Factory Farmed Animals Live in Horrible Conditions and GMOs Will Kill You!

These poor cattle will spend the rest of their lives lounging around, being served food, and having their bedding fluffed. Such a rough life they will live in confinement.

I often find myself in a predicament.  This usually happens when I go looking for trouble.  Somewhere out there in cyberspace, someone will post an article about “Big Bad GMOs,” or the horror of “Factory Farming.”  Inevitably, the comments on these sorts of things are filled with hatred and inaccuracy.  There is always mention of “greedy industrial farmers who only care about making money while ruining the environment and confining animals.”  As a farmer who raises livestock and crops with so-called “industrial” methods, these things always get me going, and they always put me in a difficult situation.

I will reply (yeah, I know, glutton for punishment) by posting a comment to the tune of, “As a farmer who uses modern methods of livestock production, I get tired of people telling me that I treat my animals poorly and my crops are poisoning people.”

And the response almost ALWAYS is something like this:  “Well, I’m sure YOU don’t treat YOUR animals badly.  But INDUSTRIAL agriculture does, they cram their animals into CAFOs and they rob GOOD farmers like YOU from making a living.”

And that, right there, is where the gigantic disconnect between the consumer and the farmer comes in.  I’m still not sure how to bridge this gap.  I often envision myself taking said cyber-person by the shoulders and shaking them.

Here’s the deal.  I AM “INDUSTRIAL” AGRICULTURE!!  Along with thousands of other farm families working hard to feed the population.  When you say “CAFOS ARE EVIL!” You are telling me, my family, and the people that we work with that we are evil.  The animals we raise get sold to “BIG BAD CORPORATIONS” such as Tyson and Hormel.  We buy our GMO seed from Monsanto.  Our livestock is raised in confinement.

These resting pigs have it pretty rough too. When it's below zero outside, they have to relax in a temperature controlled barn. Their feeders have sensors on them that ensure they have access to unlimited feed. The floor allows their manure to drop into a pit below them, keeping their pens clean.

So, if I do decide to push the issue with these people who feel that all farming should look like it did in 1950, they will then proceed to tell me that they pity me.  That the EVIL CORPORATIONS have FORCED me to accept their ways and raise an INFERIOR, INHUMANE, and TOXIC product.  Clearly, I, as an individual, must be STUPID to not see it.  If I was smart, I’d choose to raise my crops and livestock without chemicals or confinement.

And here is my disclaimer, as I have stated before, I do not mean any disrespect to farmers who choose to raise their produce differently from me.  There is no one perfect way to farm, and I know that the vast majority of farmers, and food industry workers, are good people working hard to provide a quality, abundant food supply.

See, when it comes to a debate, many humans have a really hard time telling each other one-on-one that we have a problem with each other’s individual actions.  Especially, when we’re not 100% confident about what we’re debating.  It’s so much easier to throw up a scapegoat, like a faceless corporation, than to tackle an issue on a individual level.

Can you believe it? I let my son touch our GMO corn! But for some reason, he's still healthy and growing.

So, If I am really feeling feisty, I go on to say “I make the choices I make because I am confident that they are the best choices for me, my farm, my family, and the consumer. I educate myself about the applications and consequences of everything we do on the farm, and I am comfortable that the product I provide is safe, environmentally sound, and nutritious.”

And then, I’m told I am a fake.  I can’t possibly be real.  The “BIG CORPORATIONS” have brainwashed me and I am a paid fake.  And if I am real, then I have destroyed their faith in humanity.  Because it just can’t be possible that there’s more to agriculture than what Michael Pollan (the director of the horribly biased Food, Inc and author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma) told them.

Agriculture is my family's livlihood....and our way of life. So, yes, I do feel threatened when it comes under attack.

Here is the truth.

The animals my family cares for are raised in CAFOs and FEEDLOTS.  They are comfortable and they do not suffer, and we work our tails off every day to ensure that.  The animals’ comfort always comes before ours. The hormones and antibiotics that they receive are given in a prescribed manner, under the direction of our veterinarian and feed specialist, according to USDA rules and guidelines.  I fully understand how these products work, and do not hesitate to feed my family the beef we raise.

My son rides in the tractor with his dad. He is adamant that he is going to be a farmer when he grows up.

Our crops are GMO and we use chemicals.  We live right in the middle of the farms where we grow our crops.  My kids play in the yard right next to our crops, they help with the planting and harvest of them.  We follow several guidelines and rules set forth by the USDA to ensure that the crops we grow are safe.  Using GMO technology has allowed us to produce more crop with less fuel, chemical, and water.

Now, if you choose to buy organic, local, or pasture-raised produce, (or whatever the latest food buzzword is) that is completely your choice.  Please, just don’t do it while saying that our “FACTORY FARM”  is inferior, because, I ensure you, we are not.

I feed my kids the beef we raise using antibiotics and hormones because I know that it is safe.

I do not hesitate to feed my family our beef (which is also sold to Tyson) and I do not care if the food I buy in the store contains GMOs.  I am confident that the US food system is reliable, safe, and continually improving.

I don’t deny that there are issues, there always will be.  I’ll admit, there are some things that I see happening in agriculture and food production today that concern me.  I am glad there are skeptics out there, because nothing should ever progress unchecked. I have faith that we will work through these issues and come out better because of it.

I do know that I am glad to be living in today’s day and age, where food-borne illness is so rare that it makes the news, as opposed to years past where it was a common cause of death.

So, back to the difficult situation I put myself in.  Reacting to bad information about farming puts me on the defensive, by default.  And for some reason, people are particularly skeptical of defensive people. At least, I know I can be.

I’m pretty defensive, aren’t I?  I’ll admit it.  Agriculture has been under attack lately, and it seems like every day there is some new piece of misinformation out there.


How can I not defend the way of life, the “BIG BAD INDUSTRY”, that I love?  How can I not reach out to consumers and show them that what my family is doing is not going to harm them, the environment, or the animals?  How can I not begin to take a proactive approach to this problem of misinformation?


262 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Caryl Velisek on January 12, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    My husband managed a feedlot and several large and small purebred beef herds for most of our adult lives together. For the past 30 years I have been a journalist with an ag weekly newspaper in the Mid-Atlantic. Here, in the east we have the opportunity to reach millions with our story. But we don’t for one reason or another. I feel I am preaching to the choir. I love what you have to say. I have a lot to say also. People are so far removed from ag they have no concept of it anymore. We have to have air, water, and food to live. I don’t think people understand that anymore. With the ever increasing population of this world, we constantly need more food and the things you talk about, like GMOs, etc., ensure we can produce enough to feed this hungry world. I could go on and on, but I don’t have to tell you these things. Just keep up your rants but make sure they get to the people that need to hear them. I don’t know how to do that all the time, but I try. Thank you.

    • Amen Caryl!! It is hard to know when you are reaching the right audience, for sure. I figure my best influence is with those who know me personally (or at least feel like they do). Which is why I try to keep things real in this blog. Thanks for reading!!

  2. Thanks for sharing this passionate rebuttal of the common myths about modern food production. Clearly you are either the exception to the rule or brainwashed by Big Ag 🙂 Seriously though, I have met many farmers and ranchers who share your dedication to caring for animals, the environemtn and raising healthy, wholesome food. They also share your frustration with the food elitists spreading this nonsense. But I do believe American consumers are becoming skeptical of the Big Green, Factory Fundraising activist rhetoric. An overwhelming majority of Americans support the work you do!

    • Thanks for reading Daren! And thanks for the support! We farmers are good at a lot of things, especially when it comes to caring for our crops and animals. But, we aren’t so good at promoting ourselves. And, quite frankly, we are just too busy doing the right thing that we do not take the time to reach out. Not to mention, most of my farmer friends are humble to a fault! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Posted by raedias on January 12, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    This is very insightful, I think it would be helpful for the consumer if you explain that when your beef product leaves your farm there no longer are any traces of antibotics in their system. Is that correct? With so much conflicting info it’s easy to see why people get lost.

    • Thank you for stopping by. You are correct, beef is tested for antibiotics, it is illegal to sell beef containing them. I have covered this somewhat, in a previous blog post, here: http://bit.ly/i87V2Q. But, I will put it on my list to go a little more in depth specifically about antibiotics in a future post! I hope you keep reading!

  4. Your lack of understanding about the problems with GMOs is another indication of the sorry state of education in our beautiful country. GMOs are a problem for the _natural_ environment. Yes, you can grow oversized corn and the nutrients in the corn are all there. You can keep your farm going on chemicals. But much like being addicted to drugs, your soil is unable to provide without the chemicals because the life within it has been destroyed. Soil is a big link in the life and death of living organisms on our planet. Move away from your biases and learn about it.

    • Thank you for the lecture. Apparently you didn’t read the part of this post where I state that I have extensively researched the consequences of the technology we employ on our farm. GMO technology simply takes what could happen in nature, and makes it happen. I do agree with you on one thing, soil IS a big link in life and death. I guarantee you that if I planted a crop this spring, and used no chemicals, it would still grow, along with a whole host of other plants, and be un-harvest-able by fall because of the overgrowth of the other plants. Our soil is healthy, and we make sure of it by testing every field every three years. Thanks for reading, and for being a skeptic. I see you are a high school science teacher, would you like to bring your class to my farm, so I can show you, in person, all that we do to ensure the integrity of our soils and other natural resources?

      • Posted by Caryl Velisek on January 12, 2011 at 5:10 pm

        Re the prhscience post: I have two sons working at an ag chemical company that supplys local farmers. As they are prone to say, the ‘chemicals’ they sell are things that are mined from the earth, things that are in the soil naturally. And they help the farmer to produce more and more food for this planet.

    • To back our blog poster up, Gmo;s have allowed us to raise more food for americans now one farmer feeds over 155 people. Theyhave also allowed us to use less fuel, no till, less cultivation. I hate to tell you but you have more antibiotic residue in your city water supply than there is in any cut of beef.

      • Thanks for the info. I know there are no antibiotic residues in meat. But am curious, do you have the info source for the antibiotics in city water, or at least, how the antibiotics get into the water? Thanks for stopping by and reading 🙂

      • Two sources, number one through improper use they are not properly digested and pass through and get recycled, number two improper disposal of meds. I will try to get you the info on that I have it here somwhere.

  5. I’m probably as far different from you as can be – but agree! 🙂 It irritating to me when people scream choice then want to eliminate the choice in food. Choice doesn’t mean agreeing – but it allows those who can afford a certain thing at the store a chance to eat. And without people like you then people like me would have to be bigger to meet demand – and I don’t necessarily want to have 3000 hogs. So as a consumer and a fellow aggie – thanks for choice both in the market and insuring choice in management/animals etc.

    • Thank you! There is room for all of us in this big world. It is possible, and a sign of maturity, to be different (even disagree) and still respect one another. Now, if only we could find an effective way to teach that to our politicians……hmmmm. Anyway! Thank you for the uplifting words!

  6. This is the best post I have read in ages! You go girl! I am linking my blog to yours right away.

  7. Posted by Craig on January 12, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    Love this blog post. You might like a similar one we wrote a few months back, called “A Tale of Two Farmers.” It’s at http://illinoisfarmbureau.wordpress.com/ Keep up the good work!

  8. Posted by Lorna on January 12, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    I am a Canadian who lives, breathes and is passionate about agriculture I also provide Ag in the Classroom support in the province! I wanted to thank you so very much for putting yourself out there and telling your story. I get many questions about GMO’s animalcare, pesticides etc. when I am in the urban setting at an event- so I feel your frustration. Awesome words!

  9. What a great debate and thanks for posting your views and putting a face on ‘big ag’. I support growing practices that are beneficial for the soil and beneficial for my health. How do we make the soil even more healthy, how do we stop the cycle of buying seeds, chemicals and fertilizers, and produce natural mechanisms that reduce pests and weeds? This isn’t going back to the 1950’s; its what the younger generation is curious about precisely because they are turned off by the effects of industrial agriculture. We think its the future. There are some very interesting studies on the health effects of GM crops on animals that may or may not interest you. Another study, given the choice, animals choose non-GM crops over GM crops. thanks for posting!

    • To stop the cycle of buying seeds, you would have to either go back to smaller-scale farming, or go to larger scale farming than we have today. Farmers would have to save their seeds. “Natural” mechanisms, such as cover crops and crop rotations are already implemented in many midwestern farms, including ours. But, they just don’t go far enough to meet the demand for low input, high yielding crops. It takes far less chemical and fertilizer to produce a bushel of corn today than it did even 20 years ago, thanks to GMO technology. Careful monitoring of soil health is a priority for us, we are concerned about future generations too. I want to have a viable, healthy farm to pass on to my kids, and their kids, and so forth.

      I am aware of only one credible study that may -possibly- link GM corn to health concerns, and in order to produce those results the rats were fed obscene amounts of corn. If it is true, than it should be able to be replicated. I’m not quite sure how an animal would be able to tell the difference between GM and non-GM….because as far as taste and nutrition…there is no difference between the two.

      I am the younger generation, your peer, and I care about the future too. Personally, I would like to see the elimination of crop subsidies, and more opportunity for our farm to explore alternative crops without the threat of disqualifying from the farm program. But, in the same breath, I don’t want to see even more dictation from regulations as to what we are and are not “allowed” to produce….I’d much rather have the consumer, and science, in the driver’s seat on that one.

      You have a neat website. I admire that you are able to debate with such a professional tone. What, might I ask, do you consider to be the “effects of industrial agriculture?” And why are they a “turn-off?”

      • I don’t know enough about the farm program as I am based in Canada but we have the wheat board and many are discontent with that. I do believe in entrepreneurialism and innovation and if this is done by the families who have their hands in the soil rather than the suits in the board room, even better.

        In regards to GMO studies, I read of one study where rodents lost the inability to reproduce after three generations after being fed GM-soy. They also developed some strange deformities. If they were fed much more GM, does that mean it accumulates in their systems and alters their genetic makeup? Maybe it is safe in the short term but not safe in the long term. Too many unknowns for me.

        The study where animals chose non-gmo food over gmo’s, I guess that one could be easily tested by putting two bowls out and see which one gets consistently emptied. Perhaps it has to do with their sense of smell?

        For me if there were far more varieties of crops being grown this would alleviate some of the pitfalls of industrial ag. Why are we losing so many varieties of corn, potatoes, some of the ancient grains for instance? Does Iowa grow as many varieties of crops as it did even 20 years ago? The more diversity in the field, the less chance for pests and weeds to take over and to wipe out crops. In addition, there’s a growing market for rare seeds and rare crops and its grass roots which is really cool.

        Have you had to purchase more and more chemicals over the years since you started growing GMO? I’m drawn to the closed loop system because nature has already evolved all the ingenious ways of dealing with waste, fertilizer, soil remediation, etc. My default is to always mimic what goes on in nature.

        I do firmly believe in non-patented open-pollinated seeds and the right of anyone to save seeds as they have done since the dawn of agriculture. It should be a human right, but that’s another discussion.

        I really appreciate your candidness and hope to continue to follow your postings. Thanks for taking the time to explain what you do!

      • As far as your comment about families with their hands in the soil, vs suits in boardrooms. I agree, and want to add to that. I do feel that both roles are necessary….but, that the suits need to spend some time with their hands in the dirt, and the farmers need to spend some time in suits. There shouldn’t be a disconnect between the two.

        On the GM-soy study…..was it compared to non-GM? Soy is very high in estrogen, regardless of GM. So I could see this happening if the rats were fed only soy. I guess we will both have to keep our faith in science on this issue. I would like to think, if there are conclusive, truly scientific studies that can be replicated, that the FDA and USDA are looking at them closely and weighing the consequences. Too many unknowns for you, but not me. I’m fine with that.

        On less varieties, I see your point. We do have less variety diversity being grown today, and I fully support what you are doing with heritage and rare seeds and such. My husband had the opportunity to tour a Monsanto plant a few years ago, where they showed him that they are still cultivating and keeping germ plasms of different varieties. So, even though they are not being planted on a large scale, we are not losing them….they are still “out there” if we were ever do need them.

        No, we actually apply less chemical per acre with GMOs. Especially insecticides. The herbicides we use are not as potent as weed killers we had to use before round-up ready technology came about. We also use much less fuel, because we don’t have to make multiple passes with a cultivator. And if you factor in the bushel per acre increase, the numbers become even better. We are using much less resources per bushel than we used to.

        I also feel we should mimic nature, but I think we need to be able to use things like GMOs, herbicides, and pesticides to do so in an environmentally sound way. I do think we should also employ “natural” methods alongside these “modern” methods. For example, we have been no-tilling on most of our farms for nearly 20 years, and every new farm we have acquired is also no-tilled. We have always planted rye as a cover crop after harvest, and are trying to make it feasible to employ aerial seeding of cover crops even before harvest. Many of our acres are fertilized almost totally by manure.

        As far as the non-patented, open pollinated issue….you’re right….we better not go there today….way too much going on here to open that can of worms! I’ll say this much…I can see both sides of that issue.

        Thank you for coming back, and thank you for the great discussion!!

      • Posted by Jason Russell on January 13, 2011 at 1:52 am

        Something you folks might like to know is that Tomato is the most genetically modified organism you can buy.

      • “I’m not quite sure how an animal would be able to tell the difference between GM and non-GM….because as far as taste and nutrition…there is no difference between the two.”

        You may not be sure, but the animals do know there IS a difference. This has bee tested multiple times. Take a looksee here: http://drleonardcoldwell.com/2010/05/27/would-you-choose-genetically-modified-food-if-given-a-choice-some-animals-won%E2%80%99t/

      • Posted by P Kasper on February 13, 2011 at 8:48 pm

        The reason why the rodents could not continue life functions normally after being fed straight corn or soy is because it wasn’t a balanced diet. Corn, natural or gmo, contains very low levels of lysine. Rats require a certain amount of lysine to survive and function normally, the same would go for the amino acid profile of soy. everything needs a balanced diet, thats why farmers employ expensive nutritional consultants for their animals. if we ate only corn and had no other food in our diets how do you think we would fare?

  10. Posted by Dave on January 12, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    I’m not in agriculture now although I grew up in an agricultural community and worked on a dairy farm in my teenage years. I understand what you’re saying and I’m with you 100%.

    I have one suggestion however. To reach people outside of the industry with your message, you’ll want to make it clear what terms like GMO and CAFO are. I’m not directly involved and had to look those terms up. The people who are firmly entrenched in their opinion on the topic already know those acronyms, but those that need the education (and can make a difference) need the jargon explained.

    Best of luck to you. Keep on blogging!

    • Thank you Dave!! You are right…it is so easy to throw terminology out there without even realizing that the average joe has no clue what you’re talking about. We all have our areas of expertise, and so we can all do this to each other! Thanks for the reminder. For the record: CAFO stands for Confined Animal Feeding Operation (Animals who spend all or most of their lives under a roof)….and GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism (crops that have been genetically altered).

