out of being a small local neighborhood market in Lowell Ma and their founder always believed that serving his customers and employees was more important than squeezing every drop of profit out of the company. That attitude basically meant that they own the area for food shopping with a customer and worker base that is fiercly loyal with no need for labor unions and has resulted in the chain remaining profitable the entire time.

    Till now. In a family squabble between cousins their longtime CEO has been ousted by the board and replaced with his cousin who has made no bones about the fact that he wants to squeeze more profits out of the company before selling it off to a local conglomerate. As a result the bulk of their workforce is staging a work stoppage and protesting to have their beloved CEO (and yes these folks love the guy) reinstated.

    The interesting thing is no one is asking for government intervention (although a few Mass Pols have spouted off in support of the workers) and none have talked about bringing in a labor union because they don’t want one.

    1. For some reason I thought that was going to be about ShopRite.

    2. Lowell, huh. I bet joe has an opinion about this.

      1. Hey, Joe is not the only one who is from Lowell.

        I grew up there too and I remember when it was Demoulas not Market Basket and I also remember when the store manager would let you run a tab if you didn’t have the cash for your groceries

        1. Wait a minute, you’re joe???

          1. Lol no Auric and Hamilton can testify to the fact that I am not Joe

            We just grew up in the same hellhole apparently (and iirc he’s like 10 years younger than me)

            1. Also, he’s not short.

    3. It will be an interesting case to see play out because of the workers prevail it will prove that workers are not powerless drones in the absence of government protections and labor unions

      1. I think, though, that if there were really a free market, MarketBasket would have the right to fire everyone and get replacements.

        1. And that was my point.

          So far at least no one has made that argument, they are free to fire everyone and try to get replacements and they have fired a few people but ask yourself, how long would they remain profitable? How many months would they be out of business if they fired everyone and had to rehire every position? How far away are they going to have to look to find workers willing to work for them at less than the same rates than their prior workers made? What is hiring and training 70,000 workers going to cost them? Most importantly however, how many customers will never shop there again if they did that? How many will simply get used to shopping at a new market and never go back while they get their workforce rehired?

          The argument that the progs always make is that the workers have no power unless labor unions or government is there to protect them. This case proves them wrong, and if the workers succeed will prove them wrong spectacularly.

          1. My only reply here is that they would not have to do it to everybody; just show a willingness to do so.

    4. For a long time I didn’t shop at Market Basket because I found it aesthetically displeasing. But it’s hard to beat their prices and they do a good job of service and keeping competent employees, so I hope it doesn’t get fucked up over this.

      1. For a long time I didn’t shop at Market Basket because I found it aesthetically displeasing.

        Heh, that’s a polite way to say that MB is “ghetto”. Still, they have certain ethnic foods that you just can’t find at a Hannaford’s or Shaw’s.

        1. No, the quantity of ethnic food varies by location, you go to Lawrence and you get a lot of Latin foods, Lowell and lots of Asian foods, Rowley and it is pretty much straight up American. The esthetic problem is true however, the floors and fixtures are old as are the lights (which also cast an ugly yellow light rather than the pure white you see in other stores) and most importantly the fish department literally stinks (which is why the one thing I won’t buy there is seafood)

    5. their founder always believed that serving his customers and employees was more important than squeezing every drop of profit out of the company.

      And yet, Market Basket prices are the lowest in town. Bar none.

  8. That chart gives me hope. The piles of money and bullshit churned out by the anti-GMO activists and the FDA’s bureaucracy has barely made a dent at least in America.

  9. Ronald Bailey is a Monsanto sell out. Farmers hate GMO’s. The only farmers that love GMO’s are the subsidized farm corporations. The science has been completely corrupted. You will learn everything you need to know by visiting the large farms benefiting from the farm bills. You will see sick animals that can only survive eating this garbage with the consumption of anti-biotics and steroids. By the way, all these same criminal farmers grow organic food to feed their own families. Check it out for yourself.

    1. Uh, yeah ok.

      The only farmers that love GMO’s are the subsidized farm corporations.

      So, that’s like, what, all of them? Farm subsidies are terrible and should be ended, but the myth that there exists some sort of noble organic “family farmer” who doesn’t benefit heavily from the same subsidies is a ridiculous concoction.

      I live in farm country, all of the farmers I know love Round-Up Ready seeds.

      The science has been completely corrupted.

      But you probably still think the world is going to turn into a fireball because of fossil fuel burning by humans, right?

      You will see sick animals that can only survive eating this garbage with the consumption of anti-biotics and steroids.

      Evidence please.

      By the way, all these same criminal farmers grow organic food to feed their own families.

      Evidence please.

  10. Even in a bag of seed corn that is Bt, you’ll find about a small percentage of it that is “traditional” seed. Gives the bugs something to eat to help keep the effectiveness of the modification. You’re almost sure to lose all of the plants from those seeds to pests, but it’s better in the long term.

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