Editorial: Consumers should have no fear of GMOs

Sitting in the cab of my family John Deere tractor, all I see is a small plant standing two meters high. This mighty plant is covered with fine brown hairs, surrounding the pod, stems, and leaves. The seed shows signs of a yellow and mottled color. Around the tractor, I am bounded by my hometown’s source of income, soybeans.

As a farmer, it is my job to produce enough food for the growing population. America needs food. With the help of organisms or microorganisms whose genetic material has been altered by means of genetic engineering, or GMOs, I am able to produce a greater yield.

Genetically modified organisms are a part of biotechnology. During the process of producing a quality GMO, the DNA from one organism transfers into another. For a number of years plants have been crossbred. This is done to fight off diseases and pests. GMOs only aid in the production of row crops.

Our nation’s population is continuously increasing, meaning more mouths to feed. Too many people in America are going unfed and staying hungry. With the help of GMOs, farmers have the potential to resolve the issue of malnutrition.

Genetically modified organisms possess a number of desirable traits needed for farmers to produce a hearty and healthy crop. They acquire the power to make sure a crop is grown accurately and in a timely manner. Due to their breeding and biotechnology, these crops harvest a greater yield. This gives farmers the ability to produce more crops in a lesser time period, giving Americans more nourishment.

The main factor of a GMO is the germplasm. The germplasm is the genetic information in a seed that stimulates the growth and development of the plant. The germplasm is what gives the seed the traits to produce such a desirable crop. The most common traits produced are insect resistances and herbicide tolerance. This gives farmers the ability to remove weeds by eliminating the use of herbicides and even to eliminate chemical pesticides from the fields. The insect resistance trait helps reduce insects and destruction of the crop. Both of these characteristics protect the farmer’s yield that would otherwise be lost due to insects or weeds, hence creating more food to expend. Also, the engineered organisms are resistant to disease and survive under harsh weather conditions. This characteristic truly impacts farmers, by allowing them to keep up with production even during drought, flood and freezing weather.

The two main crops that are genetically modified are corn and soybeans. In fact, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, 95 percent of soybeans and 75 percent of corn are GMOs. This is because of the high demand for both row crop products. These yields play a vital role in the biofuel industries. Many of the everyday foods people eat are produced with GMOs. Foods such as popcorn, pizza, cereal, and ice cream are just a few.

Even though there are many positives to genetically modified crops, some people oppose GMOs. They believe GMOs are harmful to the environment and should not be released into nature. Some critics say there is not enough research being done and not enough information shared with the public about what a GMO is. And even though the Food and Drug Administration has found no difference between bioengineered foods and other foods, some claim that American farmers are affecting human health negatively.

According to Monsanto, a producer of GMO seeds, “There has not been a single substantiated instance of illness or harm associated with GM crops.”

The United Soybean Board goes on to explain, “One billion acres of U.S. farmland have been planted to biotech crops and trillions of pounds of U.S. soybeans and corn have been consumed worldwide, all with no credible reports of harm to human health.”

These statements give me the confidence to say that there is truly no reason for American consumers to fear the food they are buying on the shelf. In all reality, genetically modified foods provide the buyer with even safer food to eat. Genetically modified crops actually undergo more testing beyond any other agriculture product.

According to the United Soybean Board, consumers are provided with the safest foods. The Board states, “To ensure they are safe, the U.S. government has established a rigorous approval process for biotech products that includes the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).”

Farmers in America are putting the most secure and quality-assured foods on your plate to eat. No farmer would be willing to sell and market a product that could endanger a person’s life. Farmers, like myself, consume the genetically modified crops on a daily basis. If these GMO commodities were not healthy enough for our own bodies, we would not feed them to another family. America needs food and with the support of the GMO crops we will be able to keep this country fed.

By Samantha Gibson
Corner Post Staff Writer