  11. Posted by Mike on January 12, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    Great Keep it up.

  12. Thank you so much for your blog. You said all the things I try to tell people as well. You did it so much better than I can. I am the wife and chief truck driver for a 7th generation farmer and also part time ag writer for a local paper. I write a bi-weekly column for our paper and am surprised how many times people will argue with me about “real” agriculture. It is how we make our living, but apparently we are misinformed and “Food Inc.” is true. Like you I get very frustrated. Again, thank you for what you do and what you wrote!

    • Thank you. And thanks for sharing your frustration. It is very hard to put it in to words without “looking bad.” Believe me, I’ve had to learn that lesson the hard way, but in the long run, one has to remember that losing your temper only hurts your credibility. It is so much easier said than done though!! Keep on writing….you never really know who you’re affecting, and chances are it’s more than you could imagine!

  13. Love this post. Will share it on facebook when I get home. I just had a conversation with a woman I met last week, and she was asking why we don’t raise our turkeys organically or free range and I confidently said that I am comfortable with and proud of the way we raise our animals because I know we are doing everything possible to ensure their health and comfort.

    I just went on a field trip with my students to a Monsanto research field and they talked about how the GMOs they are working on will actually take fewer resources from the environment to grow, and help meet the growing supply for food.

    • Thanks Katie…someday I want to take a “field trip” to see a turkey farm!! Although for now, I’ll just keep learning from your blog posts, you do a good job with them!

  14. Posted by Jason Russell on January 13, 2011 at 1:43 am

    Great article Liz!

  15. Posted by Bobbie Zeran on January 13, 2011 at 4:22 am

    Caryl, I don’t know who these people are that spew their negativity towards you regarding your life, your work and your family methods but, my bright, young, energentic, caring. smart, head screwed on straight and I could go on and on and on, however, I think you get my drift. Those people mean nothing in the grand scheme of who you are and what you do. Go girl and don’t look back. You are a dying breed in America and I say God Bless You for doing what you do.

  16. Posted by Lunachance on January 13, 2011 at 11:50 am

    I enjoyed your post. I believe people generally do not know where their food comes from yet, they are more than willing to repeat soundbites they have heard (from liberal sources). I grew up on a hobby farm, raising lambs, my sister and her husband continue raising purebred Cheviots. It is frustrating to listen to people who want “organic” lamb, and they try to convince my sister to change the way she raises her lambs. She deworms and vaccinates her livestock so they will be healthier — but these actions do not allow her to use the label of organic. Yet those wanting “organic” do not understand that treating the livestock improves their lives. Most of these people vaccinate their children, but somehow, their food should not be vaccinated? I do not get it. Maybe it is because I live near Seattle…


    • Thank you. I do not want to get into a liberal/conservative discussion here, as I don’t think this issue is necessarily that. I have certainly heard some self-identified conservatives say some really off-base things about food production too. 🙂 I also don’t have much of a problem with people suggesting things to each other. I know that we have definitely taken some ideas from organic and other alternative farmers. If people out there want to buy untreated food, they should have the the option….I just don’t want them doing it while saying that what I am doing is somehow inferior. Because it’s not….it is just different.
      We have a neighbor who raises meat goats, and he has told us that his number one battle is with worms. I can certainly understand why your sister would want her sheep wormed.

  17. I think this needs to be emphasized:

    “No, we actually apply less chemical per acre with GMOs. Especially insecticides. The herbicides we use are not as potent as weed killers we had to use before round-up ready technology came about. We also use much less fuel, because we don’t have to make multiple passes with a cultivator. And if you factor in the bushel per acre increase, the numbers become even better. We are using much less resources per bushel than we used to. ”

    When I visited Monsanto last week, I asked what the ultimate goals are, and that’s what they told me: crops that use nitrogen more efficiently so less has to be applied to the soil, drought resistant crops that can be grown in other areas of the US/World without irrigation, etc. These GMOs seem to benefit the environment by using less of our resources to feed more people!

  18. Posted by Caryl Velisek on January 13, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    This is the kind of info I am looking for. I am starting an AG Facts file on my desktop to use when I write and when I talk to people.

  19. Thank you for this excellent blog post. One of my ag friends posted it on Facebook. I am passing it on through the Colorado Wheat Facebook page, our weekly newsletter, and our website. You have eloquently phrased what so many farmers want to/need to say.

  20. Posted by KS Lang on January 14, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    You’re tackling the tough stuff head on and in my humble opinion (not that it counts for much, but it’s the only one I’ve got), doing an outstanding job of generating informative and respectful dialogue. I think this is just great — probably one of the best I’ve read.

  21. […] I often find myself in a predicament.  This usually happens when I go looking for trouble.  Somewhere out there in cyberspace, someone will post an article about "Big Bad GMOs," or the horror of … Read More […]

  22. Horray for you! We also are owners of a CAFO farm – dairy. It consists of our 3rd and 4th generation family and 10 or so other families.
    Our cows lay on matresses, get fed and milked on a regular basis. They are all on the computer and the minute anything changes in their information we check to make sure they are not getting sick. I can not remember the last vacation we took – us rich factory farmers that we are. With milk prices falling into the toilet all our efforts goes to our BEBs – Brown Eye Bossies. We work long hard hours and eat way too much dirt and dust. Like you it irks me when there are slams against CAFOs. I wonder if all those in favor of going back to the 1950s way of farming would be the first to go hungry. There is no way we can feed the world with 1950 technology. I also believe there is always room for improvement and every area of food production should be watched. Let’s just be careful to be educated before we jump on the soapbox.

  23. This is a great post and a bunch of great comments!

    I think that in some ways, the recession/depression economy may turn out to be a positive in teaching the urbanite a bit more about food production. Many city folks (and many folks, period) are doing things for food that they never would have even contemplated five or ten years back.

    I’m a rabbit producer, and I not only raise them but I raise them for meat. This causes great consternation amongst those who believe that rabbits should be pets only, and those who have never had rabbit as food.

    An interesting thing I’ve discovered about myself–despite being 100% behind people growing their own food, I much prefer consuming ‘industrially produced’ foods. I know they are as safe as possible, and I know from my own education how ‘home raised’ can become hazardous or adulterated.

    I guess I’m just not a ‘natural’, after all. 🙂 Maybe it’s all those horrible GMO’s and industrially raised food….

    Speaking of which–do you grow Bt corn, and do you have monarchs on your milkweed near your fields?

    • I hear ya….I “attempted” a garden last year, it gave me a whole new appreciation for the grocery store….I’ll leave it at that 🙂 More power to those who do grow their own food!
      Yes, we have BT corn….I couldn’t tell you for sure on milkweed, but will pay attention this year. I can say that I have a ton of them flitting around my daylilies, which are grown less than 100 feet from a BT corn field.

      • Posted by Tony on January 27, 2011 at 3:42 am

        The good thing is that the whole Bt/monarch scare people got hyped up about is basically a myth. It started with one study where they basically fed caterpillars extremely high doses of Bt pollen that causes them to die. The media and certain groups jumped on it and took it as an anti-GMO piece when the actual researchers never intended such a thing when they published. The follow up studies it did encourage showed that the caterpillars do not get exposed to enough pollen to be anywhere near what they lab study was, or otherwise lethal levels. Those same media and political groups didn’t really report on that study so much though. Bt basically became a scapegoat where monarchs primary problem has more to do with the availability of milkweed, and conditions in the forests where they overwinter.

      • Thanks for the info Tony. 🙂

  24. Posted by vm on January 19, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    you are exactly what agriculture needs ! farmers and ranchers wives can do so much to promote ag. using the internet right out of their own house ! I to, am a female, however I am the one out with the cattle and horses everyday, along with my daughter. i want to thank you so much for doing this, it is very important. I think one of our biggest hurtles is getting info out to city folks – but how to do it. I wonder if any bigger city newspapers could be convinced to follow your blog or start an ag. section in their papers. We ranch near Spokane wa. which is large but still ag. orientated, however, the other side of the mountains is another story – seattle, tacoma etc. Does anyone have connections to newspapers, magazines that would be willing to help?

    • I agree…connecting with major media is a big deal. I’m not sure the “proper” way to do this, but I have sent articles to local papers and have had pretty good luck in getting them published. It’s pretty much just a matter of getting to know the right people…just as anything in life. Thanks for stopping by, and as a horse lover, I am really jealous of you!!

  25. Posted by fenixcats on January 19, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    Someone finally forwarded your blog for me to read. I am a consumer to your fine foods (thank you by the way) and even though I don’t farm, I support you!

    As usual, when one bad apple gets caught, then the whole industry is guilty. I also find most people who complain about your methods have never farmed either, so their information comes from already biased positions (example from the teacher you invited out to show the class how you REALLY do it).

    What amazes me is all these experts that say they know “how to” do it better, but I don’t see them trying to feed the world, just offering opinions. For the most part, have they ever gotten their hands dirty? I doubt it…

    As my Mom said when we were young (both sides of my family have farmed) – “you got to eat a peck a dirt before your die”. I never understood that as a kid until I woke up at 3:30 a.m., trudged out to the barn, milked the cows (temperature didn’t matter), do chores like cleanup and new bedding, etc., administer medicines if I had to, all the while talking to all the animals as friends (crazy I know) and realized just what it takes to provide to the public!

    Keep up the good work and don’t let any negativity bring you down!

    • Thanks. For the most part, I am able to discern between the unnecessary negativity and those who are honestly willing to have a conversation, but that takes a lot of time and mistakes to learn!! I firmly believe that every single person can teach you something (even if it’s how NOT to do something). Thanks for reading, and for eating! 🙂

      • Just because someone is skeptical (or negative as you call it) does not mean they don’t want to learn, understand, research. I do have a question for you. I’m starting a greenhouse garden this year and one bee hive. I’m saving organic seeds and buying certified organic seeds. Although my grandparents were farmers, I have to learn everything for the first time having lived in a city most of my life. What is the difference if you till the soil first as opposed to just planting the seeds? Can you explain the use of “cover crops?” Also, even though I thought some of my squash seeds were dried out and put them in a dark glass bottle to store, they molded. So any tips on keeping seeds? Thanks!

      • I’m not sure where I said that skeptical = negative, but if it was somehow interpreted that way, it’s not what I meant. Skeptics are good for humanity, as long as they can respect an opposing view.

        Tilling the soil serves two purposes: weed control and compaction control. Although, if managed properly, one can get by without tillage. Certain weeds do not withstand tillage well, and other weeds do. Compaction occurs when feet or equipment pass over the ground and can restrict root growth. Not tilling helps to prevent erosion, and over time, will create a nice loamy soil. One has to be careful to make as few trips over the soil as possible, though, to prevent compaction.

        Even though we do not till the soil, rain and wind erosion can be an issue. Cover crops are used to help prevent erosion, and are not always harvested. We use ryegrass and oats on the steeper slopes on our farms to help hold the soil in between crops. Sometimes our cattle will graze the crops. Cover crops can be a source of organic matter and some fertilizer, their roots also help to loosen the soil.

        Although I know a lot about raising corn, hay, soybeans, and cover crops….I am not a gardener (although I am trying). I have no advice on the squash seeds. Perhaps Anna Monique-West, who is also commenting on here, could help you in that department??

  26. Posted by brynna on January 20, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    This is so interesting. Thanks for sharing. I live in Portland, Oregon, where buying non-organics makes me feel like a leper sometimes. It’s such a relief to hear the other side of the story, which I suspected all along: people tend toward self righteous fear-mongering, however unintentionally. My dad (a surgeon) had a similar conversation with my sister (a personal trainer) recently about avoiding “chemicals” in food. He informed her that water, oxygen, calcium, and sugar are “chemicals” and that to use that word in an uninformed way is dangerous and irresponsible. She ate her words.
    Why can’t people think for themselves anymore?

    • So true. People don’t think for themselves anymore because there are others who are willing to do it for them. Very interesting story about your dad and sister. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  27. Excellent. I am sharing it far and wide.

  28. Great post! You did a great job of expressing the feelings and frustrations of many in farming. We operate a 300 cow dairy and 1800 crop farm and use modern approved scientific technology to be better farmers.So many do not understand that if we as farmers are successful then we can be sustainable which translates into a stable, reliable, safe food supply. Also, we are not making these decisions without review. We have many professionals that we consult,Veterinarians, Extension Service, Soil Scientist, Federal-State-Local Environmental professionals and the list goes on. We are inspected an a regular basis not just to see if we are in compliance but to help us implement better ways to protect our water and soil quality. Thanks once again for sharing, you are a great voice for farmers.

  29. Posted by Caryl Velisek on January 21, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    Just got a post from one of my dairy friends about comments made by Suzanne Sommers on the Today Show. Sounds like they need a rebuttal. Wonder where she got her info?

    • Ah yes, I heard about that. I’m pretty sure the majority of America will consider the source when it comes to her. I don’t think anyone who believes what she has to say could ever be convinced otherwise. I could speculate where she got her info….but that wouldn’t be very nice. 😉

  30. Posted by Caryl Velisek on January 21, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    I’d love to know where she got her info. Problem is there are people out there who believe celebrities, even her, and word gets spread while no one denies it. I’ve seen this happen too many times.

  31. Posted by Thomas Marten on January 21, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    Very well written. I love the sarcastic tone! I’ve posted this to my facebook in hopes that some of the less savvy people will read it thinking my account has been hacked by HSUS.

  32. Posted by lhaddon on January 21, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    I almost cried when I read your post. You so expressed my feelings. I am a mother of three and we raise beef cattle, turkeys, and rowcrops. I have actually had people tell me, “Well, you are the exception.” No I am not, this is the way it is done at every farm I have ever had the pleasure of being a part of or visiting. I am soooo tired of being attacked or at the least, considered ignorant by Pollanists. I have started writing an article for our local paper and plan to set up my own blog too. America does not truly understand how different (in a bad way) our lives would be without “factory farms”. The disconnect is unbelievable! If you want to pay more for organic food that is fine, but please don’t force me and other folks who live on smaller budgets to due the same.

    • It’s like talking to a brick wall some days for sure. Good luck on the article and blog. Give me a shout when you get it up and going, and I’ll gladly link to you. Thanks for stopping by!

  33. Posted by Caryl Velisek on January 21, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    Just heard Suzanne Somers is going to be back on Today on Saturday.

  34. Posted by Ruth on January 21, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    Thank you for this post. I would encourage anyone who wants to understand what genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are to go to the website http://plantandsoilscience.unl.edu
    There are some wonderful animations that explain the science of this process and why it is not possible for a person to acquire any type of gene modification from eating things made with GMOs.
    Thanks again and keep up the good work.

  35. Posted by Dana Phipps on January 22, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    Great blog. City people do need to hear our (ag) side of the story.
    Non gmo or organic production will never feed the world. Shouldn’t bad mouth gmo with a full stomach.

    • Non-GMO and organic can feed the world! I believe in CSAs and community, rooftop gardening for every neighborhood! If the climate isn’t right, then greenhouses on every block/building. Laying hens in every backyard. Neighborhood goats too. As the cost of oil goes up, we will have to do this anyway. Look at how much oil big ag uses, and you will see that as oil goes up their food will go up in price. It may seem silly today, but it is the future! Also, people want to feel secure, and I don’t see how they can when their food comes from so far away on trucks, they don’t know what’s in it or on it or what it’s been fed (the FDA does next to nothing to protect our short or long term interests), and when an oil crisis would create a food shortage. Nto to mention the packaging that leaches chemicals. I joined a CSA where I live, and I want to go even farther than that and start my own food production. It’s a big learning curve, but it has to happen. P.S. Does anyone know what to feed laying hens when you don’t have organic layer pellets?

  36. […] An Iowa farm wife recently wrote a blog post about how when she hears the accusations against “industrial agriculture,” she knows her family […]

  37. Posted by Kim on January 25, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    I read several posts to see if a similar discussion was posted and didn’t, so I will share what my experience has been and hopefully it will add to your attempts to reach the unreachables.
    I love agriculture and all that goes into farming. I love driving around in the country and admire the barns of yesteryear, wondering what it must have been like when they were new. I love seeing a field of new born calves and spring is especially exciting to smell the fresh aroma and sounds of life.
    Farming is in my blood and was a family trait on my mother’s side, but had been removed by generations of relatives getting jobs at Dupont, military, and social work.
    As for me, while my family lived on my father’s 28 acre farm, it was a dream to live a lifestyle where my kids worked the land, cared for their livestock and we butcher our own poultry, competed in 4-H and understood the demand for a quality healthy raised animal or product. We achieved most of that except one part and that was the interference of laws, regulations, intrusions and obstacles that made that dream fall apart. It was our choice to live within our means and not take government entitlements that burdened an already dependent indentured country. I majored in animal science and studied everything I could find. I am not moved by emotions and stupidity, but saw results from not trusting the FDA and USDA. When you mention Monsanto, I cringe, I don’t trust them and frankly feel the Farm Bureaus, which I used to avidly support, sold us out to the “big lobbyists”. All which made my dream a failure. The issue of forcing the NAIS was the last straw and so many feel that much control from government was a bad thing.
    The conditions and abilities of large factory farming is not the real issue. It is in my opinion that society sees the decline and delapidated barns and small farms forced to sell to pay taxes and forced to comply with over regulation that puts a fowl attitude toward the large farms that are in cohoots with government. It seems un-American that only a few get to live that life, and those who really love the life are stopped or obstructed to enjoy that very pursuit of happiness. I feel there are farms that only want to take more and more land so they can make more profit instead of allowing others to diversify the landscape. Proven in my area of course.
    I commend you for your efforts, I love the idea of both working together, but I don’t see the big guys having a heart for the family farmer & visa versa. Getting government out of the control would be a start. Otherwise we just keep cultivating a monopoly and then disaster.
    As far as my dream goes, I hope to always live in the country, raise our few animals, and hope to fight all enemies of God’s beauiful creation. I am working on an amendment to our Ohio Constitution called the Ohio Sovereignty Amendment in hopes that one day unlawful regulations will be abolished and the promise of an equal pursuit of happiness and prosperity will be restored and government will be restricted.

    • Thank you for sharing your story. I’m not sure what to say. I agree that we are quite over-regulated in this country, but my experience with Farm Bureau is that they are fighting to stop it. I’m not quite sure how NAIS could be to blame for ending your farm, as it was never implemented, and was sent back to the drawing board. Your mentality of “big guys” vs “family farmers” really bothers me, as this blog is all about addressing the fact that that is not even the issue. It’s not either-or out here in farming….it’s a wide spectrum and combination of sizes, practices, and types of farms out there. You want the government out of farming, and I agree, it should be backed off. One of Iowa Farm Bureau’s top issues is to eliminate direct payments. I am sorry you lost your dream to farm, and I wish you the best in your endeavors.

