What is in this article?:
- Science sides with agriculture as global population booms
- Sustainability vs. profitability
- Suggestions on what agriculture needs to do to be more “environmentally friendly” are in abundance; most reports fall short in giving growers the rightful credit for the tremendous job they are now doing in keeping the world fed.
- No matter how “sustainable” a project is, if it doesn’t make money it will eventually fail. Ask any farmer or rancher. If it isn’t profitable, it won’t be sustainable.
- GMO foods currently on the market have passed risk assessments and no adverse human effects have been observed resulting from the consumption of such foods.
Sustainability vs. profitability
Beyond all the talk is a single economic principle: No matter how “sustainable” a project is, if it doesn’t make money it will eventually fail. Ask any farmer or rancher. If it isn’t profitable, it won’t be sustainable. This fact must be uppermost in the minds of those wishing to discredit modern day production agriculture that safely integrates the usage of pesticides and fertilizers – public opinions which unfortunately fail to reflect the tremendous advances in food production that California growers are using each day to keep the world's food supply safe, affordable and plentiful while also protecting the environment.
Lastly is the ongoing debate over genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the food chain. For decades now there has been a growing number of people who do not trust food products that have been genetically altered. They believe there hasn’t been enough scientific research done to properly evaluate these foodstuffs and they are fearful that these ungodly “Frankenfoods” will eventually make them sick – in which they may suffer maladies such as hair growth on the bottoms of their feet or an extra nostril or third eye.
In a recent year-long study about GMOs and their usage on crops in Monterey County – California’s third largest crop-producing county – it was recommended that the Monterey County Board of Supervisors “not consider” a moratorium on the growth and cultivation of GMO crops in the county.
The study was requested by Supervisor Dave Potter and conducted by the staffs of the county’s agricultural commissioner and director of Environmental Health. Potter asked for the study after more and more citizens expressed concerns about GMOs in their foods and environment. Here’s what the researchers concluded:
• GMO foods currently on the market have passed risk assessments and no adverse human effects have been observed resulting from the consumption of such foods.
• The research found little scientific evidence that GMOs pose significantly more threats of cross-pollination contamination (gene flow) and environmental drift than do conventionally bred crops.
• The use of GMO crops with insect and herbicide-resistance traits has resulted in cumulative reductions in chemical usage (particularly for some pesticides and herbicidesthat are less specific pest targeted), resulting in decreased impacts to farm workers, consumers and the natural environment.
• Biotechnology may become a key resource for developing local crop cultivars adapted for climate change.
These research findings about the positive impacts of GMOs, coupled with the use of BMPs in modern day farming technology, serve to dispel fears and apprehensions about production agriculture being a greedy monster out to destroy the planet and poison the world’s food supply. Put simply, the “science” is on our side as we are confronted with the daunting task of feeding an ever growing global population. It is a noble task indeed.