Are you confused about what a genetically modified organism is? Here is a great, short video explanation of a GMO.
Perhaps one of the most common questions I am asked in regards to pesticides is, “Is Glyphosate Safe?” So let’s take a closer look at this topic.
Glyphosate is a herbicide introduced by Monsanto and used by farmers to help control weeds. Glyphosate is also known as RoundUp. On our farm, we have used glyphosate for many years. In fact, this picture is from the early 80’s. We were spot spraying weeds with RoundUp. This was before our seeds used the GMO technology.
Weeds. Weeds are a continual problem for farmers. When RoundUp (glyphosate) is used, it will kill any plant. The only exception would be glyphosate-resistant plants(weeds). This happens when glyphosate has been repeatedly used and the plant, over time, develops a resistance. Prior to using RoundUp, we used much more toxic herbicides. It’s imperative that we keep changing the herbicides we use to help lessen herbicide-resistant weeds. Weeds need to continually change. If they didn’t they would be extinct. And we know weeds are alive and well!
Does Glyphosate cause cancer?
Rats, dogs and mice were repeatedly fed glyphosate at differing rates which resulted in no cancer. The EPA also stated there is enough evidence to support the same results.
How does it affect wildlife?
Glyphosate is only slightly toxic to wild birds and is practically non-toxic to fish. Glyphosate is also nearly non-toxic to bees.
What about the IARC report indicating the toxicity of glyphosate?
Yes, the original report from the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) did indicate glyphosate was a probable carcinogen. What we later found out was the WHO cancer agency edited out the word “non-carcinogenic” in its report. No one from the agency said who or why the change was made. Keep in mind that working a night shift, caffeine, high-temperature frying, very hot beverages and being a hairdresser are also classified as probable carcinogens.
Based on the length of time we have used glyphosate, chances are there are trace amounts in our food. There was a multi-university study done on the effects of accidental consumption of RoundUp. The results? It undergoes little metabolism, does not accumulate and is excreted mostly unchanged in feces and urine.
At the end of the day, farmers need to control weeds in their fields. If weeds are left unchecked, they use important nutrients and water that should be used by our crops. Farmers would love nothing better than to not use pesticides. They cost money. In fact, they cost a lot of money. But the economic impact is much worst if the weeds are out of control. I remember the days before glyphosate. The herbicides we used were terrible and I was always nervous about using them. When RoundUp was introduced, we were relieved because it was less toxic. And better yet, how effective RoundUp was and the cost was very reasonable.
Agriculture will continually find new and better ways to control pests (weeds and insects). Just like we always have.
“I think GMOs make my family sick. Not enough research has been done on GMOs to prove they are safe. Europe has banned GMOs, why doesn’t the United States?”
These common statements indicate that moms have concerns about the GMO technology. Simply put, they want to know if GMOs are safe, they want GMO facts. I had the privilege of attending a GMO conference in St. Louis with other farm moms from all over the U.S.
CommonGround and National Corn Growers Association sponsored the conference. CommonGround is a volunteer group of farm moms who talk and answer questions other moms have about how their food is either raised or grown. Our ultimate goal is we want them to make food decisions based on fact and not fear.
Our conference started with a tour of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. With excitement in the air, all 22 of us stepped off the bus looking forward to a day of learning!
My first question was answered almost immediately. Who funds the research at the Danforth Plant Science Center? I was always told, “follow the money” when researching issues. It was so refreshing to hear the Danforth Plant Science Center is an independent research facility. Very little money (about 10%) is contributed from corporations to conduct research. Continue Reading
Yesterday I had the honor of being interviewed by Minnesota Public Radio. The subject of the interview is how agriculture has changed over the years, specifically technology changes. I was chosen because my family has been farming for many years. In fact, we are in the midst of planting our 39th crop. So yes, I have seen many changes over the years. One of the most important technological changes is GMOs. Prior to the interview, I spent some time thinking back before we used GMOs–thinking about Life before GMOs.