  38. Posted by Shawn McGormley on January 25, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    Thank you for your well-written post. Although I have never lived on a farm myself, I come from a line of farmers and am married to a man who grew up on a farm. He works in the ag field and works hard to educate all that will listen about the many things that you wrote about here. (I get more than an earful many evenings on the couch.) Take it as a big compliment that he shared your post on facebook saying “I couldn’t have said it better myself.” So now maybe he can stop trying to say it better :). I agree that too many people do not understand the things that they are criticizing (in farming or other places). They do not know what it would mean to try to feed the world without GMOs and chemicals or how innocuous these can be.

    I do, however, have a couple of notes regarding Michael Pollan. I have not seen Food Inc. but I checked and he was the narrator only and not the director. The only book of his that I have read is “The Botany of Desire.” I liked it a great deal. My husband is presently reading “A Place of My Own” aloud to our 14 month old during her baths. My eavesdropping on this one confirms what I thought after reading “The Botany of Desire.” – that he is an intelligent man who writes well. I reiterate that I have not seen Food Inc., nor read “Omnivore’s Dilemma” but I hate to see the entirety of anyone’s work tossed out in one fell swoop. Have you read “The Botany of Desire?” It is a wonderful history lesson about apples, tulips, potatoes and….. marijuana. I found the tulip chapter especially interesting and lesson-filled. I hope to use it when I am able to teach older children again one day.

    Thank you again for your intelligent words and the courage to share them.

    • Thank you for your points of conversation Shawn. I agree, Mr Pollan is an intelligent writer and person. But, he has an agenda, and knows how to spin things. He has some excellent dietary advice, but, let’s face it, it’s all common sense, and in order to sell that he has to put a political spin on it. I can understand why so many people choose to follow what he writes, because he is very compelling. But compelling doesn’t mean he’s right. I’ll admit, I may have swept him under the rug a bit. Thanks for stopping by and reading.

  39. Posted by Brenda Kocher on January 26, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    I agree 100% with you. My husband,son and daughter and I are all active in agriculture and try to educate the consume when ever we can.You said it perfectly keep up the good work of writing your articles. Thank you! I wish I could write such a good article please post this in news every where you can think of. You are a great activiest for Agriculture.

  40. Hi again – Lester R. Brown who has studied production agriculture since the 1960’s has concluded that GM seeds do not increase yields. What they do increase are things like superweeds which in turn requires more pesticides. Also, there have been some pretty substantial studies on major GM crops done in France and the conclusions were that three major approved GM crops are not safe, as food or feed for mammals. If you’d like the links to either of these I’d be more than happy to supply. thanks for your great writing.

  41. Posted by Carlos Corredor on January 28, 2011 at 4:31 am

    This is a very good post, which raises some issues that I have never before seen so well presented. I am anti-CAFO and anti-GMO, but I have to admit that you have raised some issues that I intend to look into further.

    You state that you feed your kids the beef you raise on antibiotics and hormones because you know it’s safe. I don’t know how you can be so certain, since obviously, you have not seen any bad effects – if there are any of those you probably won’t see them for years.

    I do have one question for you: do you feed your kids raw milk from your CAFO cows? And if not, why not?

    • Carlos, thank you for stopping by and commenting. I know the beef we raise is safe because I fully understand the feed and products we used to grow it and why we use them. We do not have dairy cattle, so therefore do not raise our own milk. I buy mine from the store, just the plain ole regular stuff. My grandparents have dairy cattle, and I have several neighbors who milk, and they have explained to me why they do what they do and their confidence in their product, so I have no problem going to the store and buying my milk.

  42. Thanks for replying to my post.

    Re the subject: of milk, you state you use the “plain ole regular stuff”. I was talking about RAW milk, the real milk, the real thing, which one can buy in the store, if one takes the time to find it. You are right when you refer to what you use as “stuff”. I believe that “you are what you eat” is true and that applies to cows too. If you fed one of your kids raw milk from a CAFO cow, he or she would probably end up in the ER or in the grave. Having been in farms as long as you have, you must have, at some point, tasted raw milk from a healthy, pastured cow; if you have not… well, you don’t know what you are missing. You milk producer neighbors “do what they do” – I imagine that means the pasteurized, dead white liquid they have the gall to (legally) label as milk. They have to pasteurize it or it would be deadly.

    I am curious to learn how Food, Inc. is “horribly biased”. I did not see anything there that would justify that description – everything that movie shows is a documented fact. And, really, it’s just common sense. Later this year, when tomatoes are in season, do a little experiment: find a ripe, fresh picked from the vine organic tomato, get another one from the supermarket and taste them side by side, then tell us the result.

    I have never been a farmer, but I grew up in a home where we always had a cow whose milk we drank, one or two calves that kept ending up on our dining table and a chicken coop where our Sunday dinners and breakfast eggs came from (anybody interested can read a little true story about this here:. http://www.webgourmand.com/wg/commentary/wgArticle.cfm?itemID=63). So I know what real milk, real eggs, real meat and real chicken are supposed to taste like – and it’s not the “ole regular stuff” you buy in the supermarket. The real thing tastes much better; I think that’s because your body knows what is best.

    Cows don’t care about lounging around and having their bedding fluffed; they just want to roam around in the pasture and eat the grass. So, yes, living in confinement is a rough life for them. My cow, as far as I could tell, slept standing up. She was friendly and smelled sweet; can you honestly say the same about cattle in a CAFO?

    Finally, I have one question: if GMOs are so good and safe, why are Monsanto and the big food companies insisting on not having to label GMO products and being transparent about the origin of those products? And regardless of whether GMO products are good or bad, don’t you think that we, the consumers have the right to know their origin and have the option to use or not to use them? It looks to me like these companies have something to hide. What do you think?

    You state “I have extensively researched the consequences of the technology we employ on our farm….” I don’t know what you mean by “extensively researched”, but if you care to see extensive research, google ‘Jeffrey Smith’ and learn about his Institute for Responsible Technology (if have not already).

    Again, thank you for addressing my initial comment, and I hope we can keep this dialog going. Best regards,


    • Carlos,

      No, I have never drank raw milk, and don’t intend to take the risk. Even when I was a little kid, my grandma would pasteurize the milk they got out of their bulk tank. And their cattle are on pasture. My children would get sick from drinking raw milk from any cow, because they are not conditioned to it, and I do not intend to condition them. I prefer the convenience and safety of pasteurized milk. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t have the choice to drink raw milk. It is saying that I want the choice to drink pasteurized. I really can’t debate this issue in depth, I do not have the knowledge. Maybe someday I’ll look further into it, but right now, I’m confident that my family’s choices in dairy are fine.

      I never said Food, Inc was not factual. It may present facts, but there is an undeniable bias in it. The whole story is not told, which you yourself made obvious by saying that I, “the other side,” brought up points you intend to look in to. If Food Inc was truly unbiased, you would have heard the things I talk about in this blog. Fresh local food may taste better, and it is great to know the farmer who grew your food…BUT that does not make commercial agriculture the “bad guy.” And it doesn’t mean that every fresh local organic farm should get a free pass.

      I can honestly say that our cattle being raised in a feedlot are comfortable and well cared for. Especially on this freezing cold February day while my part of the country is under a blizzard warning. My husband did not come in the house until late last night because he was working to make sure all the cattle had fresh bedding and shelter to keep warm in. I’m sure your cow was comfortable on her pasture, too. Cattle do not care about where they live, they only care that they are 1.)Fed 2.)Procreating and 3.)Comfortable. Be it in a pasture or a feedlot, cattle do not care. I have spent my entire life around cattle, they are my favorite livestock. I have “pets” in the feedlot that will allow me to scratch their ears.

      If monsanto or any other company wants to voluntarily label their foods for GMOs….then I’m all for it. In fact, I do not quite understand their resistance to do so. I say go ahead and label it and let the consumer decide. I wish they would do so. Maybe it would move this whole debate to another level, where maybe some progress can be made. I do not agree that they should be forced to do so, because the products made with GMOs are safe. Non-GMO products already label themselves, so shouldn’t it just be implied that if it isn’t labeled “non-gmo” that is contains GMOS?

      Thank you for the link to Jeffrey Smith…I’m sure I have seen his website in passing, but will bookmark it for more in-depth reading some day. I’m sorry for taking so long to reply, but wanted to make sure I gave your concerns the time they deserved.


  43. Posted by Caryl Velisek on February 1, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    Some of the diseases that pasteurization can prevent are tuberculosis, diphtheria, salmonellosis, strep throat, scarlet fever, listeriosis, brucellosis and typhoid fever.
    (Hey, you talked me into it!)
    We used to get milk straight from the cow out of our neighbor’s tank. Their herd was tested regularly and we had a lot of home made cream puffs then. I prefer pasteurized milk when I get it from the store. There is an excellent reason we pasteurize it. (See above!)
    As I’ve said before, my husband managed a 3,000 head feedlot about 40 miles from D.C. for more than 20 years. Our cattle were happy and well cared for. Probably better than some children. They were treated on the rare occasion they became ill and weaned from any meds before sent to slaughter. (Sorry, I guess that’s not p.c.) My husband walked among them, and yes, some were like pets, others were wild, depending on their disposition. We also had breeding cattle and they were cared for just as well.

    • Thank you Caryl, I knew pasteurization prevented some nasty stuff. That being said, I do know that there are some farmers who do drink their milk directly out of the bulk tank without pasteurizing. But it’s my understanding that you cannot “just do that.” The digestive and immune system needs to be conditioned to it. It’s just not a chance I am willing to take. Maybe others are, but not me!

    • Drank raw milk for several years. Had to stop when I moved. No problems from raw milk!

  44. Posted by Caryl Velisek on February 1, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    I had not heard that. It was a long time ago and guess we were all lucky. (Or my neighbors would say we had no problems because their milk was from Ayrshire cows! lol!!) I just get so tired of people protesting things that are done for our own good and safety – like pasteurization, immunizations, etc. – when they have no idea the problems we had before they were in place. And that includes GMOs. Guess we’ll always have nay-sayers and unbelievers. We have been having quite a controversy here about using unpasteurized milk for cheese making.

  45. Posted by rw on February 3, 2011 at 3:16 am

    Since you believe in choice, surely you approve food labeling that informs the consumer when they are eating genetically modified food or animals that have been fed genetically modified food, right?

    • I do believe in voluntary labeling. I do not feel it should be mandatory though, because GMOs have been proven safe time and again. Requiring labeling opens a huge can of worms, why stop at GMOs? We might as well mandate that every feedstuff the animal ate, every variety of seed grown, and every preservative used….labels would be miles long, costly, and accomplish nothing. Voluntary, fine. Just not mandated.

      • Sure, we would all like everything to be voluntary, since we have seen how well that works. Yeah, right!

        One of the things Government is supposed to do is to govern. That includes regulating to ensure that business is conducted fairly, ethically and transparently. The last one is the reason why any food containing GMOs or ingredients produced using GMOs should be labeled as such and that should be mandatory. You and I and the rest of the consumers have the right to know, but if the labeling is not mandatory, nobody will do it. We have the right to the option of passing on those foods if we want.

        If, as you say, “GMOs have been proven safe time and again” is true, why do you have a problem with this?

      • Carlos, Hmmm…I hope this shows up in the right place, for some reason I can’t reply to your post directly. I do not feel that there should be mandatory GMO labeling because GMOs are safe. If the government starts mandating labeling for practices that are deemed safe, a costly rule-writing process will be implemented, then food labels will be a mile long. Basically it’s just a whole bunch of red tape that will end up not accomplishing what it was intended to accomplish. (Take for example, country of origin labeling and animal ID– two well intentioned concepts that are hugely lacking in their application.) There will be loopholes and ridiculous, costly measures taken. I think we have bigger problems in this country than to worry about mandating a food label. If labeling GMO food would really be such a turn off…why doesn’t non-GMO labeling sell?

      • OK, just three more little issues that should be part of this conversation:

        1— I agree that NAIS (animal ID) was a harebrained idea; country of origin maybe, maybe not. About mandatory labeling, I will rephrase my question:
        Do you agree that the consumer is entitled to know if the food they get contains GMOs? A simple yes or no to this is what I would like to get.
        Since you are so opposed to mandatory labeling, how would you ensure that the consumer is informed?

        2 — I am surprised the subject of MEAT FROM CLONED ANIMALS has not come up in this discussion. It is closely related to the subject of this thread. We all know that the FDA decided not to require labeling of cloned meat; a consumer may be eating meat from a cloned steer without even knowing it – this is one of the reasons why all I buy in the supermarket is razor blades, cleaners and detergents, paper goods, but nothing I am going to put in my mouth. My questions:
        Do you think this lack of information to the consumer is right?
        Do you yourselves raise cloned animals?

        3 — Not to belabor the raw milk thing, you must be aware of the fact that raw milk does not bother lactose-intolerant people. Why is this? A common sense conclusion would be: it’s not the lactose some people cannot tolerate, since it’s present in the raw milk; the pasteurized milk is what they cannot tolerate. What is your take on this?

        I cannot imagine anybody participating in this discussion not being interested in the answers to these questions, so I’m sure many of us look forward to your answers.


      • Hello Carlos. I really appreciate the questions you are asking, and the straightforward, respectful tone you have.

        1.) No. I don’t feel it is an entitlement. You know I can’t answer this with only one word– I feel the market will (and does) cater to those who are concerned about the specific practices that bring food to their tables. Labeling GMO food implies it is bad. IF (and I do not feel this way) GMOs are scientifically proven to be bad for the consumer, then they should be banned, not labeled. Again, I do not feel that it has been scientifically proven.

        2.) There is absolutely no way to tell the difference between a cloned animal and a non-cloned animal. A clone is nothing more than a twin. Would you eat twin animals? I do not know how you would ever be able to certify that an animal is not a clone. What, specifically, are your concerns with cloning? I see no moral conundrum with this issue.

        3.) I am not a scientist, nor a doctor so this is pure speculation on my behalf. It is my understanding that raw milk contains probiotics that pasteurized does not. Possibly, that is the explanation? I’m not saying that there aren’t disadvantages to pasteurization….I’m simply saying that I’d like to weigh the pros and cons of all choices, and choose according to my personal value system.

        Thank you Carlos for your thought-provoking dialogue.

      • Oops….forgot to state that we do not (to our knowledge) have any cloned animals on our farm. I do not know of any farmers in my personal network who use cloning technology. I believe the practice is cost-prohibitive at this time in history, but as most technology things go, I imagine it will gain popularity and practicality as time goes on.

      • Posted by rw on February 5, 2011 at 4:25 am

        Well, gmo’s are different and introduce genes into our bodies that would not normally be found in the food we eat. Plus the process of the genetic modification itself is not something that would be found naturally in food. so it is different and I think people should have a choice and the way to get that choice is if labelling is mandatory. I don’t think that means everything has to be listed ad infinitum on a food label, for example listing whether compost was used or not, etc. You say that GMOs have been proven safe time and time again but there are no human studies. I’m not aware of much in the way of independent studies; it’s all funded by the corporations who create the GMOs. The FDA has not done it’s own studies on GMOs. BT toxin in our food, for example, in high levels is not something I want to experiment with or be used as a guinnea pig to be a test subject for. I believe only time will give us the answers we seek as to safety. By that time our native plants may have been overtaken by genetically modified ones and we won’t be able to go back. Look at canola. The non-GMO variety is going extinct! In my mind canola, even the organic kind, is not an ingredient that can be trusted anymore.

      • rw- Genetic modification is a natural process. GMO technology simply takes something that is possible to occur in nature and uses it to our advantage. BT corn could have came about naturally, the chances of it happening without humans is very very slim, BUT…it is possible. A study is a study, it must be transparent, the funding has to come from somewhere. If not from a company, than who? The government? Because we all know how efficient, flawless, and simple that would be. BT is not in our food. It is in the stalk of the corn plant, which is not consumed by humans. I do agree, time will tell as to whether or not we humans are doing the right thing. I believe that, in the whole scope of things, we are. We are able to have a conversation about these issues without fear of being stifled, we are prosperous enough to even be able to worry about such things. Can you imagine having this conversation during the great depression?!?

  46. Hi Liz, with all due respect, allow me to share my point of view with you and your readers:

    Quoting: “My children would get sick from drinking raw milk from any cow, because they are not conditioned to it, and I do not intend to condition them. I prefer the convenience and safety of pasteurized milk.”

    No. Your children ARE already conditioned – to drink that white vapid liquid full of dead bacteria, with most of its nutrients destroyed by the pasteurization. Maybe it would not be a bad idea to re-condition them to get their nutrition from dairy and other foods (note this) THE WAY MOTHER NATURE GIVES THEM TO US. You could not do this re-conditioning with raw milk from a CAFO cow that has been raised on antibiotics, hormones and fake GMO feed. It WOULD work with milk from a healthy pastured cow. The most delicious milk I have had in my whole life is that still warm, foamy milk that looks like a snow-white latte, straight from the teat to the drinking glass. I drank such milk as recently as 5 years ago, when I visited my native Colombia – the only bad thing that happened there was that I could not get a third glass.

    You say, “Fresh local food may taste better”; well, it does and there is a reason for that: the body knows best. That convenience you prefer is what has been causing all the cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity that our society is now experiencing. I am always embarrassed when I hear the most FAQ from people from abroad who come to visit the USA, “Where do all these fat people come from?”

    About Food, Inc., I cannot find anything I wrote referring to you as “the other side”; you did bring up points I said I intended to look into and that is what we are doing in this dialog. And we DID hear the things you talk about in this blog in that movie.

    I have never said fresh local organic farms should get a free pass. The idea behind the requirements for obtaining the right to use the USDA Organic label is exactly to NOT provide that free pass. But that’s just a nice theory: the Organic and Natural labels have become a way for Big Food to market their junk and nothing else. They don’t care if their product is really organic or natural; they just find a way to get around the real intent of the rules so they can use those labels and BS the consumer into believing they are getting something real. To them, “free speech” means being allowed to say anything they want whether true or false. Here are a couple of examples:

    — Breyer’s Natural Vanilla ice cream: it contains NO vanilla bean or extract; it does contain an artificial flavor conveniently named “Natural Vanilla flavor”. When you see the packaging in the supermarket, the most prominent thing is the word “Natural”.
    — The natural, plain and simple Florida orange juice is pasteurized, which they don’t tell you in the TV commercial. Nature gives us juice already pasteurized? That’s news to me.

    This brings to mind the subject of voluntary labeling for GMOs, which I will address in my reply (when time permits) to the February 3 comment in this thread by rw.



  47. Posted by Caryl Velisek on February 3, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    Let me repeat: Some of the diseases that pasteurization can prevent are tuberculosis, diphtheria, salmonellosis, strep throat, scarlet fever, listeriosis, brucellosis and typhoid fever.
    (Hey, you talked me into it!)
    It would be great if people would get their facts straight before sounding off in public. But I guess that’s too much to ask.
    Keep it up iafarmwife. Maybe some of it will sink in.

