Non-GMO Farms Fear Contamination

2 years 11 months 2 weeks ago March 05, 2014 Mar 5, 2014 Wednesday, March 05 2014 Wednesday, March 05, 2014 7:42:00 AM CST in News
By: Alexandra Engel, KOMU 8 Reporter
Embed Code Copied

NORBORNE - The United States Department of Agriculture is looking for public input on how to improve the co-existence between two types of farming; GMO and non-GMO.

GMO stands for genetically modified organisms. In the 70's, various companies started experimenting with natural seeds (non-GMO) by altering their genetic make-up. The goal was to create a crop that was immune to a glyphosate spray, which kills weeds and insects. The most active ingredient in this spray is sodium chloride, better known as table salt.

The rapid success of GMO farming was due to a variety of reasons. Todd Gibson is a GMO farmer in Norborne Missouri that grows GMO soybeans. He made the transition to GMO seeds after observing his neighbors success with them for a few years.

"If you look at a non-GMO farm there's weeds everywhere and it's messy. GMO farms are perfectly maintained with a lot less labor. That's where I think we actually help the environment. My carbon imprint is a lot less than if I used non-GMO seeds," said Gibson.

Gibson spends noticeably less time running his tractors since switching to G-M-O farming. Because of this, he's burning less fuel and creating a smaller carbon footprint than before.

More than 80% of all soybeans, cotton, and corn grown in the United States are GMOs. The majority of these crops are shipped to other countries or fed to livestock.

"If we didn't use GMO, there would be a lot less food production, and that affects everyone," said Gibson.

But not everyone sees GMOs as a harmless and helpful advancement. The rising health trend in the U.S has led to a number of states passing laws that GMO and non-GMO foods must be labeled.

The store manager of Natural Grocers, Jessica Henroid, wants those labels for consumers in Missouri.

"All I want is to educate people. They have a right to know what's in their food. I don't see the harm in labeling everything and letting the market decide for itself," said Henroid.

She said there's a lot of shoppers asking her about non-GMO products and organic products. Contrary to popular belief, there is a difference between non-GMO and organic farming.

According to the USDA, to be a certified organic farmer your crops must be grown without pesticides and use limited variety of fertilizers. Non-GMO farmers are allowed to use any pesticides and fertilizers they want but must use unaltered seeds.

The struggle between non-GMO farmers and GMO farmers rests in the spray and seed itself. If the GMO farmer accidently sprays the non-GMO seed, the non-GMO crops will die because they're not immune.

The most difficult issue to solve is the spread of seeds themselves. For example, if a bee pollinates on the flower of a GMO soybean plant and then flies over to a non-GMO crop and pollinates, the non-GMO crop is contaminated.

Non-GMO crops are tested before the farmer is paid for his product. If the GMO seed is present in the test, the non-GMO farmer cannot sell to the non-GMO market. They also cannot sell to the GMO market because they are not a certified GMO seed.

Besides cross-pollination, GMO seeds can spread simply by the wind. The USDA recommends non-GMO farmers create large buffer zones to prevent contamination. The problem is that means non-GMO farmers must give up portions of their field to safely grow their crops. Obviously, this means less production for the farms.

The USDA also requires an expensive certification process to be an organic farmer. If the food is labeled as organic, it's automatically non-GMO and pesticide/fertilizer free. Many people, like Henroid, don't think it's fair to ask non-GMO farmers to give up portions of their land for buffer zones and complete the expensive certification process.

Gibson disagrees with that.

"Organic and non-GMO farmers can sell their crop at a premium. So I think if they get more money for their crops, they should take on the cost of protecting them. We farmers don't work for any seed company, it's completely our choice what we want to grow and if that's what you decide on then you have to pay for it," said Gibson.

The USDA is reviewing public comments after March 4 before discussing how they will improve the co-existence between these two types of farming.

