Know the Facts about GMOs

Know the Facts about GMOs

By Paige McFarland; Intern

“Biotechnology has helped farmers grow 311.8 million tons more food per acre in the last 15 years.”  (www.croplife.org).

How are we going to feed more people on less land and with only 1% of our population being farmers? That’s a great and frequently asked question. So what’s the answer, you ask? Biotechnology- but what is that? A new website called  www.gmosanswers.com gives us this definition of biotechnology:

Biotechnology in plant agriculture has come to mean the process of intentionally making a copy of a gene for a desired trait from one plant or organism and using it in another plant. The result is a GMO (genetically modified organism).”

This image was found on gmoanswers.com to brief consumers on how it all started.

This image was found on gmoanswers.com to brief consumers on how it all started.

 

There are a multitude of common misconceptions involving biotechnology in agriculture. So how do you as a consumer distinguish between the facts and fiction of this topic? Here is the truth behind a few commonly discussed issues with GMO’s.

Fact or Fiction: GMO’s are bad for our environment.

Fiction. Here are the facts:

There will be an estimated 9 billion people on the planet by the year 2050. The World will need 100 percent more food than we produce today. 70 to 80 percent of that food will have to come from improving technologies. Well folks, 2050 sounds like a long ways off but that is in 37 years. Biotechnology in agriculture is an efficient, cost-effective AND environmentally sound way to accomplish this. Using GMO’s is increasing yields in the fields that have been planted, therefore farmers are becoming more efficient on less land. Farmers are some of the greatest environmental stewards.

“Our deep respect for the land and its harvest is the legacy of generations of farmers who put food on our tables, preserved our landscape, and inspired us with a powerful work ethic.”- James H. Douglas, American Politician.

Fact or Fiction: GMO’s have been in our food since the 1990’s.

Fact. GMO’s were studied by scientists for YEARS before they emerged. There has been more testing on biotechnology in our crops than any other agricultural study. These biotech crops are also rigorously tested by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before emerging into our food source. Since the mid 1990’s there has not been one documented case of harm to humans or death caused by GMO consumption.

Fact or Fiction: Our crops today don’t have as much nutritional value due to GMO’s.

Fiction. Through the rigorous Food and Drug Administration (FDA) testing they have found that GMO’s have the same, if not better, nutritional value as non GMO’s. This includes the same levels of amino acids, fibers, proteins, minerals and vitamins.

Farmers and the agricultural industry deserve to be respected for all the advancements and improvements they have made in the last 50 years and even more so for the substantial amount of work they will do in the next 50 years. It’s not an easy job, if it were everybody would do it. Don’t forget to ‪#‎thankafarmer and ‪ #‎agvocate every chance you get folks.

If you still have questions about GMO’s and biotechnology you can visit the following links for some extra information:

http://gmoanswers.com

http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Biotechnology-infographic_.pdf

http://findourcommonground.com/

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