    • Quoting Caryl Velisek: “Some of the diseases that pasteurization can prevent are tuberculosis, diphtheria, salmonellosis, strep throat, scarlet fever, listeriosis, brucellosis and typhoid fever.“

      Pasteurization itself does not PREVENT anything on the list. One can drink pasteurized milk and still get any of those diseases.

      Of course, if you drink the raw milk from a sick cow, you may get one of them; it’s a risk you take if you don’t know your cow. Presently, the ones on the list are easier to cure than cancer, diabetes or heart disease (I have had to deal with this one), which are mostly the result of our modern diet – you know, highly processed foods, chemicals, GMOs whose safety is highly suspect and has not been definitely proven. – and “convenience”.

      If I had to choose, I would go for one in the list quoted above, before cancer, diabetes or heart disease.

      • Posted by Caryl Velisek on February 3, 2011 at 9:50 pm

        Sorry for your misinterpretation of my info. What I meant is these are some of the diseases you can get from drinking non-pasteurized milk and they were a lot more prevalent before the advent of pasteurization. I wonder where cancer, diabetes and heart disease came from before our so-called modern diets. They were also more difficult to diagnose.

      • I could not find a Reply button below your latest post, so I m using the button above that post.

        When I was a kid in Colombia, I heard about some people dying of “infartos” (heart atacks); I heard about a few instances of diabetes, but not much; cancer almost never made an appearance and when it did it sounded scary as hell. I was sent to a private school in NY State in the mid-50s; when I got there, I was shocked to see all these kids my age always taking meds for allergies, which I barely knew existed. Life was much simpler. People saw things from the USA as gifts from heaven; a Milky Way bar was one of those luxuries for kids that were imported from here and it was always so exciting to (very seldom) get a hold of one – actually it was sad to later realize that it is pure garbage.

        But even in the 50s there was already a big difference in the food: it was exciting to go to Horn & Hardart (or something like that) in New York City, put a quarter in the slot and get the sandwich from what looked like a glass PO box. And the TV dinners… it was such fun to put this little package in the oven for 45 minutes and end up with a fancy hot meal in front of you at the table. If I had known then what I know now, I would have never touched that: it was the beginning of highly processed “convenience” food. After the novelty wore off, one noticed that all the food in the US tasted the same — the difference between real home-made and the crap.

        You’re right in saying the three big ones were more difficult to diagnose. Ironically, my father died of cancer at age 49, when I was 20 years old. Things have changed a lot in Colombia since then; now it’s getting more like here in the USA. My mom used to feed us “Food. Not too much. Mostly plants” It’s almost eerie; it’s like she read Pollan’s book (which, of course, she did not). By the way, she’s still around, will be 94 in May. But I’m rambling here.

        Anyway, Caryl, it sounds like you are RoundUp-ready, which I don’t think I myself will ever be. I am trying to keep learn something here.. You mentioned somewhere that you write for an ag publication. Is it on line? If so, send me the URL to carlos at timos dot com; I promise I will read it with an open mind.

  48. Carlos,

    A quick google search of “why is milk pasteurized” lead me to a whole host of reputable sources (FDA, public health, and extension) explaining that pasteurization does not change the nutritional content of milk, and even most of the enzymes survive pasteurization. Pasteurizing milk does, however, kill harmful bacteria such as e coli and campylobacter. So, yes, I will take my milk with dead bacteria as opposed to live, dangerous bacteria. Being on pasture does not eliminate the risk that a cow’s milk will contain these pathogens. Continue to drink raw milk if you please, but please stop trying to convince me to drink raw milk, it is not going to happen.

    We have a laziness (read: obesity) problem in our country, no doubt about it. What is your solution? I’ll tell you what mine is….elimination of the farm bill….the whole darn thing, food stamps, subsidies, all of it. Food prices will go through the roof and be even more volatile than they are today. People will see the true cost of their food. Maybe they will be encouraged to grow their own gardens. There will be negative effects to this though, farms will go out of business, and there will be further consolidation in the farming sector, to replace the stability being provided by today’s farm bill. Not to mention the public outcry, we’re seeing it already. Corn prices are very high right now, and people are concerned. I wish the public would make up its mind….either they want cheap subsidized food, or they want to pay the true cost….they can’t have it both ways.

    I get your point about food labeling…it is certainly trendy nowadays to be “natural.” Life is all about seeing through the BS, and I don’t know that you’ll ever be able to make enough rules to change that. As long as people are willing to be ignorant about such things, there will be a marketer willing to take advantage. Not to say that is right, but it is life, and I’m quite certain that that will never change. That knife cuts both ways, btw, companies such as Chipotle love to use scare tactics to entice their customers by implying that their food is superior to “industrial” food. Anyone who sells food is in the business of gaining customers, and will do so however they see fit. That’s not just a “Big Food” issue.

    If you prefer to eat free range food and raw milk, by all means, do so. Clearly, the way I grow food bothers you. (I don’t understand it, but that’s not your problem.) You have that right. I know that what we are doing on our farm is not going to ruin the earth or the beings that live on it. I’m pretty happy to be living in the here and now, with a future of possibilities wide open to all of us. I wish you all the best.

    Even with all the problems and issues we have with our food system and eating habits in this country, we are very fortunate to even be able to discuss these issues. There is no denying that we are very good at producing and distributing affordable food here in the United States. There is always room for improvement, open discussion, and disagreement. But we must remember that there are many on this planet who would be grateful to have ANY food from ANYWHERE.

    • I am not trying to convince you to start drinking raw milk – I don’t expect that to happen. I am just stating the reasons why I stay away from GMOs and CAFO-originated foods/ingredients.

      To your paragraph beginning with “We have a laziness (read: obesity) problem…”, I say AMEN. We in the USA are probably lowest worldwide in the percentage of income we spend on food. It’s ironic – or should I say, stupid – that we are willing to spend extra to use the best fuel in the car, but when it comes to the fuel for our body, we tend to go for the cheapest stuff we can find. This is the reason sickness care (the more accurate name for what we call “health care”) is what is breaking this country.

      The issue of “there are many on this planet who would be grateful to have ANY food from ANYWHERE” is ‘nother subject for ‘nother time.

      • Posted by Caryl Velisek on February 4, 2011 at 12:22 am

        I am having trouble with this link also. I have been writing for The Delmarva Farmer for more than 30 years. It is on line. My husband and I were big city kids that decided to raise livestock right after we married. In fact, I have written a book about it, “I Studied To Be An Opera Singer, But I Married A Cowboy”. (Have to put in a plug!lol) He managed several large and small herds of Angus and also a 3,000 head feedlot 40 miles from D.C., for over half a century. And we raised five great children. I have been around a lot longer than you have and I am in contact with farmers, scientists, nutritionists, universities, etc. constantly, as part of my job and as part of my life. We have been eating hybridized (genetically altered) food for over 100 years and it has helped to feed a growing population. I love prime beef. also veggies, desserts, dairy products, etc. We hear more about these diseases now because of many reasons – we know more about them, they are easier to diagnose and to treat, and also because of our ability to communicate.
        I am really growing weary of this so called debate but, that also is part of my job. To listen to what others are saying, research the facts, and report on it. We can’t live without air, water and food and with the increasing population of this world, we have to produce more and more. GMOs are just one way of doing that. And we do have the safest food supply on earth.

      • Ms. Velisek:

        This is from a Whole Foods Market internal company memo:

        “The reality is that no grocery store in the United States, no matter what size or type of business, can claim they are GE-free. While we have been and will continue to be staunch supporters of non-GE foods, we are not going to mislead our customers with an inaccurate claim (and you should question anyone who does). Here’s why: the pervasive planting of GE crops in the U.S. and their subsequent use in our national food supply. 93% of soy, 86% of corn, 93% of cotton, and 93% of canola seed planted in the U.S. in 2010 were genetically engineered. Since these crops are commonly present in a wide variety of foods, a GE-free store is currently not possible in the U.S. (unless the store sells only organic foods.)”

        There are a lot more documents put there that support the above numbers – and the fact that there are tons and tons of contaminated, unhealthy foods being sold to the public by supermarkets, fast food outlets (I refuse to call them restaurants) and other sources.

        I am curious: on what do you base your statement that “we do have the safest food supply on earth”?

    • Hi again, why are GMO’s banned in Europe (aside from Spain) if they are safe? Nobody knows the long term side effects of GMO because it hasn’t been around very long. Nobody can say that in the long term this product is safe. Its very new. Good science is precautionary. I choose to be precautionary as well.

      Loving the dialogue


  49. Posted by Caryl Velisek on February 3, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    I like your referral to the obesity (laziness) problem. That is a whole other can of worms, so to speak. My children (and I) always talk about the fact that when we were kids we were outside playing and doing things that took energy. We had no T.V., computer games, etc. We have also found many ways for machines to do our labor for us which adds to the problem.Times change and we have to adjust. Some things take longer than others. I repeat – keep up the dialogue and the facts, ma’am!

  50. Posted by Sue on February 4, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    Have you heard of Sudden Death Syndrom (a serious plant disease)?

    I was raised on a farm, spent 12 years in 4-H a member of Farm Bureau and constantly standing up for the family farm and trying to dispell myths about how an average farmer raises his livestock.

    But I can’t support Genetically Modified Foods in any form. I hope your children never develop food allergies. You would find it difficult to feed them if you had to purchase only organic foods. Our options are severely limited by the likes of Monsanto infringing on our food freedoms.
    Man cannot improve upon what God has created.

    • A couple of times now I talked to someone in a grocery store buying organic produce who stated that their child’s doctor told them to avoid all GMOs. Believe me, it isn’t so easy to buy all organic and avoid GMOs. What a horrible thing Monsanto has done to make the world this way!

  51. Posted by Caryl Velisek on February 4, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    I kinda think it’s a lot less costly to breed or buy an animal and feed it out than cloning.
    And my mom, who was a devout Christian, always said God gave us the intelligence to do the things we do and to make the most of what He has given us.

    • Yes, of course; but evidently we don’t know how to use that god-given intelligence. Let’s see: with that intelligence, we created Thalidomide (in the 50s), Vioxx (recalled just 4-5 years ago), more things that we often hear about in the news. Now, the biotech industry is working on GMOs, cloned meats, frankensalmon.

      The Thalidomide tragedy produced one good thing: in just a few years, it led to much stricter testing of drugs before they can be approved. What we need now is thorough testing of GMOs before we continue contaminating our environment. That testing, so far, has been done by the companies that make money off the GMOs.

      Yeah, Monsanto and its ilk certainly are trying to make the most of what He has given us..

      The rest of us should too. But let’s use that God-given intelligence intelligently, not stupidly. We need a lot more testing by someone other than the biotech industry, someone who has our interests at heart, preferably not the inept/corrupt USDA or FDA; we have seen their track record.

      The Thalidomide fiasco was a picnic compared to what could happen with GMOs and animal cloning. The problems with Thalidomide and Vioxx surfaced and got fixed in 4-5 years; problems with GE, if any, will take many more years, even generations to become evident. Is this a risk we want to take?

      And don’t buy the BS about organic coexisting with GMO. Get in the cage with a hungry wild tiger and try to coexist with him.



      • Carlos….if not the companies, and not the government, than who??? Science is science….if it is good science, it should not matter where it comes from. GMO and organic coexist every day. I have friends and neighbors who are organic producers, and we get along just fine, in every sense of the word.

  52. Posted by Sue on February 5, 2011 at 1:33 am

    Carlos has raised some good questions. I developed lactose intollerance after my family quit drinking from the bulk tank and started buying milk in town. We were told it was “healthier”. It was the end of my milk-drinking days.

    I am a devout Christian Caryl. I know that God gave man intelligence to be able to do all sorts of wonderful things. But not all things man has done with his intelligence has been wonderful or wise.

    Unfortunately the bottom line behind Monsanto’s GMO, round-up ready crops is profits, not more food to feed a starving world; but more money in their bank accounts as they have glorified their product and convinced the majority of our farming community that they are here to help us. I think not.

    If given a choice, I always choose NOT to purchase GMO.

    • Sue,

      Although I am familiar with the concept of lactose intolerance, I don’t know much about it. This is how I interpret what you experienced:

      — In the past, you used to drink milk from the bulk tank.
      — You were told pasteurized milk was healthier and began consuming it.
      — You developed lactose intolerance and stopped consuming milk altogether.

      Please correct me if any of the above is inaccurate.

      I don’t know what would happen if you were to now try consuming raw milk again.

      There are a bunch of questions I would like to ask you, as part of the research for an article about this subject that I want to write and publish in one of my websites, but I do not think this blog is the appropriate forum to do that, since it would be off-topic here. But if you would be willing to help by sharing some information, please go here, http://www.timos.com/timos/contact/initContact.cfm?proposito=mensaje and send me a message; then, I will be able to contact you directly and ask you my questions. I hope this will be OK and look forward to hearing from you.

      Que Dios te bendiga,


    • Thank you for your input Sue. I agree, God had entrusted us with a lot, and we must be careful how we apply our knowledge. I hesitate to bring this up, but would like to offer you something to think about. As a farmer, I feel we cannot win. When grain prices were well below the cost of production, and corn was cheap, we were accused of depriving third-world farmers of a living because they could not raise corn that cheaply, and they were forced to buy cheap US corn. Now, that prices are comfortably high, we are accused of starving the world, we must produce more to bring the price back down. We just cannot win here. We cannot just stop progressing and applying new technology. Imagine if any other industry tried to do that. Would you rather have your teeth worked on by a dentist who was trained with and used 1950’s technology, or one with the latest technology and an updated education? Yes, Monstanto is a business, it exists to make a profit. So does every single individual on this planet. I’m not quite sure why that is thrown up as an argument. Thank you for your skepticism, without it, we would be progressing unchecked, and that, would not be ok in my book.

  53. Thank you, everyone, who has been commenting here. I think we have a great conversation going. I will reply to each and every one of you, eventually. I may or may not get to you this weekend. If I do not, it probably won’t be for another week, as I won’t have much access to this blog for awhile. I just wanted to let you know that I do not intend to leave you all hanging indefinitely. I value your opinions, and I am learning a lot from all of this! Thank you!

  54. Posted by Caryl Velisek on February 5, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    Just heard from my oldest son whose wife is a chef. They are watching The Food Channel and, on it, they are explaining how livestock is raised along with their recipes. Sounds good so far. They talked about how the animals must be taken good care of or they won’t produce and also how they must be taken off any meds for a designated time before they are sent to market, etc. My son is an old cowboy so he knows if they speak the truth. Anyway, it’s good to hear someone is saying the truth about the farmers who grow the food we need to live.

  55. Posted by rw on February 6, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    Question for IA Farm Wife: I understand that Monsanto has been paying farmers to use its competitors’ herbicides because of superweeds. Have you heard about this problem? Have you seen glyphosate resistant weeds on your farm? Have you been paid to use Monsanto competitor’s herbicides? Are you concerned about the superweed problem?

    • rw– Monsanto has NEVER advertised that farmers would be able to use only roundup year after year. I am not aware of such a program. They have always encouraged farmers to use their products according to the label. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen, and that is when problems develop. A proper weed control program alternates crop and herbicide types to prevent weed resistance. It also utilizes the proper rates per acre (not too much, and not too little). Mis-applying these practices is what causes resistance. Weed resistance is not exclusive to round up. Weeds can develop resistance to anything if crop ground is not properly managed. Even tillage and weeding. Farmers have dealt with these problems since the first nomad decided to plant a garden. This is not Monsanto’s fault, it is the ignorance of an individual farmer for not understanding how crop production works.
      We have had minor issues with glyphosate resistance, that we have been able to clear up. I believe is is because we do not till our ground that we get weed issues. There are trade-offs in every form of production. I am not overly concerned about superweeds. We have been able to combatip this problem on our farm by implementing different practices such as tillage, crop rotation, and different chemical weed control programs.
      Thank you for your questions. I hope I have answered to your satisfaction.

  56. Hello, Liz:

    You and I have one thing in common: we are both gluttons, you for punishment, I for all the things I put in my mouth (as explained in my gluttony website, http://www.webgourmand.com). So, let’s add one or two more dishes to this little feast we have going right now.

    There is a lot of information out there about how CAFO cattle are fed. I am sure some of it is true, some not. I would like to know about YOUR feeding practices – I’m talking not for industrial farming as a whole, but specifically for YOUR industrial farm that you and your family operate. I know that, presently, all the animal feed items I am about to mention can be fed to animals legally and with the blessing of the USDA.

    I – and, I am sure, other guests – would like to hear your answers to the following questions:

    — Do you feed your animals same species meat? For example, cow blood, other cow parts? Rendered pig carcasses to the pigs?

    — Do you feed your animals what is known as “animal protein products” like feathers, hair, skin, hooves, blood, and intestines?

    — Do you use any animal waste in your feed? (Manure, swine waste, poultry litter or wood, rocks, sand, dirt).

    — Do you use plastic pellets to compensate for the lack of natural roughage/fiber in your feed?

    — Do you routinely add antibiotics to compensate for crowded CAFO conditions or to promote growth?

    — How do you deal with the digestive problems (like liver abscesses or high acidity) that cattle eating a lot of grain usually suffer?

    — Do you use rGBH or any other artificial growth hormone?

    I am assuming that if you choose to answer these questions, you will do it truthfully, yes?

    I hope your temporary absence from this blog is not due to some serious problem. We are all looking forward to your return. Best regards,


  57. Posted by Caryl Velisek on February 9, 2011 at 4:40 am

    iafarmwife said she was going to be off fb for a while. My husband ran a feedlot for 22 years and we never even thought of feeding the stuff you mention. Maybe you should all just live on vitamin supplements. But what am I thinking, that’s probably all bad, too.

    • We want answers and a real discussion, not B.S. response. You may not have thought of feeding the “stuff mentioned” but did you read your food labels or ask your supplier what was in the pellets, etc. Or did you even think at all? Did you just go along with “scientists” at Monsanto or your feed companies out to make profit with no regard for safety? Did you just choose a sack of food recommended by another farmer? One of the problems we are having with big ag is mindlessness and narrow focus on profits and a tendency of people to believe biased “scientists” without question. An answer like yours is not helpful here.

  58. Posted by Caryl Velisek on February 9, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Thank you for calling me mindless. I don’t think I’ve ever been called that before! Of course we knew what we were feeding. Much of it we raised ourselves. And what we didn’t, we knew exactly what was in it. Most farmers and ranchers are intelligent, caring and INFORMED, who love what they do and try their best to do it well otherwise they would not do it. It isn’t easy.
    I think your minds are made up and even God couldn’t show you any different. And as much as I’ve enjoyed it, I think I’m done with this conversation.

  59. Posted by Caryl Velisek on February 9, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    And, one more thing – I definitely do not deal in BS!

  60. Posted by rw on February 9, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    You still didn’t state what you were feeding. Assuming it’s a big secret or the supplier will sue you if you mention it. Or the ingredients were not listed because it was considered “proprietary.” Since you can’t or won’t say what you were feeding and only God knows, I’m not comforted whatsoever. God would tell the truth. If my mind were made up I wouldn’t be asking what was being fed! When you raised most of the food, what was the food you raised and did you spray it with herbicide? Was it full of BT toxins? Apparently the details are not important to you but they are to many people eating the food.

    • The old saying “You cannot prove a negative” is really making a whole lot of sense here–it seems that no matter what ‘we’ (ag people) say, ‘you’ (curious/suspicious non-ag people) simply are not going to believe it.

      There’s no benefit for anyone in fibbing or claiming ‘proprietary’ in the food biz, and the responsible producer knows it.

      In rabbits (I know, I know, we started with cattle but please, bear with me here), it is utterly essential for every serious producer to know as much as possible about nutrition, the ingredients in their feed, and what, precisely, is in the pellets they give their animals. Why? Because even small changes can have huge consequences, and if you are working on a razor-thin margin, you MUST know your stuff!

      There is nothing different about feeding any animal from which you expect food or income or both. If you want to get the most from that animal, you had best know what you are doing and WHY you are doing it.

      Can parents say as much about what they feed their children? It’s astounding how many have absolutely no clue–and that’s why it is so important for ‘us’ (ag and non ag people both) to be able to communicate openly and each be able to trust what the other one states.

      Of course, that’s primarily **to the best of our knowledge and ability**, and that’s fine, as long as we are all playing with the same deck of cards, and not a pinochle deck, dominos and a set of mahjongg tiles. *grin*

      I am not at all certain why anyone in these post-Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy days would even consider using any same-species products in one’s feed; it simply does not make logical sense, and in many places it is blatantly against the law.

      I must admit, I too am curious about which of the many researched feed ‘efficiency’ methods trialed and reported upon are actually in use on any scale. While it’s cool to report outlandish ideas, it doesn’t do anyone any favors in the ‘intelligent and informed consumer’ line. So count me in on ‘what are feedlot cows actually eating in that well-balanced diet we provide’ question.

      Because I *don’t* know what is fed to cattle, and I’m curious! *grin*

      I am a rabbit person, first and foremost, and that’s what I know best and where I’m coming from in the discussion. Do I know whether or not the ingredients in my pellets were GMO, or sprayed, or came from Mars? Not really–but the odds of them shipping alfalfa in from Mars is pretty remote. 🙂

      There’s a certain amount of trust involved in knowing what you feed your stock–you have to trust the label, which means you have to trust the people that put the ingredients in the feed, and THEY have to trust….and so on all the way up the line.

      If you have someone unscrupulous (which fortunately is rare) or who simply couldn’t care less about what they are turning out, you can have a huge problem ‘downstream’. Sure, eventually they’ll go out of business for lack of trust, but not before they cause tremendous losses.

      Trust COUNTS in the feed and food business, and well it should.

      I’ve rambled on enough for now…looking forward to more constructive discussion! 🙂

      • Posted by Caryl Velisek on February 9, 2011 at 3:38 pm

        ‘Constructive’ is the key word here. Thank you for your thoughtful comments.

      • Posted by Sue on February 9, 2011 at 3:46 pm

        Thank you onafixedincome. I don’t believe the questions posed by Carlos were out of line. It is too bad that Caryl got defensive. I think this shows part of the communication problem between Ag Business and the Consumer. There are a lot of websites out on the net saying all sorts of things about Agribusiness and it is up to the farmer to explain what is really happening. If a consumer wants to know what the beef cow is eating, the consumer should have a right to know, not be given a snipsh answer. That doesn’t help anyone. I understand being on the defensive when you are constantly under attack, but I thought one main purpose of this Blog was to get the truth out there and ease the consumer’s mind. I am looking forward to hearing what iafarmwife has to say in response to the new questions posed.

  61. Posted by Caryl Velisek on February 9, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    My, you are paranoid. Maybe you should see a therapist.
    I told you, we raised much of what we fed on the farm. We knew what went into it and we knew what was in what we bought. We ate our own beef and fed it to our children. There was no conspiracy to feed harmful ingredients. I am an agricultural journalist. I have access to veterinarians, nutritionists, universities, many, many farmers and ranchers, scientific information, etc. and it’s my business to tell people what’s going on in agriculture. You, obviously, have no idea. And I am really done with this now.

  62. Ms. Velisek’s last sentence before this post I am now writing was “And I am really done with this now”; It looks like we have lost her. I guess she adheres to “if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen”, but I am surprised to see a journalist follow that course; journalists are supposed to have a thick skin.

    She stated, “we never even thought of feeding the stuff you mention”. My understanding is that, according to present USDA rules, all the stuff I mentioned may be used as feed in farms. Grain is one of the items I mentioned; it’s always associated with CAFOs.. If they never even thought of feeding grain, I am puzzled as to how the cattle stayed alive those 22 years.

    I am waiting to see what Liz has to say to all this. I hope we don’t lose her too.

  63. Carlos, could you please keep this on a constructive and not personal level? That last post REALLY came across as snide and aggressive. Quibbling about grain and CAFO’s is just silly–you known darn well that the ‘stuff’ to which she referred is anything but.

    Plastic pellets, manure, dirt, rocks, wood, same species or animal products…?? While these things MAY be used (and I have serious doubts that dirt and rocks are allowed unless by those you mean mineral supplements), it certainly doesn’t mean that they are used or are used on any regular basis.

    So pull in your horns a bit, and let’s keep this civil, please. We will no doubt get an excellent reply from Liz as soon as she returns.

  64. Posted by Caryl Velisek on February 9, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    Dear Carlos,
    Thank you for the kind words. I know what we fed our cattle. I ate our beef and, wow!, I’m still here to write about it. I’ve been on this earth for a long, long time, and I think I’ve probably heard it all. I do my research, and I don’t rely on just one informant. I hope and pray I never become as closed-minded as some I have heard from recently. I do not intend to stop reading this blog, but I am really weary of this and will leave it up to the rest of you.

  65. Posted by Caryl Velisek on February 9, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    Oh, and about not standing the heat, that was uncalled for. I have stood the heat for way more than half a century and I’m still here. I just need to get to work now that the ice is melting.

  66. Sue hit the nail on the head: this should be all about getting the truth out there and easing the consumer’s mind. I am one of those consumers and am not a farmer. I — and many other consumers — feel that we are under attack too. The CAFO and GMO advocates have a lot of explaining to do to the public, to most of whom the Michael Pollans, the Jeffrey Smiths and the Joel Salatins are today’s champions.

    My style may be somewhat brash, but maybe that is my problem (my mother never did tell me I should be a diplomat). Most of the public may not be as blunt, but I got news for you: we are (pardon my French) pissed and we are demanding explanations. We are looking at rampant misrepresentation in the labels of the food we are expected to eat; we have a government in bed with Big Ag and Big Pharma; we are facing destruction of our environment, especially now with all these GMOs, the safety of which is backed only by studies made by the same companies that make billions from selling them. It’s not a pretty picture.

    So, yes, we are pissed off and scared. And we will stay that way if those whom we expect the explanations from start whining instead of explaining..

    • I hear you Carlos, loud and clear. And I can’t say that I blame you personally. But, that knife can cut both ways. We farmers have always been here, willing to talk to anyone who wants to listen. The thing is, the majority of the population doesn’t really care, so we sort of quit talking and just went about daily business. Now, thanks to the food movement we have an amazing opportunity to start talking again. But we forgot how to. Many feel like they are bragging when they talk about their farms, farmers are incredibly humble, humble to a fault. We aren’t hiding anything….it’s just that many of us are afraid to step off the farm and into the grocery store. We are so busy with our businesses and families. I’m not whining, just trying to shed some light. It is the producers responsibility to talk about and explain what they are doing on their farm. Things like Food, Inc and Oprah have given us a wake up call, and we are hearing it. It’s just that many are not sure how to go about reaching out and talking about what they do. It’s not that we don’t know, or that we’re ashamed, or that we’re brainwashed, it’s that we are not public speakers by nature. Like many human beings, we tend to keep to ourselves and we must change that. You have been very respectable in your quest to learn about food production, and I have learned much from this dialogue. Thank you.

      • No, when I referred to whining, I was referring to a couple of Velisek’s comments about how fed up she was with this discussion. I guess she is gone now; maybe we’ll be lucky and she won’t re-surface. No way you are a whiner: in fact, I think you keep your cool remarkably well. I am a little busy the rest of today, but will review your email and all the recent posts – and, like The Terminator said, I will be back.

  67. Will you do me a favour for the sake of some fellow journalists? Watch this story about Monsanto and bovine growth hormone and Fox news and let me know what you think about this.


  68. Bonjour, Anna-Monique:

    A while ago, I saw the Monsanto and bovine growth hormone and Fox news story. This is typical Monsanto behavior. Monsanto’s aim is to control the world’s food supply and our existence; they would get a patent on the air we breathe if they could (that sounds way out there, but our government is so inept and corrupt I would not be surprised if it happened some day).

    I too will be very interested in hearing what Liz has to say about this.

    In the meantime, in your January 28 post on this blog, you offered to supply links to certain items (the French study and others). I guess I am the first one to request those links. If for some reason you do not want to post them here, please go to http://www.timos.com/timos/contact/initContact.cfm?proposito=mensaje; through there, you will be able to send me a message and include the links.

    Thanks and best regards,


  69. Hello all:

    Want to see the best possible endorsement in the world for ORGANIC? This blows all arguments for using anything GMO.

    Hugh Grant, CEO of Monsanto, buys organic himself. — http://tinyurl.com/4up3d7m.

    I don’t blame him: I imagine he wants to protect his family just like we do – or should.


  70. Hello All….I just wanted to check in and let you know that I have not abandoned this discussion. I have read all the comments, still need to view the links provided, and I have a lot to say. But, I am vacationing in Panama for the rest of the week, and quite frankly, this discussion can wait! 🙂

    In the meantime, I do have a previous post about our cattle feed….it is not as in depth as you are seeking, but will have to tide you over until I can get back to work here. So here you go: http://iafarmwife.com/2010/04/25/feeding-cattle/ Also, you can see the other articles I’ve written specifically about our cattle if you look on the right hand side of the page, in the box that says “Post Categories” and click on “Cattle.”

  71. IAFarmWife, You may want to rethink what you are doing feeding your children GM food. Researchers who studied the immune response in young and old mice, found that mice fed geneticalyl modified corn (MON 810) suffered from immune dysfunction. Mice fed GM corn also exhibited abnormally high levels of a cell type known to be associated with asthma and food allergies in children. Now think about this: there’s been no human testing or testing on human children, other than in the market place. Since GM introduced, auto immune disease and allergies, autism up.

    Unfortunately I believe you have been brainwashed by the sales people at Monsanto. It’s quite common to be hoodwinked by sales people! Look at all the time shares that have been sold!!!

    What kind of corn do you grow? Can you get out of your contract? Can you use the land for something else now that it has been tained with BT toxin?

    Have you thought about how BT toxin is washing into the waterways and polluting the environment?

    You may think you are doing great things, but again, only because the Monsanto company has its hooks into you one way or another.

    When you look back at your life, will you be proud of what you have done, playing God along with Monsanto while polluting the earth and taking away unadulterated food from people who depend upon it for their lives? How will you feel if your grandchildren are sick and sterile because you were wrong about genetically modified food?

    • Farmers deal with a lot of sales people on a daily basis. They are pretty good at seeing through BS, and they have strong moral compasses. Of course, there are a few exceptions to that, but they are quite rare and quite scorned by their communities. Disregarding safety and the consumer’s expectations is a quick way to be put out of business if you ask me. Farmers work on way too small of a margin to trust their practices solely with a salesman’s recommendation. On our farm, we think for ourselves, we don’t put up with sales pitches. As a matter of fact, there are far fewer salespeople out there in the ag world than there used to be, for that exact reason, farmers don’t have time for it. We look for data that can be analyzed, we look for results, and we aren’t going to jeopardize our family’s heritage and livelihood in order to make a quick buck. Farmers don’t do what they do for the money….many years there isn’t any. They do it because it’s an awesome way of life that can be passed on through generations.

      I can stop growing BT, or any GMO corn for that matter, whenever I feel like it. The contracts with seed companies only deal with the crop that is in the field. I could grow whatever I please on my farms. There are some drawbacks to doing so, but I do have every right to do so.

      Yes, I have thought about how BT technology has enabled us to cut drastically back on the pesticides we use on our corn. Far fewer pesticides being used means far fewer pesticides in the environment.

      I take offense to your questions, but I will answer. I am proud to be a Midwestern farmer, a steward of the land for future generations of my family and the food consumer, and helping to provide food and technology to those who are hungry. My children will grow up with a strong work ethic, and even stronger morals, and if I do my job right, they will pass them on to my grandchildren and so forth. If I am wrong, I’d hate to see what right is.

  72. Hi,

    Great Posting! I can relate completely!!


  73. Iafarmwife, please, for the sake of your children and grandchildren, I implore you to watch the following video from Brazil and at least consider that perhaps there are some dangers in GMO crop production.

    Perhaps you don’t believe that GMOs can kill you or your children, but what about future generations? Your grandchildren. What kind of farm land will you be leaving behind for them? Will they be able to make a living off of YOUR land? Perhaps your farm practices good proceedures and follows all the suggestions for safety. But obviously, this is not the case all over the world, and this is something to be considered. Can poor agricultural practices be reversed? Can the soil be healed after it’s been poisoned?

    I wanted to add that I am not against CAFO practices if done correctly. And being from a farming community, knowing how important livestock is to the livelihood, I do know that 95% of farmers are very conscencious and care deeply for the health and welfare of their animals. Unfortunately, the other 5% give these practices a bad name. But, having said that….and having watched the video above….why is it okay to feed these animals GMO foods? Are we really benefiting the earth in the long run (meaning 30 or more years from now)?

    I look forward to hearing your opinions on this matter.

    • I watched the entire video. It does not address the dangers of GMOs whatsoever. It only addresses the possible dangers of glyphosate. All I can offer is anecdotal. I have applied and handled concentrated Round-up, by hand, every summer since I was a teenager. I have even applied and handled it while pregnant. I have not had any ill side effects. My children have no defects, and my husband (who has handled Roundup much more than myself) and I are quite fertile. There is no scientific proof in that whole video, no blood tests, no doctors who diagnosed the problems. I”l admit, there are dangers in everything we do. GMOs are no more harmful or risky than driving a car, eating a meal, or getting a sun tan. Shall we ban cars, food, and the sun because they involve risks? Too much of anything is not good for a person. NOTHING is harmless. Nothing. Everything we do has pros and cons. When it comes to GMOs, I feel the pros far outweigh the cons. Maybe you are more cautious. That’s fine, you have that right.

      EVERYTHING we do on our farm is for future generations, especially the ones I may never know. I am somewhat taken aback that you come from a farming community and actually question that. Like you said…a very small percentage of farmers do not live this way, and they do not stay in business very long. They will be naturally purged from their land because failing to care for it results in less productivity. We test our soils religiously, soil conservation is our number one priority….if we do not have healthy soils, then we have nothing…our livelihood is gone. We fully understand this, more so than anyone who does not make their living off the land. Poor practices can, and are, reversed all the time. I have seen it happen right here on our farm in the short 8 years I’ve been a part of it. We have acquired farms that were tilled, or under-fertilized, and in a matter of a few years, witnessed the healing power of the earth. Sure we humans can do a lot, but it will never compare to the natural power of this planet. We are merely stewards of this planet, not masters.

      I do believe we are benefiting the planet through GMO usage. More people are able to have better lives because of the increased efficiency through agricultural technology. The population is growing at an unimaginable pace, and we must figure out ways to grow food in places where it has not been grown before, we must adapt our crops to new conditions while decreasing the amount of resources they require. Old-fashioned breeding techniques are not able to do that in the short amount of time we have. GMO technology is a faster, more effective, and more efficient way. Of course, we must proceed with caution, and remember the lessons history has taught us. But, we can’t stand still, we must proceed.

      • Posted by Sue on February 15, 2011 at 5:16 pm

        We test our soils religiously, soil conservation is our number one priority….if we do not have healthy soils, then we have nothing…our livelihood is gone. We fully understand this, more so than anyone who does not make their living off the land.

        I am glad to hear this. While I feel there is nothing anyone can do to change your mind about the safety of GMO’s and Monsanto’s pesticides, I would urge you to become an advocate of safe farming practices using these products. As you saw in the video, in countries such as Brazil, these pesticides are sprayed from the air, right next to schools full of innocent children. You cannot deny that practices such as those on the video will endanger the future generations of the earth.

        I am a conservative farm girl who believes in natural farming methods. I do not understand how you can say that “. I am somewhat taken aback that you come from a farming community and actually question that.” I studied soil sciences in college and it saddens me to see the volume of chemicals being dumped on the earth.

      • Thank you Sue. I will (and do) advocate safe and proper chemical use. Do I see some things about today’s agriculture that bother me? Yes, I do. Monsanto wouldn’t have the reputation they do if they would just allow more third party studies. I can understand why they are so protective, but it does hurt them to be that way. Aerial application of chemicals like roundup do not make sense to me. I would be inclined to speculate that it is not the glyphosate that is causing these possible problems, but some other chemical. Glyphosate is not that hazardous, even in concentrate form. Thank you for your comments.

  74. excellent post from iafarmwife ! i, too, am an elderly rancher, not much of a farmer, have spot sprayed weeds since forever, and worked, doctored and kept our cow herd healthy. I am healthy, who would believe it after being around all of this awful stuff ! seems like sometimes you are just hitting your head against the wall – but you are doing a dang good job of it. I wish ag could do just as the animal rights movement would want us to right this moment – then people who aren’t into ag would realize the implications. going to bed at night hungry, not being able to afford what food there was, eating anything from any foreign country, who of course doesn’t have any standards at all. paying higher taxes to the welfare system – supporting hundreds of thousands who directly and indirectly make a living off of agriculture. look forward to eating vegan only,no research, no leather, no eggs or milk, nothing to do with animals – rodeos, circus’, horse ownership, hunting, fishing, pets, breeding of pets etc. now just stop and think how many people make their living directly or indirectly by all the above activities. Then you get into all of the products that come from animals that are not food – and the insanity continues. the animal rights factor of our country is not worried about the animals – they are just a means to an end and that end is causing terrorism within our own country, not using guns or force. this country will go down if people do not wake up !!

    • Calling people terrorists because you disagree with their ideas is a downright stupid way of arguing.