 

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Columbia Regional Airport is about to get the renovation its been hoping for. The small airport currently flies... More >>
1 hour ago February 20, 2017 Feb 20, 2017 Monday, February 20 2017 Monday, February 20, 2017 7:37:00 PM CST in News
ST. CHARLES (AP) — Agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are joining the investigation into... More >>
1 hour ago February 20, 2017 Feb 20, 2017 Monday, February 20 2017 Monday, February 20, 2017 7:06:00 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Jefferson City City Council will vote Monday evening on the Truman Hotel Urban Renewal Plan. ... More >>
2 hours ago February 20, 2017 Feb 20, 2017 Monday, February 20 2017 Monday, February 20, 2017 6:42:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - Missouri's new first lady, Dr. Sheena Chestnut Greitens, said she is committed to keeping politics separate from her... More >>
2 hours ago February 20, 2017 Feb 20, 2017 Monday, February 20 2017 Monday, February 20, 2017 6:30:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - In the past two decades, the number of fatal opioid overdoses has skyrocketed, and the medical community has... More >>
5 hours ago February 20, 2017 Feb 20, 2017 Monday, February 20 2017 Monday, February 20, 2017 3:42:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA – As unusually warm weather brings a feeling of early spring across Missouri, it also speeds up the lawn... More >>
5 hours ago February 20, 2017 Feb 20, 2017 Monday, February 20 2017 Monday, February 20, 2017 3:27:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - The mayor's medical tourism task force has finalized its recommendations on how to make Columbia a medical hub... More >>
6 hours ago February 20, 2017 Feb 20, 2017 Monday, February 20 2017 Monday, February 20, 2017 2:35:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - Stress may seem like one of those things that we all talk about being under from time to... More >>
7 hours ago February 20, 2017 Feb 20, 2017 Monday, February 20 2017 Monday, February 20, 2017 1:47:00 PM CST in News
ST. JOSEPH (AP) — Th e Missouri S tate Highway Patrol says a 27-year-old man was died after a police... More >>
7 hours ago February 20, 2017 Feb 20, 2017 Monday, February 20 2017 Monday, February 20, 2017 1:13:43 PM CST in News
PLATTE CITY (AP) — A truck driver from Springfield was sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty in... More >>
8 hours ago February 20, 2017 Feb 20, 2017 Monday, February 20 2017 Monday, February 20, 2017 12:48:59 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - MU Police identified a man suspected of kissing one unwilling female and trying to hug several others. There... More >>
9 hours ago February 20, 2017 Feb 20, 2017 Monday, February 20 2017 Monday, February 20, 2017 11:08:00 AM CST in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia City Council will discuss a proposed ordinance change Monday night that would affect the way trash... More >>
10 hours ago February 20, 2017 Feb 20, 2017 Monday, February 20 2017 Monday, February 20, 2017 10:35:00 AM CST in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia City Council will look at what could turn into a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, or PDMP,... More >>
1 day ago February 19, 2017 Feb 19, 2017 Sunday, February 19 2017 Sunday, February 19, 2017 7:00:00 PM CST in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY - Two people were arrested after taking law enforcement on a high speed chase throughout mid-Missouri Sunday, according... More >>
1 day ago February 19, 2017 Feb 19, 2017 Sunday, February 19 2017 Sunday, February 19, 2017 6:36:00 PM CST in Coverage From Callaway
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A group of homeowners raised money for a man who was arrested in their neighborhood after... More >>
1 day ago February 19, 2017 Feb 19, 2017 Sunday, February 19 2017 Sunday, February 19, 2017 6:05:00 PM CST in News
OVERLAND - The Overland Police Department cancelled the Amber Alert for a 9-month-old boy Sunday. According to police, the... More >>
1 day ago February 19, 2017 Feb 19, 2017 Sunday, February 19 2017 Sunday, February 19, 2017 2:10:00 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has started complaining about the coverage his administration receives, but the Republican... More >>
1 day ago February 19, 2017 Feb 19, 2017 Sunday, February 19 2017 Sunday, February 19, 2017 1:21:21 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia saw one of its warmest weekends of the year so far with temperatures in the high 60s... More >>
1 day ago February 19, 2017 Feb 19, 2017 Sunday, February 19 2017 Sunday, February 19, 2017 12:53:00 PM CST in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 62°
9pm 62°
10pm 60°
11pm 59°
12am 59°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

7:00p
American Ninja Warrior
9:00p
Timeless
10:00p
KOMU 8 News @ 10
8:00p
Jane the Virgin
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
American Ninja Warrior
9:00p
Timeless
7:00p
Supergirl
8:00p
Jane the Virgin
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld