Thursday, February 12, 2015

Ag Chat: GMO Myth Busters

 

Today's Ag Chat is all about busting some common myths about genetically modified organisms or GMOs.  GMOs are a hot topic for consumers and agricultural producers, but I think it's important to share some fact based information with you!  No psuedo-science here.  I hope that you take a kernel (a GMO kernel to be specific!) of this info and share it with someone.

It's important that I pass along information about GMO's to each of you, but it's probably even more important for you to hear from America's farmers about why they make the choice to plant GMO crops!

The video below was created by CommonGround, an organization of farm women who want to help educate consumers about the food they're buying.  In the video, you'll hear one Minnesota farmer's perspective on why she chooses to plant GMOs on her family farm. 




Okay, time for some myth busting...  Read the statements below and then scroll to the bottom to find out if they're a myth or fact!

Q1.  A GMO is an organism that has had it's genetic material changed to exhibit a particular trait.
Q2.  There are more than 100 GMO crops available today for farmers to plant.
Q3.  Gluten allergies are caused by GMOs.
Q4.  Agriculture companies, like Monsanto, are forcing farmers to plant GMOs.
Q5.  GMOs allow farmers to use fewer chemicals, like pesticides and herbicides, on their crops.
Q6.  Crops grown from genetically modified seeds are studied extensively to make sure they're not dangerous for humans, animals and the environment.
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Q1.  A GMO is an organism that has had it's genetic material changed to exhibit a particular trait.
A1.  Truth!

Q2.  There are more than 100 GMO crops available today for farmers to plant.
A2.  Myth!  Actually, there are only EIGHT GMO on today's market.

                             

Q3.  Gluten allergies are caused by GMOs.
A3.  Myth!  Gluten is only found in products that contain wheat, barley or rye.  None of which have a GM version.

Q4.  Agriculture companies, like Monsanto, are forcing farmers to plant GMOs.
A4.  Myth!  To help reiterate this point, I want to share with you a quote from a personal friend and Illinois farmer... 
"I disagree, the market dictates what we plant.  As a farmer, we look for the best way to utilize every acre of ground to bring to market a premium product with a high net per acre all while being good stewards of the ground and environment for years to come."

Q5.  GMOs allow farmers to use fewer chemicals, like pesticides and herbicides, on their crops.
A5.  Truth!  Some GMOs have genetic traits that make them resistant to insects or diseases.  By creating that resistance, the pesticide or herbicide that would typically get rid of that insect or disease is no longer needed.  This saves farmers time and money, while reducing their impact on the environment!  

Q6.  Crops grown from genetically modified seeds are studied extensively to make sure they're not dangerous for humans, animals and the environment.
A6.  Truth!  On average, it takes approximately $135 million dollars and 13 years to bring a new GM product to market.  Why?  Because not only does the United States Department of Agriculture review them, but so does the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration. 

For additional sources of information on GMOs, agriculture and farming practices, I urge you to check out these sources:





Thursday, January 22, 2015

Ag Chat: Who Grew My Soup?

The primary role of my new job is to educate students, teachers and community members about agricultural education through workshops, classroom visits and career fairs.  If you've been reading The Purple Front Door for any length of time, you probably know that this is something near and dear to my heart.  It's how I was raised, but it should be important to everyone because we all eat!  

Frankly, farmers feed us!  

Bloggers represent a wide variety of people/interests/backgrounds and I want to do my part to continue to spread what is important to me and my life, but how it also impacts everyone.  With that I'm bringing back Ag Chat with The Purple Front Door....


For the last two weeks I had the privilege to help educate 8th graders from 13 area schools at our county's annual Education for Employment Career Conference.  While doing some digging about prospective topics, I came across the book Who Grew My Soup? by Tom Darbyshire.  While the content of the book was a little young for 8th graders, the message conveyed was too good not to share!  

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Phineas Quinn appears to be just another young boy refusing to eat his vegetables, until he begins to wonder, “Where exactly do the vegetables come from?”  Who grew his soup?  Enter a flying tomato hot air balloon and one SOUPervisor…  Phin is transported to the farms where the vegetables were grown and learns valuable lessons from the farmers who grew them!  

By clicking this link, you’ll have the opportunity to listen and learn more about Tom Darbyshire’s book, Who Grew My Soup?  My only qualm with the video is where they show a Holstein cow while Tom is talking about raising Black Angus.  I'm certain Tom knows the difference, but someone needed to sit through one of my classroom presentations!  

I encourage you to check out (literally and figuratively) the book and let me know what you think.  Maybe even read it with your family, I'm certain it will spark some conversation around your kitchen table!