The farmers of the world are caught in the middle in this tug-of-war between consumers, government, and the Monsantos of the world. Depending on who you talk to, the stakes are whether the world will go hungry in the near future due to population growth, or whether genetically modified crops will destroy the delicate balance of our ecosystem.
The USDA issued a release this past week stating that the agency does not have any plans to regulate plants that have been genome-edited… What the USDA is doing here is drawing a line in the sand: if a plant (or whatever) is altered by adding genes from some unrelated plant, it’ll be regulated. If no other plant is involved, you can mess around in the genome of your subject however much you want, without oversight. Plants that would thus qualify for regulation-free modification include those edited with a process usually referred to as CRISPR, or gene editing.
Food products should not be labeled as “non-GMO” if there is no GMO counterpart for that product.
That was the measure approved by delegates at the annual American Farm Bureau Federation convention this month. Measures approved by the nation’s largest farming organization ranged across a series of topics important to agriculture, from crop insurance to trade to immigration. The measures taken up at the national convention start at the county level before being approved at the state level.
“Farmers everywhere, whether they’re organic or conventional or using GMOs, they’re all trying to do the same thing: They’re trying to produce successful harvests, they’re trying to manage pests, they’re trying to do the right thing in the environment, and they’re trying to create a viable business model, so that they can hand it down to the next generation.”
-Mike Frank, senior VP and chief commercial officer of Monsanto
There is a new trend happening regarding wheat (and other commodities presumably), where farmers are taking care to preserve the identity of their crops, thus demanding higher prices. Continue reading “Local Wheat?”