Thought I could make it through 30 Days without jumping on the biotech bandwagon, yet the end draws near and I’m jumping.
For someone (me) whose business and livelihood involve biotechnology, reading the untruths and the crazy conspiracy theories surrounding the science is exhausting. Particularly, when I see the benefits on our farm; when My Farmer can run the numbers showing reduced pesticide use, reduced fuel usage and increased yields on less land, with less water and less fertilizer.
What I find frustrating is that food conversations always begin in the produce aisle, but end in the corn field with an attack on biotech. A strange double standard seems to exist when talking biotechnology. It’s bad in the corn field, but maybe not so much in a blueberry bush.
We like seedless watermelon, but no one seems to equate that convenience to changing some genes in a watermelon vine. Container vegetable gardens are quite popular, but again the fact that a tomato or pepper plant will only grow so big is never linked to a change in the plant’s DNA.
National Geographic magazine runs a feature in each issue titled “Future of Food”. In short bites, NG is sharing information about the need to increase food production 70 percent by 2050, recognizing we must do this on less land with less water and with less people involved in food production while feeding more mouths.
Here’s a bit from December’s issue:
“Rice is the main staple for more than half the world’s population, and that appetite is growing. As land and water get scarcer, new rice production will have to come not from irrigated paddies but from dry fields, which typically yield less. Scientists are using conventional plant breeding to make dry land rice farming more productive. And they’re trying to genetically reengineer the grain’s photosynthesis process so that the crop grows bigger and faster with less water.”
“Ethiopia’s Rice Explosion: New rice varieties help farmers grow the crop in colder, drier areas, as well as swampy lowlands.”
“. . . This year Australian scientists announced that they had crossed modern-day wheat with an ancestral cousin to create strains that can better withstand salty soil. A new salt-tolerant variety of durum wheat in Australia increases yields on salty soils by 25 percent.”
Do you see my point? NG, not typically a big supporter of modern day agriculture, is touting the benefits of plant science – of scientists’ understanding a plant’s genetic make-up and its ability to grow, of scientists making changes to allow a plant to grow better, produce more and use less. If I’m not mistaken this is biotechnology doing what it should.
I know. I know. There is so much more to this conversation, so many more questions, arguments, studies, research, fact and fiction. I’ll jump off the bandwagon with this: Biotechnology is a tool farmers use to manage their crops, not control Mother Nature. If anyone understands the delicate balance we must strike between nature and science, that person is the farmer – the Illinois corn farmer, the Texas cotton farmer, the California grape grower, and the Idaho potato farmer.
Okay. Roll on bandwagon. I’ve jumped off now.
Read more 30 Day blogs starting with My Generation. And follow more of my 30 Days of the Not So Glamorous Life of this Farm Wife:
- Day 1: Hunger Games. Hungry Planet.
- Day 2: Chili, Children, & Checkers
- Day 3: My Very Fairy Farm Princess
- Day 4: Sunday School Lesson
- Day 5: Wackie Day. Wackie Cake.
- Day 6: Tricked Out Tractor
- Day 7: God Bless Teachers
- Day 8: Just Breathe
- Day 9: Meet My Farm Boy
- Day 10: Date Night
- Day 11: America the Beautiful
- Day 12: What Farm Wives Discuss When Farmers Aren’t Around
- Day 13: Working Calves
- Day 14: Leavin’ On A Jet Plane
- Day 15: A Face in the Crowd
- Day 16: Home Again & Harvest Dinner
- Day 17: Spring Cleaning
- Day 18: 4-H Superheroes
- Day 19: I’m Nuts About. . .
- Day 20: Prepping for Turkey Day
- Day 21: Backhoe Bonanza
- Day 22: I’m Thankful for . . .
- Day 23: So Long Turkey
- Day 24: To Farm or Not to Farm
- Day 25: Christmas Walk
- Day 26: Common Country Courtesy
- Day 27: Where the Farmers Meet