Popcorn Rejection

No, that’s not the name of a disco band from yesteryear. Yesterday we shared a video from Iowa State University regarding cleaning equipment used in IP grain harvesting. This is a case from a few year’s ago of a farmer’s load of popcorn being rejected for testing positive for a GMO. The farmer was Scott McPheeters of Gothenburg, Nebraska. According to Scott, he’s not the only one.

“And of course you don’t want to tell anyone because it is like a Scarlet Letter. But the truth is, it does happen.”

There are huge financial incentives to getting it right when it comes to grain purity. It may take anywhere from an hour to an entire day or more to clean a combine so that there are no offending kernels left to contaminate a load. In many cases, this extra time is well worth it if the crop will garner a much higher bushel price on the identity-preserved market. Even more important are overseas exports, where even a small amount of impurity can cause a crop to be rejected. A combine can contain one hundred pounds or more of grain and other materials after running clean for a minute after processing a load. Newer machines are becoming easier to clean than the older ones, but it sometimes makes sense to have separate machinery to process the IP grain, especially since having the machine down for cleaning at the peak of production is not a good thing for business.

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