This Farmers Perspective on GMOs
I am a member of an endangered species. I am an American Farmer. We farmers represent less than one percent of this nation’s population, yet our numbers continue to dwindle each year as agri-business giants like Monsanto, Cargill, and ADM devour us. I don’t understand why banks are too big to fail, but nothing is done to stem the alarming loss of healthy small farms, almost always family enterprises. Banks can fail; agriculture cannot. We do not eat or drink money.
These are difficult times, to be sure. The economic and social challenges facing our nation are worsened by the tragic disconnect between our government and the people. Who works for whom? As giant corporations and banks continue to have their cake and eat it too, 99 percent of the rest of us are expected to pay our taxes and to be satisfied with the crumbs. Worse still, the crumbs are genetically modified (GM). They are the illusion of crumbs.
Genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) run rampant like a plague, spreading poisonous genes into food and fiber crops, livestock, wildlife, insects, birds, the soil, and unsuspecting people. We are what we eat, and we are eating toxic unnatural food contrived in laboratories by billion-dollar chemical companies. Ninety percent of American corn, cotton, canola, soybeans, and sugar beets are genetically modified today. Eighty percent of all processed foods on our grocery shelves are made with GM ingredients. Livestock are fed primarily with genetically-modified feed in feed lots and factory farms, and those malnourished, sickened cattle, pigs, and chickens are the chief source of our protein.
I was impressed when the First Lady planted an organic garden near the White House, but I was stunned President Obama hired former Monsanto big wig, Michael Taylor, as this nation’s Food Czar. The former VP of Public Policy at Monsanto, the world’s largest supplier of GM products and the company that brought us DDT and Agent Orange, assures us his former employer’s fake food is safe to eat. How comforting for all of us.
I’m astounded that 90 percent of my fellow farmers plant genetically-modified seeds without realizing what they sow. We’ve somehow convinced ourselves that seeds injected with genes from herbicides, pesticides, and antibodies present no danger to nature. The environmental costs of GMOs are dangerous, if not devastating. Higher doses of more dangerous herbicides are required to kill weeds that have mutated to resist multiple generations of toxins. I see super weeds and soil degradation ravaging genetically-modified cotton fields all around my farm.
More alarming, studies are beginning to suggest the harmful effects of genetically-modified foods on the body and mind, such as higher rates of cancer and diabetes. Neurological disorders such as autism have risen 1200% in children since 1990. Although that rate has not yet been linked directly to GMOs, there is more than enough evidence of the threat they pose to our nation’s health and welfare.
I am also alarmed that Monsanto and other corporations are gobbling up the indigenous seed supply, endangering not only the viability of organic farming but the health of the American people. As farmer Percy Schmeiser says, genetically-modified and organic crops “cannot exist in the same place,” and I see malevolent design in Monsanto’s numerous lawsuits against Schmeiser and other organic farmers over the last 15 years.
I have a family to support and thousands of acres to oversee, and I left both in November for an entire week to join The Right 2 Know March from New York City to Washington, D.C. We marched to remind President Obama of his promise to ensure that GMOs would be labeled. I was one of those who addressed the crowd gathered last Sunday in front of the White House. But I wonder if anyone heard us.
I walked only 60 of the 313-mile march, having joined en route, but the march goes on. My Texas farm is surrounded by genetically-modified cotton, my children are fed genetically-modified foods in the schools, and grocery store aisles are filled with unlabeled genetically-modified foods.
About 50 countries have banned GMOs or required their labeling. Our country has done neither. We are poisoning ourselves. This is a slow, sluggish genocide on the American people. I, like many Americans, have to wonder is the payoff from these chemical companies so tempting that our government would rather poison its own people than provide a simple label?
I am a simple man, and I believe that if people at least have healthy food, clean water, shelter and love, they can make it through the most difficult of times. But for Americans, healthy food is difficult to come by these days. A good place to start is with a simple label. After all, everyday eats.