      What you forget is that there are many alternatives to big agriculture. Neighborhood farms and greenhouses, CSAs, rooftop gardens. Monsanto never solved world hunger and never will. They will stop at nothing to gain control of the food supply, however, in anyway they can, patents, lawsuits, lies, cross pollination and contamination of organic crops, etc. Remember Big Ag survives on oil. You are not helping lower food costs. Only increasing them and growing the same kind of plant all togeether in one place causes pest problems. There are far better ways to solve food problems than big ag. Big ag is just a phase that has to end.

      P.S. Dog breeding, rodeos, circuses are very cruel businesses, but at least they arent’ destroying the food supply with GMOs that are nearly impossible to clean up at this time.

    • Dear Elderly Rancher,
      The ‘animal rights factor’ are millions upon millions of normal people in your country who recognize that animals are sentient beings deserving our respect. Sweeping generalizations such as yours are very dangerous. If you mean to create a divide between people, your last sentence is a good beginning. Let’s keep this discussion from becoming alarmist, sensational and ridiculous.

      • millions upon millions ??? where do you get these numbers. prove it.

      • “The ‘animal rights factor’ are millions upon millions of normal people in your country who recognize that animals are sentient beings deserving our respect.”

        I always thought that THAT contingent was the breeders, producers, ranchers and farmers, actually–I don’t know **anyone** who is more aware of the respect and value our animals deserve. After all, who knows them better? 🙂

        The animal RIGHTS contingent is that which works to prevent animal use, generally by taking small, seemingly-logical bites out of our right to own and use animals, with a final goal of abolishment.

        In the end, the hard-core AR is anti-human. They loathe the human race for what it does to animals, and work so hard to ‘free the animals’ that they have little to no concern for the humans involved.

        Nobody who has raised an animal face-to-face can fail to realize that every single animal has a personality, even if they choose not to think about it (sometimes that is the only way you can survive the knowledge that these animals are going to die to provide food, no matter how humanely).

        Even those who have thousands of animals know them pretty darn well. Referring to them as ‘that dapple with the bent ear’ or ‘old SPF30’ doesn’t mean they don’t care enough to name them–it just means they don’t use names per se!

        If you don’t know your animals, you can’t care for them properly. If you know your animals, you’ll respect them, even if the numbers on your data sheets mean you must cull some you are a bit fond of!

        Even at slaughter, doing it yourself, producers have tremendous respect for their animals and what slaughter means overall. Many actually apologize, or pray, at the moment death is administered. I know I do.

        While those who kill animals for a living may not have that connection to the animals they kill, it is nonetheless important to them to do it right the first time.

        Nobody in their right mind likes to see animals suffer.

  75. Dear “Farm Wife:”

    What you are doing is taking blind risk: Please look at the following article from L.A. Times about the lack of independent testing for GMOs: http://fb.me/QWFoAUo4 (I hope this link works. If not use a search engine.)

    Did you read your contract with Monsanto? It states that you cannot use their genetically modified product for experimentation. Presumably you can’t even give it away to researchers. If you had a conscience about what you are doing and your children’t future, you would want extensive experimentation with proven methods, done by 100% independent researchers over time. You must be a fake, a corporate shill. There’s no other explanation for your reckless blind use of GMO crops.

    Would the Monsanto executive behind this website please step forward? You are spreading lies to fool people of average or below average intelligence for profit. How clever to hide behind a fake young farm woman who appears trustworthy and makes your arguments for you. While you sit and think up the best pro-Monsanto arguments you can, and probably eating your organic food, you are nothing more than a piece of garbage.

    What people fail to understand is that there are websites out there designed by corporations to attempt to manipulate them. You know that if you can confuse the people long enough, you will have your claws irreparably fixed into the food supply and will control it with your patents, while not doing any good in the world. Your products cross-breed and continue spread themselves into the environment. You are like a dentist who pretends there’s a cavity and charges the patient for a filling. A lawyer who overcharges with unneeded extra paperwork becasue the client does not know better. A timeshare salesman who knows that the customer gets nothing but a high price for something they won’t use. Only far far worse because you are polluting the environment and ruining the food supply for future generations.

    Believe me, your day will soon be over. Right now the government is in your pocket, but like all evil, when it hits the light it will wither. why not go into the DNA testing business because that’s going to be popular as we try to eradicate all GMOs from our environment for the next thousands of years.

    P.S. Ms. Iowa Farm wife who is very unlikely to exist: Your husband if he exists, will almost certainly die early of cancer from Round Up. I’m sorry for your children, if they exist.

    • Never have I disrespected or name-called on this blog. And I will not start here. I will not take this comment down, although I am tempted. I guarantee you that I am 100% real. Please, do not come back to this discussion until you can be civil. And when you can, you have an open invitation to come to my farm and stay with my family, we don’t have a fancy house, but we do have a spare bed. I’d be glad to discuss any issues you choose, but only on the terms that you remain respectful.

      • I would not want to insult anyone unless deserved, and apologize if I have done so. I still am very skeptical about this blog, but want to join in the discussion. I’m looking for answers as to why our government has betrayed us. I’d love to be wrong. If there is a Monsanto executive behind this blog, and there may well be, we probably aren’t going to find a way to prove it. Maybe I will stop by your home (I’m completely harmless) some day if I’m ever in Iowa and that would prove that you are a real person! In any case I’ve been greatly inconvenienced by Monsanto, having to completely change my lifestyle now and learn how to grow my own as I try to prevent the contamination of our entire food supply.

  76. i had my say and i am not going to get into this game.

  77. Hello, Liz:

    Trying to follow all these posts and replying is a little confusing on this blog, since the replies don’t always appear below the posts one is dealing with. So, this post addresses some issues brought up in various places above. Here I am asking you some questions that I request you answer.

    1— You state “I’m not quite sure how an animal would be able to tell the difference between GM and non-GM….because as far as taste and nutrition…there is no difference between the two.”

    I gave you a link to an article that absolutely addresses this; here it is again: http://drleonardcoldwell.com/2010/05/27/would-you-choose-genetically-modified-food-if-given-a-choice-some-animals-won%E2%80%99t/. Care to take a look and comment on it?

    2— In an earlier post, I asked you if you feed your animals certain items I listed. You never answered that. Would you answer now?

    3— Hugh Grant, CEO of Monsanto, buys organic himself – http://tinyurl.com/47o7my7 – Do you think that’s because he wants to protect himself and his family from the dangers of the stuff he sells? If not, what do you think is his reason?

    4— To my comment about all the GMO studies the government relies on being conducted by the same companies that make the products, you said “….if not the companies, and not the government, than who??? Science is science….”. I’ll tell you who: independent, impartial testers selected by a third party – this could be some committee or group composed of people who do not take campaign conributions – i.e. bribes. There must be a way to arrange this, with proper supervision.

    It does not look like you raise chickens or produce eggs, but somewhere you mentioned that some of your neighbors do. Do any of those neighbors have foxes or coyotes guarding the chicken coops? That’s what we are doing if we rely on GMO producers’ science to allow these organisms into our environment.

    5— You say “I do not know how you would ever be able to certify that an animal is not a clone”. Someone here pointed out that cloning is a very expensive proposition. Are you saying that if you used cloning you would have no way to tell which or your animals are cloned? How would you be able to certify? Easy, if you are honest, truthful and you stand to get in trouble if you make false statements..

    6— So you do not feel our right to know where our food comes from/how it is produced is an entitlement? Are you serious? What is it, a privilege?

    I do not agree with your assertion that “Labeling GMO food implies it is bad. IF (and I do not feel this way) GMOs are scientifically proven to be bad for the consumer, then they should be banned, not labeled. Again, I do not feel that it has been scientifically proven.“ Labeling does not imply anything is bad, it’s called “transparency”. When you buy something labeled “Made in USA”, does that imply it’s bad? Banning something is not the answer; if you are unscrupulous, you just use it and keep your mouth shut and nobody will know. What is your take on this?

    I am eagerly anticipating your answers to all this.



    • Carlos, I sent you an email.

      1.) Anecdotal. Show me a study. Was the gmo and non-gmo grain raised under the same conditions? Was it in similar condition when offered? Lots of unknowns there.

      2.) I sent you an email on this. A much longer response than can be put here, and many are curious, so I would like to do a separate post with your permission.

      3.) This is all that is stated: “Ryssdal: Do you ever buy organic food yourself? Grant: Yeah, I do. Yeah.” I don’t think that means a thing. Sometimes I buy organic, when it’s the only choice, or the cheaper option for something. He doesn’t say he buys ONLY organic. I’d say there is nowhere near enough information there to make a point.

      4.) Sounds like a good idea. Where would the money come from?

      5.) I should have used the term “prove” instead of “certify.” Farmers pledge they are not using rBST. Yet, there is no way to prove it. I believe the vast majority of producers are honest, and that the consumer can trust their pledges, but there is no way to prove them. If there is a consumer demand for non-cloned meat, I’m certain you’d see a similar pledge-based program.

      6.) Yes, I am serious. You phrased that well. The consumer has a right to know where their food comes from, and to find that information on their own. I’m not willing to put much time or money into fighting this issue, though. If there is a majority of people who feel that GMO labeling should be mandatory…then so be it. Have at it, there are more important issues to tackle.

      A “made in the USA” label is not mandated by law. Give me an example of mandatory labeling that does not involve some sort of proven health threat. Mandated labels only come about when something has been a proven hazard.

      I’m not quite sure what you mean by “Banning something is not the answer; if you are unscrupulous, you just use it and keep your mouth shut and nobody will know.” So, we should allow China to put lead in their toys, as long as they label them?

      Take Care Carlos. I will await your thoughts.


      • OK Liz, you must have gotten my reply to your email. I’m glad to see you have not turned anything off; we have gone this far, we should keep going. I’m back. I will address the issues in the same order you presented them above. I will make this post in two or more parts because I think this will be easier to follow that way – and it will give me time to deal with other things I have to get done in between. Gotta keep the money coming in to pay for the web hosting, the utilities, the grass-fed meats, the raw dairy, etc. – all the essentials; you know how it is.

        1.) “Anecdotal. Show me a study. Was the gmo and non-gmo grain raised under the same conditions? Was it in similar condition when offered? Lots of unknowns there.”

        No, the non-GMO grain was raised under the conditions intended by nature. The other was per instructions from Monsatan or a similar criminal organization, i.e. gene-spliced and full of chemicals.

        I really do believe that animals can tell the difference. My chief of security at my restaurant was my cat (this was in my pre-health/environment advocate days – http://www.webgourmand.com/wg/commentary/wgArticle.cfm?itemID=125). At my home, he ate the canned tuna and canned salmon, which I used occasionally; at the restaurant, he would eat the ahi tuna scraps; but if I served him salmon trimmings, he would go to the dish, sniff it or look at it and walk away without touching it. That was not the frankensalmon the corrupt FDA want to approve now, but it was farmed salmon – which is fed dyes and GMO corn, among other things. Do you think there might be a connection there?

        As for the “anecdotal” document you read, the author will not divulge the names of the Iowa farmers who did the tests because too many farmers have been harassed by Monsatan.. Just for the hell of it, I did a Google search for “monsanto farmer harassment”. It yields 665,000 results. Let’s give Monsatan the benefit of the doubt big time and say that 90% of those results are BS. That still leaves 66,500 documents about Monsanto harassment of farmers. I don’t blame the anecdotal document source for refusing to divulge those farmers’ names.

        You being on a farm with lots of animals and produce all over the place could easily do a similar test. You could see results in just a few days. Why don’t you try it?

        Speaking of the anecdotal, you have, more than once, made statements indicating that you are confident in the US food system, that GMOs are no different from natural organisms, that these are facts. Now, THAT is anecdote, unless you have something to back it up. So now I say to you, show me a study – but from an impartial third party, not one whose sources are the foxes that are guarding the hen house – the USDA and FDA – nor the mobsters like Monsatan and other biotechs who are exploiting you and your husband and benefitting from your hard work.

        One of the few intelligent things I have heard from a politician in this age was said many times by Ronald Reagan (he wasn’t smart enough to come up with it on his own, he adopted it – after all, he was an actor). It was “Trust, but verify”. Somehow, I think you do have a lot of faith and do a lot of trusting. Why don’t you do a little verifying? You obviously possess a great work capacity: you are raising a family, helping your husband in running the farm, keeping up with all the BS that I and others are dishing out – and still have time to vacation in Panama. Maybe you are the real Superwoman.

        It’s becoming more and more clear that people want: transparency; no GMOs; health care, not sick care; good, real food, not fake crap made in a lab; …and more. Use those astounding abilities you possess to help us, the people who need you. Screw Monsatan & Co.

        2.) “I sent you an email on this. A much longer response than can be put here, and many are curious, so I would like to do a separate post with your permission”.

        As I told you in my email reply, I think a separate post is a good idea for reasons we have both touched on. And you do not need my permission: this is your blog. And if you are going to remove any posts, I hope you don’t delete them, but just move them to other posts and let them remain in this blog..

        To be continued

      • Hi Carlos,

        I did get your reply, and will be posting our conversation today. But, I will answer your points here first.

        When I asked if the grain was raised under the same conditions, I meant weather, soil type, and nurtrients. Those three things have the biggest impact on grain quality. Not to mention how the grain was stored, it’s moisture content, % of damaged kernels, presence of mold, test weight, etc. If the gm and non-gm grain was esentially the same in all those factors, and the animals preferred the non-gm, then we might be going somewhere with this.

        Might I ask that you keep your infammatory references, such as “frankenfood” and “Mon-satan” to a minimum? Attacking language like that is not productive. I feel that I have been very forthcoming without attacking here, and I’d appreciate the same from you. I understand this is a heated issue and it is hard to keep emotions in check, but in order for us to continue to have an effective debate, we must do so.

        I may just try my own experiment on my own animals some day. Thanks for the suggestion.

        My confidence in the food system comes from my experiences with it. Here is a few links that reflect my viewpoints…none from a biased source:

        I don’t belive I have ever stated that I am 100% hunky-dory with the actions of Monsanto, Syngenta, and the likes. But I am not 100% turned off by their actions either. Believe it or not, there is a middle road, and it most likely will be the one we (as a society) take in this debate. I understand their actions in maintaining control over the research on their seeds, but feel they must allow more research to take place, and allow all of the results to be publicly available. I look at it this way. They have a lot to lose if they put a harmful product out there, so why would they take the chance? Now I know there are examples that go against this belief. Yes, I am trusting, and yes, I am verifying. Every day on our farm we are trusting and verifying by planting and feeding GM crops, using fewer resources, and increasing our efficiencies without ill side effects. Here’s the other thing. If GMOs are so bad for reproductive health, wouldn’t you think that we farmers would be seeing these issues in our livestock? Our cows are fed GM corn products, and they still manage to produce a good calf crop every year.

        I do feel biotech companies are in a perfect position to improve society’s perception of GMOs. I think they need to do more to advance GM technology in developing countries for humanitarian reasons. Imagine the possibilities if there was more partnership betweeen corporations and charity! I’m not saying that there isn’t any of that today…but imagine if there was even more of it?!?!

        Here is a question for you Carlos. Are you opposed to all GM technology? Particularly golden rice, and other GM foods that have proven health benefits?

        I do not plan to delete any posts, and will not discontinue the discussion here. In fact, I have not screened any comments here yet. That doesn’t mean I won’t take down offensive or spammy comments, but so far, I have not encountered anything of the sort. Let’s hope it stays that way.

        Take Care,

      • About the animal experiment, I have a hunch that if I were a squirrel, you could offer me a bag of moldy, past-its-prime real corn and another one of freshly picked GMO corn in pristine state, and I would go for the former.

        As I said, this is just a hunch. There is only one way to know for sure: You seem to be in the right place and environment to conduct the experiment yourself, at a nominal cost and without too much trouble. Instead of “some day”, why not one day soon? Don’t you think it would be fun to find out what the animal would do? I am sure we’ll learn about the results if you do this.

        My, oh my.. I detect a little bit of defensiveness on your part about how I treat those poor virtuous Monsanto folks. Why is that?

        Did you know there is a monsatan.com? Guess who owns that domain name! None other than [drumroll]…
        800 N. Lindbergh Blvd.
        St. Louis, MO 63167

        A Google search of “monsatan” shows over 4,000 results.

        I guess their acquisition of this domain name was some sort of pre-emptive move on their part. Or maybe they just couldn’t resist; it is kind of creepy, which suits them very well

        In the social networks “Monsatan” is now a well-known nickname. I personally think of it as an affectionate name for Monsanto, considering all the other names they are continually being called out there. They should count their blessings. You ain’t seen nuth’n yet; all I can say is, get used to it.

        “Frankenfood” started years ago, I think in Europe; “Frankenfish”, I am not sure, but it has become much more common lately, with the looming FDA approval of AquaBounty’s GM salmon (that scares the hell out of me).

        As you see, these three little terms are now part of the mainstream language in the US, so it’s a stretch to refer to them as “inflammatory” or “attacking”.

        In a previous post, rw expressed skepticism about the existence of you and your family. Your defensiveness of Monsanto makes me feel a bit skeptical too. Would you answer the following?

        Does Monsanto or any other company – regardless of what business they are in – contribute to the cost of running/maintaining this blog – or is this purely a personal endeavor of yours?

        Why is the domain name ‘iafarmwife.com’ registered by Domains by Proxy, Inc and not by you? Do you have something to hide?

        Finally, a quick perusal of the pages whose links you provided “to reflect my viewpoints” showed this in common: lack of evidence of adverse effects, but as for GM being safe, not certain, not sure, need more testing, That is all I and others here have been saying. We want to know for sure first, before recklessly embracing an unproven technology. No, I am not opposed to all technology.


      • Carlos,

        Just because a term is “mainstream” does not mean it is not inflammatory. For example….people often refer to things they disagree with as being “gay.” This is a widely used expression, but that doesn’t make it acceptable. You can call me defensive if you want. I am simply asking for civil conversation here.

        I am not paid one red cent for this blog. All the expenses related to it have been paid by me, myself, and I. I do this because I enjoy writing and debate, and I feel incredibly misunderstood by the general public. It is my dream to some day be paid for what I do here, but I do not change what I write to achieve that. This blog is about my personal feelings and experiences in life.

        I could not tell you why the domain is registered the way it is. I am only internet-savvy enough to put posts on this blog through wordpress. I am still learning all this website stuff, and am not an expert in that area. I registered iafarmwife.com through wordpress. I couldn’t tell you much more about that, not because I am hiding something, but because that is all I know.

        I have nothing to hide. What do I need to do to prove to you that is the case? Come visit my family’s farm and see for yourself. I’d even be willing to pay for half of your plane ticket. I don’t know if you ever mentioned where you are, but it doesn’t really matter to me. Carlos, I am real, my family is real, and so is our farm. I will do whatever it takes to prove to you that is the case. (Well, within reason, anyway.) A visit from you would make for excellent blog fodder for the both of us, I’m sure.

