In Their Own Words: Farmers Weigh In on GMOs, Part Five
Series: The Benevolent Side of GMOs
Calling all farmers!
5. If you could pick and choose GM traits that you would like to see available for your crop(s), whether or not they even yet exist, what would they be? This is your chance to dream!
M. Bendzela/Dow Farm: I would die for potatoes with stacked traits–resistance to blight and Colorado potato beetle. Same with all the nightshade crops. Maybe not “die.” I’d give a pinky finger for it, but only off my right hand because I play the fiddle. One day, all foods will be genetically engineered. Perhaps farmers will even be able to select and insert their own favorite traits into crops, tailoring them for their particular climates. They’ll do it in their garage. “Hybrids,” products of “conventional” breeding, may one day be as obsolete as the apples in our heritage orchard. Imagine Yellow Transparent apples that were engineered to resist scab! I spray, spray, spray (like right now: it’s scab season in Maine) to keep the fungus spores from germinating because they just ruin the appearance of those apples.
I have just one problem with GMOs: there ain’t enough of them. Bring them on.
B. Womack/Homestead Hill Farm: If I could pick GM traits, I would design pest resistant vegetables, potatoes and tomatoes that could withstand colder temperatures and flowers that would withstand the overzealous application of weed-killers and weed-whackers by husbands hoping to neaten up the place.
D. Wilde/West Texas Cotton Farm: GM cottonseed that would produce a bale and a half of cotton to the acre on only 6” of rainfall per year. (The dream of every dryland cotton farmer out here next to the Chihuahuan Desert!)
J. Hoadley/Slow Money Farm: A tomato from which would cure all cancers. No radiation, no chemo – eat this tomato and be cancer free. That would be pretty awesome! And I think if it was available most facing cancer would take it, GMO or not. (Sleuth4Health thinks so too! I like this idea.)
B. Scott/corn, soybeans, popcorn & wheat farmer: I’m not sure I have a dream trait in mind. Nitrogen use efficiency is going to be a big deal in the future. Water use efficiency will be major. We don’t have to irrigate on our farm, but imagine if the many that do on the Plains could use less water or at a minimum make more effective use of water. I would like to see traits come to market that directly affect consumers. In fact, it would be nice if something like Golden Rice had taken off before something like Roundup Ready soybeans did. The consumer cannot easily see the benefits of biotechnology readily at this time. I believe traits that improve nutrition will help change a lot of perceptions often fueled by rhetoric and scare tactics used against biotech.
There was something in this questionnaire that really surprised me – to learn that some of the more localized CSA and farmers market types would welcome GMOs if they could get them but they’re not available for that size or type of operation. Granted, the customer base would have to be accepting of the technology, but even so, it was a surprise to me.
Again, I’d like to extend my appreciation to all the farmers who participated. I thank you for your candor and willingness to share a piece of your lives in this manner. First-hand accounts like these educate, enlighten and they’re a nice piece of Americana!
My, my, it has rained buckets here in the Portland area today, all day, won’t let up, highest rain measured for the year so far in fact. Makes me wonder if this rain is good for our local farms or is it drowning the fresh spring plantings?
update 7/1/2013: Kihei, Maui weather is perfect every day. I will be touring the Piilani Monsanto facility later today. I hope to blog about it.
~Julee K @ Sleuth4Health