        As far as your suggestion on the gm vs non-gm and feeding it….our agronomist is coming today to collect our seed order. We may just take you up on your challenge. I’ll let you know what we decide and why. You have got me thinking, for sure.

        What would it take for you to know for sure that gm crops are safe? No adverse effects isn’t enough? What will it take for you to say that what we are doing here on our farm with gmos is ok?

        Take Care,

      • Hi Liz,

        Your response to my latest post is the best news I have received in the last couple of weeks. In reality, I wanted to feel sure you are legit, that you really exist and that the blog is not a Monsanto disinformation tool. Now I am 99% sure that Liz is Liz – and am glad for that.

        One of the things that bugged me about you almost from the beginning was your statement: “Thank you for the link to Jeffrey Smith…I’m sure I have seen his website in passing…” That registered in my memory banks, when I saw how involved you are in, and how much mistreatment you put up because of, the GMO thing. If you only know of Jeffrey Smith “in passing”, you need to get out a little more (this is only meant as a friendly comment). Check out http://www.responsibletechnology.org/.

        Yes, there are a lot of things – including but not limited to CAFOs, Big pharma, GMOs, corrupt government, cloned animals, you name it, that urinate me off (note that I am trying to not be inflammatory here). I am crazy, not stupid, so I realize that these things are not going to be changed overnight.

        To me, deep down, the big issue here is that I – and all of us – have the right to know what we are getting when we buy our food. We want to be able to opt out of GMOs. There will be occasions when I intentionally buy and consume something that contains GMOs, but I want that to happen with my previous knowledge. This goes to the matter of being careful that you and Sue touched on. But how can one be careful if the information to evaluate a food is not provided on the label or by some other means?

        This is one little step that’s easier to handle than the above-mentioned items and something I am right now beginning to get involved in. As part of that, there is a possibility of my taking a trip to, of all places, Iowa. So a face-to-face meeting between us may happen sooner than later – and that would be great.

        “What would it take for you to know for sure that gm crops are safe?” It would take some kind of study done by an impartial third party for the USDA’s EIS. The EIS should not contain material that is just copied and pasted from a study by Monsanto in the name of “cooperation”. I know you are going to ask who is going to pay for it: the USDA can assess a fee from Monsanto (we know they can afford it) or whomever, hire the third party to do the study, put that study through the appropriate checks/tests to insure its integrity.

        “No adverse effects isn’t enough?” What no adverse effects? Every day we hear about some new link between GMOs and serious health/environment problems.

        “What will it take for you to say that what we are doing here on our farm with gmos is ok?” Presently, nothing exists that will make me say that unqualifiedly. It appears that you and your family are an honest, hard-working bunch and that your intentions are good, and I admire you for that; from that standpoint, what you are doing on your farm is OK

        But maybe you need to spend more time on educating yourselves with knowledge from sources other than the suppliers who make tons of money from your efforts and loyalty. Perhaps even look at it from a purely selfish, long-term business standpoint. The whole food system is a mess and the number of people who trust it is diminishing fast. People now abhor CAFOs; they do not want GMOs, for whatever reasons; they do not trust the FDA, the USDA, government as a whole. The writing is on the wall; times are a-changin’.

        Maybe your land is not contaminated beyond repair. Make some changes before it becomes so. Better to be broke with a clean conscience than rich knowing you are going to stick your kids with something that will fail big time in the future.

        On another note, the issues of spontaneous animal abortions and calf infertility has surfaced several times in the last couple of weeks. There is evidence of links between these and GMOs. Some of the participants here may want to see the following, just for information:
        Tongue-in-cheek, http://blogs.ocweekly.com/stickaforkinit/2011/02/immigrant_cattle_doing_the_job.php and very serious, http://www.naturalnews.com/031473_GMOs_pathogens.html.



      • Thank you Carlos, for taking my word that I am indeed real….

        I will make myself more familiar with Mr. Smith, although I must admit, his website is hard for me to stomach. He is quite….sensationalist. But I will try to cut through the BS and analyze his claims. I will seek out some of his books as well.

        As I’ve said before on the GMO labeling… if it is what the consumer wants, than it will be what the consumer gets. I don’t get it, but that doesn’t matter….the customer is always right. Best of luck on your endeavor to accomplish this.

        As far as your suggestion on third-party testing. It’s a good one. I agree. I feel the political pressure is there to accomplish it.

        Every day we hear about a new possible link between GMOs and adverse effects, and every day many of these possible links are debunked. For example, the 2009 study that found liver, heart, and kidney damage in mammals…. has been debunked three different times (four if you count the independent study funded by Monsanto, but I threw that one out just for you): The French High Council of Biotechnologies Scientific Committee reviewed the 2009 Vendômois et al. study and concluded that it “..presents no admissible scientific element likely to ascribe any haematological, hepatic or renal toxicity to the three re-analysed GMOs.”[108][109] An evaluation by the European Food Safety Authority of the 2009 and 2007 studies noted that most of the results were within natural variation and they did not consider any of the effects reported biologically relevant.[110][111] A review by Food Standards Australia New Zealand of the 2009 Vendômois et al. study concluded that the results were due to chance alone.[112] I found this info on wikipedia’s entry on “genetically modified foods.”

        Thank you for the acknowlegement that our farm is “ok.” I’ll take it. I feel that, for the most part, most people’s intentions are good… and we must operate under that assumtion. That doesn’t mean we put our guards down, but we can’t go being suspect of every little thing either. Why would any biotech company knowingly release a product that would cause more damage than good? Would this not put them out of business? Implying that Monsanto is evil and analyzing the company for mistakes or oversteeping are two very different things. I will tend to believe the individual who is truly working to resolve issues, as opposed to the indivdual who is out for blood and seeks to profit by painting an alamrmist picture.

        I will take your suggestion to expand my horizons, although, I must defend myself a little here. I do not feel that I am as lopsided as I could be. I do try to avoid getting my info from suppliers, but let’s face it, finding information in today’s world is really a matter of weighing differing (and often extreme) viewpoints and finding the factual information in all of them. The truth almost always lies in the middle.

        Perhaps some day our farm will change. Scratch that… our farm is changing. It has always been changing and adapting to what the consumer wants. And maybe some day that will mean organic farming, or grass finishing, or whatever the next “big thing” is. I do not agree that our food system is a mess, I feel that it is better than it ever has been…but again, customer is always right, and what customer wants, customer gets. That doesn’t mean that what we are doing today isn’t responsible. The customer is who changes the food system…..not the farmer, not the processor…..it is the one who votes with their pocketbook.

        “Better to be broke with a clean conscience than rich knowing you are going to stick your kids with something that will fail big time in the future.” Words we live by every day on our farm. Our soil is not damaged, and we test religiously to ensure that. We apply various managment techniques to ensure that. Our soil is our future. We are not, and do not jeopardize it. I know you feel differently, but who has the most to lose here? The soil on our farms is our livlihood….if we damage them, we damage our way of life.

        As far as the whole microrganism issue and possible links to GMOs. Dr. Huber takes a lot of leaps in his research. A lot. First off, his research links round-up to the microorganism, not GMOs. Is there some truth to his research? Maybe. I am highly skeptical that the disease can be passed on to other living beings, this is extemely rare. The study he sights on the heifers being fed wheat and hay, cannot possibly prove this. Maybe if both groups of heifers had been fed wheat (which, by the way, does not have any approved GMO varities)…one having been planted on ground treated with round-up, and one on untreated ground…maybe then Dr. Huber would have a point. There are so many other factors that could have caused the abortions….maybe the wheat contained a mold unrelated to round-up that the hay did not….Maybe the bulls had issues. Stating that there was a presence of the micro-organism does not mean the microorganism caused the problem. Nor does it mean that round-up caused the microorganism to exist. Maganese deficiencies have been in existence far longer than roundup has. Both Iowa State and Purdue have tried to replicate Mr. Huber’s findings, and neither have been able to prove his claims. Here is a good link for you: http://www.btny.purdue.edu/weedscience/2011/GlyphosatesImpact11.pdf

        Don’t you think that if roundup caused spontaneous abortions in cattle, that we would see this problem on our farm? All 200 of our bred cows and growing heifers are fed GM, roundup treated corn products all winter as their sole source of feed. In the summer, they are supplemented with GM, roundup treated corn products while they have calves at their side and while they are being bred. We have a good calf crop every year. How do you explain this?

        Whew. I may not get paid to do this….but after all the time it took me to research and type this response….I do belive I should start charging a per response fee. As always, thanks for the dialogue.

      • Hi Liz, long time no see. I have not forgotten you, I’ve just been busy.

        Yes, here is what I said about your farm being OK: “Presently, nothing exists that will make me say that unqualifiedly. It appears that you and your family are an honest, hard-working bunch and that your intentions are good, and I admire you for that; from that standpoint, what you are doing on your farm is OK”. I think some of the things you are doing are NOT OK, and the reason I think that are all over the place in this thread, so there is no need to rehash the subject. Besides, you have been very gracious in the way your have dealt with my BS, which makes you more OK and which I appreciate. Many of the issues here, we can discuss until we are blue in the face and you and I are never going to agree on some things.

        Did you watch that video that Anna-Monique gave us the link to? It’s pretty much a film version of the book “The World According to Monsanto”. I read it before and this was a fun way to review its content. Every thing presented in that work is documented thoroughly. If you are not familiar with it, you should at least watch the video – it would not hurt you to get to know Monsatan a little better.

        You are probably familiar with Cervantes’s quote, “Tell me what company you keep and I’ll tell you what you are”. It’s true. And to know the company one keeps is smart. It’s OK to know somebody who is your friend or your enemy – either one is fine, as long as you KNOW. What is very distressing is knowing somebody who you think is your friend and subsequently learning it’s the enemy. Believe me, Monsanto is NOT your friend; yours or any other farmer’s.

        When you started this thread, one of the things you said was, “…the comments on these sorts of things are filled with hatred and inaccuracy.” I know that can be true, but find it completely understandable: look at the company you keep..

        Come on, you are more familiar with Mr. Smith than you are admitting here. Aren’t you?

        I got inspired after I watched the video, so I started a little transgenic English dictionary, which will be expanding little by little. I hope you don’t mind that I share it – http://www.timos.com/blog/index.cfm/2011/3/4/Maybe-Monsanto-can-patent-its-new-transgenic-English.

        Talk to you soon, I hope –


      • Hi Carlos. I was beginning to wonder about you, glad you’re back. You’re right, we will have to agree to disagree, on many levels. And that’s ok with me. I think you have legitimate concerns, and I feel like I have addressed them….but it’s not my job to change your mind (only you can do that), only answer your questions, and vice versa.

        I will watch the video when I get a moment. It’s been a long time since I’ve had 2 hours to sit down and watch a movie, but when I get another chance to do so, this will be the one.

        I’m just going to leave your comments on the company I keep to stand for what they are. I agree with all of it, except the last sentence….but I think we’ve been around this subject enough.

        Hatred and inaccuracy is never ok in my book, and I fail to understand it. It gets people nowhere.

        I’m a little confused….one second you think I know nothing about Mr. Smith, and the next you think I know more than I’m letting on. I’ve made a few visits to his website. That’s about it. Spent maybe a total of an hour familiarizing myself. I do intend to spend more time though.

        Finally, what is your take on the study I referenced previously being debunked three different times?

        Take Care,

      • My take on the Vendômois study (of which I never heard until you brought it up): it was debunked three times; it could have been debunked 10 times, just once or twice is enough for me to concede that it was flawed. But this is only ONE study; if there were several studies debunked, that would be a different story.

        The same Wikipedia entry you refer to states: “As of January 2009 there has only been one human feeding study conducted on the effects of genetically modified foods”. That is a big fly in the ointment: practically no studies have been made on the effects of GM foods. This is so, based on the Substantial Equivalence concept, the biggest con job in recent history — a concept based on convenient assumptions by biotech (notably Monsanto) and fully embraced by the corrupt FDA and USDA (who are protecting big business and not us, the consumers, like they are supposed to). It’s completely just an assumption, with no real basis, scientific or otherwise.. I have a big problem with that.

        Based on this Substantial Equivalence we end up in situations like a milk producer being sued for labeling milk “rbST-free”. A producer sued for stating the truth! If that is not ass-backwards, I don’t know what is.

        That is why we want mandatory labeling, so we have the option of using or rejecting a given product just because we want to – whether that product is harmful or not is irrelevant. We are supposed to have the freedom to make these choices. The thought of not having that freedom because some idiot decided that something is “substantially equivalent” really makes me cranky.

        We do need more studies – by parties other than the criminals that are making billions by pushing unnatural products. I would like to have more than this Substantial Equivalence BS to rely on. I want to know for sure, if possible. Don’t you?

        Here is something that bothers me: when I go to Colombia or to Europe, at some point there is conversation about “the Americans”. These two comments/questions invariably come up:
        “Where do all those fat people come from?” And more recently,
        “But those poor people are sooo sick; seems like they all have some kind of allergy”.

        These are both valid and to me, as a US citizen, very embarrassing. The latter one, I attribute to processed foods, most of which contain some kind of GMO. Don’t ask me why; I have no scientific evidence, it’s just the way I perceive it. Maybe it’s because in my 30+ as a chef and restaurateur, I had a lot to do with foods and had to deal with restaurant customers’ “allergy du jour”.

        A little off-topic comment:

        The first time, processed food was a fun novelty; after a while it all tasted the same. When something comes from a can or one of those frozen packages, I can tell. It’s depressing to see that so many people here can’t tell the difference. Do you think it’s because processed food is substantially equivalent to fresh, homemade food? I think this is sad.

        About your reply to Sue, this Percy Schmeiser could well be, as you say, an idiot and a liar. As such, he would make a perfect member of Congress

      • I’ve stated before, yes, I want to see more independent studies on GMOs, and I will lobby congress for that.

        Carlos, on your statements about comments you’ve heard abroad….it saddens me that people would be so rude and make such generalizations. Would you criticize a foreigner’s culture so harshly to their face like that? I wouldn’t. Disrespectful people don’t get much time from me, and they certainly don’t embarrass me.

        You can tell the difference in foods because you are a chef. I personally do not understand (ok, maybe I understand it, but I personally reject it) society’s fascination with all things pre-packaged, but, the fascination and demand is there nonetheless….so we must provide the option.

        LOL on your comments about congress….

  78. Liz, I commented on this post much earlier in the discussion, and then subscribed so I could keep reading this interesting discussion. I just wanted to commend you again on your reasoned and calm answers to the questions posed here. I would point out that practices followed in Brazil are quite likely to not even be legal in the USA where herbicide and pesticide laws are much more stringent than in many other countries.

    • I agree threecollie. The pace of this discussion has got me winded, to say the least. I just hope I can get everyone addressed!

    • Posted by Sue on February 16, 2011 at 2:14 pm

      Threecollies, I’m sure you are right about the practices in Brazil not being permitted in the US, so are you saying that it’s okay as long as it’s not in OUR backyard? But it IS our backyard!! Business is international. We are not isolated here.

      Just recently,
      ” A few weeks back, coinciding with President Hu Jintao’s visit, the USDA moved a step closer to allowing poultry imports from China, which has an atrocious food safety record. If this were to take effect, consumers of some poultry products would have no idea whether their chicken came from Georgia or Guangdong, since Country-of-Origin-Labeling does not pertain to processed poultry and meat products.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wenonah-hauter/food-policy-we-cant-belie_b_821666.html?just_reloaded=1

      This is part of the argument in a nutshell. This is the reason that consumers are advocating for transparent labeling laws. If given the choice, would you buy chicken from China or from a US regulated farm? Would you purchase soy products from Brazil or from the USA?? How are we to know where our food comes from if there are no regulations forcing the producer to divulge the source of the food items? And exactly WHAT will this do to our US poultry farms?? Obviously not a good thing for our farming community.

      Folks like me…and Carlos…and others following the conversation are just trying to raise awareness that we are headed down a road that we may not be able to return from. We just want to know where our food is coming from, if it is safe, and how it was produced.

      “Coming events cast their shadows before.” ~ Thomas Campbell

      • I would have to raise my own chickens rather than eat chickens from China as I understand they go around the villages and pick up chickens who died the day before for food production. I saw this in a documentary filmed in secret. I just don’t trust the food standards in China. They are also making fake rice there that contains plastic! This is a very different mindset than my own. Someone here said it is about trust. The farther removed from the consumer, the more likely that trust factor is meaningless.

        Our government and our food supply are broken. People don’t realize that the FDA and USDA are not protecting them, not doing their own studies, scratching their friends backs (either cushy jobs offered in government or private industry and campaign contributions and who knows, maybe money/promises under the table).

        Things change. I have. I’m a city person, but will be growing my own food this summer in a greenhouse, not because it was my first choice, but because I can see what’s coming. We must adapt. Although the learning curve may get me this summer, I want to be ready in the next couple of years. Learn how to can and preserve the food, etc. That’s the only way I know what I’m eating, what was put on it, where the seeds came from (all organic seeds). I don’t want any monsanto seeds or coated seeds or anything else similar! Why? Monsanto brought us agent orange, aspartame, DDT, PCBs and has contaminated every person in this world. Now they are doing the same with GMOs. It is possible that GMOs cause health problems, Morgellons, auto immune disease, organ damage (who knows what–no one!) The bacteria and viruses used to make GMOS may transmutate with bacteria in our gut. None of this has been studied enough to let this loose into our environment. Would you put your child on an untested ferris wheel that had been built by teenagers who built it because they could/wanted to make a profit? The scientists are doing this work not because they know the end result, but because they can. They are infant scientists with this technology and no government to stop them.

  79. P.S. Thanks for the info about tilling and the cover crops.

  80. Posted by Sue on February 17, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Of interest:

    “Road surveys conducted in North Dakota, USA, provide incontrovertible evidence that transgenic plants are growing outside of cultivation. We travelled 5400 km of interstate, state and county roads. Of the 406 B. napus plants collected, 347 tested positive for CP4 EPSPS or PAT (86%). Densities of feral canola ranged from 0 – 175 plants per m-2. Moreover, two instances of “stacked traits” (single individuals with both traits) were found. Canola varieties with multiple transgenic traits have not yet been released commercially. These observations indicate feral populations are reproducing and have become established outside of cultivation making this is the first report in the U.S. of established populations of genetically modified organisms in the “wild”. As such, these observations have important implications for the ecology and management of native and weedy species, and as well as for the management of biotech products in the U.S.”

  81. Genetic modification of plants is a violent act against nature. Inserting a foreign gene using bacteria & virus not found in the plants is a destruction of the integrity of nature to such an alarming extent there are no words for it. And for scientists to lie and say that afterwards it is a substantially equivalent organism is like a rapist saying “I’m substantially equivalent to your husband, so no harm done–no difference at all.” Or a rat stating, “I’ve eaten from your cupboard but the food looks just the same so there is no difference.” Or a splinter stating to you, I’m so small, I won’t make any difference to you at all.”

    Basically the science is so abnormal, there just aren’t words to describe it! You take a gene from a different organism and insert it into an organism by force? You see nothing wrong with that? It’s just amazing. And to say this could happen in nature does not consider the process involved, using antibiotic resistant marker bacteria? You’ve got to be kidding. I just can’t get over this, that people would think there are no possible consequences to be worried about.

    Simply because a science exists does not mean it should be used! Or that a big corporation is doing it without governtment getting upset so it must be okay?

    How do good people overlook this kind of thing as being normal?
    Changing the building blocks of life at the genetic level is simply an astounding attack upon our world, not to mention that no one knows the end result?

    Again, genetic modification of life is just a crime with no words to describe the horror and potential for disaster!

  82. Hi Liz and Carlos, make some popcorn and watch this whole documentary from the BBC called A Farm for the Future. http://bit.ly/gXjhTP


    • Fascinating, well done video. Perhaps this is what our future will look like….who knows? One small thing I’d like to point out, though. The narrator implies that tillage is necessary for farming. It is not. We have not tilled our land for 15 years. Also, the USDA has a lot of say in how a farmer works his/her land. The images in this documentary showed mold-board plowing, which is the most intense and erosion-creating form of tillage there is. Very very very few farmers in the midwest use this form of tillage. Minimal tillage is much more common among farmers who do till. No-till farming has been steadily gaining popularity in recent decades. Our fields are a host to many forms of wildlife, from beetles to coyotes to deer. Farming is not black and white. Another point, our pastures are all natural growth, we do not till or seed them. There are new technologies on the horizon that have the potential to make modern farming more sustainable. Things like producing nitrogen from windmills and using methane from cattle as an energy source. We humans are innovators, and if we run out of oil, I have faith that we will handle it in stride, maybe not without struggle and sacrifice, but we will handle it. The one problem I can see with a permaculture system is the problem pointed out by the narrator, there are not enough people willing to work on the land for a living. Perhaps someday we will run out of oil and be forced back to it, or perhaps we will find a new energy source. Time and future generations will tell. In the meantime, I am going to continue to use technology to produce more with less.

    • I enjoyed this video very much. Really brings home what is going on. Maybe Monsanto and Bill Gates plan is to poison the people which will lower the population back to sustainable levels so that the lifestyle of people like Bill Gates won’t have to change so much, and oil will last much longer. In any case Monsanto has always done an excellent job of poisoning the people. An interesting question is what is their motive?

      We won’t be able eto depend upon the oil dependent food growing, packaging and transportation, particularly with the high cost of oil that keeps going up. We have to start now to change our habits and bring the land back to local production.

  83. Posted by Sue on February 21, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    “Perhaps someday we will run out of oil and be forced back to it, or perhaps we will find a new energy source. Time and future generations will tell. In the meantime, I am going to continue to use technology to produce more with less.”
    Really? So you are willing to leave a legacy to your children and grandchildren—one of more difficult farming practices because there will no longer be the affordable petroleum products for them to use because our generation over-used our resources; they will no longer have affordable seed resources because a few select companies in the world hold all production seeds in their reserves (forcing them to purchase only from these monopolies in order to sustain their livelihoods); and no longer will a farmer save his seed to replant the next year because he has lost the ability to do so…. And your opinion is, “oh well, maybe one day our posterity will be forced to go back to those old-time farming practices?” What has happened to the moral and ethical belief structure of today’s modern farmer? Get rich now and to h*ll with future generations???? The Me-Me/Now-Now mentality is destroying our earth. I find these thoughts to be very discouraging to our future.

    • The Chicken Little-Sky Is Falling mentality is not productive. I have faith that humanity will find a way to address the issues it faces, I don’t think that is selfish at all. Ever since the dawn of civilization, life has gotten easier for future generations, due to human innovation, I see no reason for that trend to stop with this generation. There are thousands of potential options for future energy supplies, and when the time comes, one or more of those alternatives will become more feasible than oil. This will happen. That’s not to say we shouldn’t be cautious with the resources we have available now, but I do not understand the whole doom and gloom picture being painted. The future doesn’t depress me, I’m excited to see where we go.

  84. Posted by Sue on February 21, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    I’m not wanting to stir up a ‘doom and gloom’ attitude, I just feel we need to be careful and cautious with what we are given.

    On another note, are you aware of who is really getting rich from Monsanto’s businesses?

    According to The Wall Street Journal (this report is 3 months old):

    “Soros also purchased 897,813 shares of Monsanto–his second-largest holding on a dollar basis–during the quarter. The position is now valued at $312.6 million.”

    Does it worry you that he also owns millions of shares in the pharmaceutical companies who are buying up all the independent seed companies (including heirloom and natural selection seeds). I think we all need to be aware of the underlying financial backing of these companies and we have a moral obligation to question what their motives are.

    • That is an interesting point. I’m not here to defend Monsanto. I fully believe in anti-trust laws, that large companies should be investigated and held accountable, and that Monsanto needs to make their seeds available for research purposes. I agree, we do need to question motives. I think the discussion going on here isn’t so much Monsanto is bad vs. good…but I think we are being careful, and you don’t. I don’t even mean to convince you otherwise, I am simply stating my point-of-view and trying to shed some light on how I see things as a mother, wife, consumer, and farmer. We may never agree, but we can work to understand each other.

      • Posted by Sue on February 24, 2011 at 3:01 pm

        I do want to thank you for putting this topic up. As a result, I have done more research on the topic and learned more than I knew before. I have read the MSDS sheet for Glyphosate and see that there are a lot of ‘unknowns’ listed as side-affects. I see that it is toxic to marine life and water fowl and that it is present in crops which are harvested from fields where it is applied.

        I have read the MSDS sheet for Roundup and see the same toxic risks to waterfowl and marine life. I notice that if safety proceedures are followed as recommended, it is safe for humans to apply to crops/vegetation, however, ingestion is not recommended. http://www.afpmb.org/pubs/standardlists/msds/6840-01-108-9578_msds_roundup_pro.pdf

        I have learned who the shareholders of Monsanto are and they are now on my watch list. I will continue to watch what they get their hands into and will question their motives.

        I am more determined now than ever to push for label laws on GMO foods for human consumption. In reviewing many uses of GMOs, I’ve decided that (I personally) am not opposed to the use of these crops for industrial uses. (I may change my mind on that the more I study)…. However, I am still unconvinced that they are safe for consumption–whether animal or human. How can we police pollen and stop the winds from contaminating our pure seed crops?

        I find it more than a huge coincidence that my daughter became allergic to soy at about the same time manufacturers started replacing natural soy with GMO soy in food products. She now has to carry epinepherine for fear of anaphylaxic reactions if exposed. Soy could kill her. Is it GMO soy that is her enemy? Does natural soy pose the same risk? We are not willing to experiment with her life to find out.

        I have learned that the next big push in GMO’s (other than alfalfa) is Sugar Beets, where the majority of sugar in this country comes from. Sugar beets are a wind-pollinated crop and can spread up to 6 miles, depending on the winds. It’s almost like being exposed to ‘second-hand-smoke’ by a co-worker. GE sugarbeets will be very damaging to Organic sugar-beet farmers. George Kimbrell, senior attorney at the Center for Food Safety, says that because Swiss chard and table beets are in the same family as sugar beets, it’s very easy for GE sugar beets to contaminate the other crops.

        And what about that newly approved GM alfalfa??? What do we really know about it? How will it affect everyone, from the cattle who eat it to the consumer who eats the meat? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/08/gmo-alfalfa-contamination-certain_n_820469.html Once released into the fields, we will not be able to remove it. Already rogue GMO canola plants are thriving in the wild. Alfalfa will surely follow.

        Have you read about the ethanol corn being released? What will it do to the corn you currently grow? Will it reduce your marketability? Will it reduce the already stressed incomes of the family farm? (“The fear of groups like the Union of Concerned Scientists is that it will contaminate corn grown for food.
        “The USDA’s decision defies common sense,” said Margaret Mellon, director of UCS’s Food and Environment Program, in a news release. “There is no way to protect food corn crops from contamination by ethanol corn. Even with the most stringent precautions, the wind will blow and standards will slip. In this case, there are no required precautions.”

        Bill Freese, science policy analyst at the Center for Food Safety, wrote on his group’s website, “Syngenta’s biofuels corn will inevitably contaminate food-grade corn, and could well trigger substantial rejection in our corn export markets, hurting farmers.”)

        I can only grow so much in my back-yard garden. I used to think it was safe for my family because it is all organically grown heirloom seeds. But now I wonder if my garden will be contaiminated because of factors I cannot control, like wind and bees.

        I have learned that in the US, 93% of soybeans grown are GM. 78% of Cotton is GM, 70% of the corn grown is GM. Who knew that there is more than one kind of GMO corn? I didn’t…

        I still have a lot to learn and will continue to educate myself on this topic. I hope you will do the same.

      • Sue-
        I am glad you are doing so much of your own research, and it looks like you are using reliable sources. I do know that cross-contamination of crops is a concern, and it is being addressed. An agreement in the release of RR alfalfa was that non-gm producers will be protected and compensated if they can demostrate cross-contamination in their crops.

        As far as the ethanol-specific corn goes. I am concerned about it. It is safe for human consumption, but food processors are not interested in buying it. And until they are 100% on board, it is very foolish for Syngenta to release the product. This is more about gaining consumer trust, than proving the safety of the crop, in my mind, although the two go hand-in-hand. I do not see ethanol corn gaining a huge share of the market, as farmers want as many marketing options as possible for their crops, and ethanol-specific corn limits those options. There would have to be a sizeable financial incentive for us to plant it on our farm, and history has proven that it is very difficult for the market to bear the added cost of specialty crops. For example, we grew beans that were genetically modified to have low linoleic acid, called Vistive beans, for a few years. There was an incentive of about 50 cents per bushel to grow these beans, but, the program has been scaled back due to farmers not seeing the advantage in growing beans with such a specific market. We only had one place we could deliver our beans to when we grew Vistive, and that limited our ability to get the best price for them. In general, farmers and cooperatives do not like to segregate special crops, nor have they gotten very good at it on a large scale. I do not think we are ready for gmo ethanol corn.

        This blog conversation has caused hours of conversation between my husband and I, family members, and other farmers and cosumers….my research is forever ongoing as well.

        What year it was it that your daughter began having allergic reactions to soy?

        Thank you for contributing to the discussion.

  85. Liz should be afraid of Monsanto or Monsatan as Carlos calls it because Monsanto loves to sue farmers. Further, they will not be held liable for any damages the farmer sustains. The amount for damages is apparently limited to the cost of the seeds. Now that’s a company that stands behind it’s farmers! Not! Farmers unite against Monsanto. Don’t buy their seeds! Your customers don’t want GMOs and poisons in their food!

  86. While we wait for some more action, here is an interesting item titled “Why Monsanto Always Wins”, published just yesterday – http://www.truth-out.org/why-monsanto-always-wins67976.

    Not a lot new here: what I see from the article is that in USDA-Monsatan lingo, the words “cooperation” and “collusion” are synonyms. No surprise that they are re-defining the English language. They think they are gods and want to re-design what nature gave us by playing with it at a very scary level.

    They are not just breeding animals, grafting trees and hybridizing seeds. They are modifying genes and manipulating DNA, using genetic engineering, a very crude technique that has nobody really understands yet. In plain, classic English (not their new English), they don’t know what they are doing.

    And we are supposed to just sit back and suck hind tit? I don’t think so.

    • Now Carlos, I agree with you, but let’s keep the discussion a little less inflammatory because where else can we have this discussion? It’s an important one. I wish more than anything I could just trust this biotech process and move on to other things that need attention. The world is full of things that need attention. The problem we are having is a lack of independent studies because Monsanto won’t allow them pursuant to their contract (so Liz I’d be careful about what’s posted by you here so Monsanto doesn’t sue for a breach of the contract). For example, it may be possible that doing the very simple feed experiment that Carlos suggested would get you into legal trouble with Monsanto because of the contract you signed. If the FDA would do it’s job adequate and extensive testing would have been done. But our government turns a blind eye to the biotech industry, indeed, it’s a revolving door between the two. I think that the totally independent studies done properly would resolve the issues. So how do we get there?

      • rw- I have the Monsanto contract right here in front of me. I will re-read it when I get a chance, to make sure I cover my butt. I may not be able to do it with corn we plant and grow, but there is no way they can stop me (as a consumer) from buying a bag of non-gm corn and a bag of gm corn for feeding. I can’t really do the experiement on our cattle because they are in too large of groups to supply the grain to, although I can try. I’m just thinking I wouldn’t be able to get good results with it because the feed needs to be equally available to all the animals. I’m thinking I will try doing this with my horse. I actually have the whole idea for the experiment formed in my head, it’s now just a matter of figuring out how and where I can get some non-gm corn. Not to mention, fitting it into my schedule….but, there is a will, so there is a way. I’m glad to hear that you are willing to accept the safety of gmos if there was adequate independent data available. I can say with a deal of confidence, through my experiences with Farm Bureau and it’s grassroots lobbying efforts, that there is pressure being applied to the USDA, FDA, and Monsanto for more independent testing. We will get there.

  87. Posted by Sue on February 24, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    Interesting letter released:

    In a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, made public by the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, Dr. Don Huber, one of the nation’s senior soil scientists, alerted the federal government to an organism that appears NEW to science: a microscopic pathogen that appears to significantly impact the health of plants, animals, and probably human beings. It is widespread, very serious, and is in much higher concentrations in Monsanto’s genetically modified Roundup-Ready (RR) soybeans and corn – suggesting a link with the RR gene or more likely the presence of Roundup.


    • Even before this came out in the news a few days ago wbout the new microscopic organism found prevalent in GM foods, I avoided GMOs 99.9% of the time, but I know that I can’t trust the food supply anymore, and it’s just a disaster waiting to happen. I don’t eat out, I buy mostly organic, unless none of the ingredients are known to be genetically modified. It is not easy to do, but not too difficult either. I cannot understand why with all the communications to government from people who are concerned, they do nothing to stop this dangerous experiment. Maybe it is like mercury in dental fillings; it got to a point where people in the industry would be very embarrassed if it were banned, so they keep saying it’s safe, even though they have to know otherwise. But embarrassment is a terrible reason to put every human being and this planet at risk. Further, this is the biggest threat to mankind ever known! Except for maybe things like DDT and PCBs that Monsanto is also responsible for!

  88. Hi Liz,

    From Dr. Vandana Shiva:

    “The false claim of higher food production has been dislodged by a recent study titled, Failure to Yield by Dr. Doug Gurian Sherman of the Union of Concerned Scientists, who was former biotech specialist for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and former adviser on GM to the U.S Food and Drug Administration. Sherman states, “Let us be clear. There are no commercialized GM crops that inherently increase yield. Similarly there are no GM crops on the market that were engineered to resist drought, reduce fertilizer pollution or save soil. Not one.””


  89. Posted by Sue on February 26, 2011 at 4:23 am

    Liz, I cannot seem to reply just underneath the post where you questioned me about the year my daughter became allergic to soy. It was 2003 that we pinpointed it. I must clarify that she developed food allergies as a young child, to wheat and dairy. I became a skilled label reader. We gave her soy milk in place of dairy. For 4 years I cooked and baked with soy without any difficulty. Then troubles with her health began and after many many trips to a Pediatric GI specialist and hours of medical testing, we discovered that soy had become her enemy. (as well as corn–ironically, the two items I used most in place of wheat and dairy).

    I am very passionate about our food sources and need to know where these foods come from, how they are processed, what they come in contact with (in the field, grain wagon, silos, mills, factory, etc.) When food allergies enter your life, everything you thought you knew about food changes. I have more than one child with food allergies, and we are very diligent about reading labels, purchasing pure foods and cooking from scratch as much as is physically possible. Have you ever tried to eliminate soy and corn from your diet? Totally?

    I grow our vegetables. I bottle/freeze/dehydrate them for year-around use. We who already struggle to find safe foods to eat, and are limited in our ability to purchase or grow safe foods are very concerned as our resources dwindle. Have you ever taken your child to a restaurant and not been able to order them anything to eat? When organic farms become infiltrated with GMO’s, we see our food resources disappearing.

    You see, my interest in GMO foods is not merely an environmental one. It is one of life and death. It is about quality of life. It is about our individual freedom and the rights to choose to eat what we NEED to eat, not just what we want to eat. Liz, we need our foods to be labeled whether they are GMO or not. Our allergist recommends organic food.

    Science cannot tell us why food allergies increased 18% between 1997 and 2007. Genetics plays a big part, and my family does have history of seasonal allergies. But why my kids developed food allergies all within 3 years of each other? I find it ironic that this all happened the same decade that GMO crops entered the food stream.

    Our children are the canaries in the coal mine.

    • Sue- I know this comment thread is confusing. I’m not sure what I can do to improve it. I think it only allows so many responses before you have to start a new thread. Not sure. My heart goes out to you and all you are dealing with on the food allergy front. My son is slightly allergic to shellfish, and my daughter has had one unexplained allergic reaction…but that is the only experience I have with allergies, a walk in the park compared to what you’re dealing with. I’m going to try to approach this subject as gently as possible. Your children first developed wheat allergies, right? Wheat is not GMO. You leave the impression on me that if there were no GMOs your children wouldn’t have allergies. But allergies existed long before GMOs did. Many people are allergic to foods that are not GMO. Nuts (a common allergy) are not GMO. If GMOs were really the cause of an allergy, wouldn’t it go to say that an individual should be able to eat non-GMO foods and not GMO? I understand not wanting to take risks, if the allergy is life threatening, but certainly there are indivuals whose allergies are not as severe out there who have tried to prove this point?

      Perhaps the increase in allergies can be explained by advancements in diagnosis? In this article, http://www.gmo-compass.org/eng/safety/human_health/192.gmos_mean_more_allergies.html, from GMO Compass, it states that huge advancements have been made in understanding of allergies and testing for them. It also talks about how the introduction of new food proteins doesn’t come from gene insertion technology alone. New proteins in food can com from breeding programs and exotic foods. New proteins in GMO foods are analyzed for allergenic potential, and only the low risk ones are allowed (no such thing as no-risk). How can we possibly say this is the fault of GMOs?

      In a sense, we already have GMO lableling here. You can avoid GMOs by buying organic. I know you say this is cost prohibitive, but, if GMO lableling were to come to fruition here, and the consumer was to reject GMOs (I’m not convinced this would actually happen, what people say and what they do are often different things, especially when it comes to public opinion)….prices of all foods would go up. This is undeniable. The low cost of GMO foods helps to hold organic prices within reason. Without the competition from GMO food and a distinct difference from mainstream food, combined with the lower amounts of food produced in an organic system, it is inevitable that prices would rise. Also, I’m sure you have heard that the organic market is experiencing explosive growth. As that happens, it is a good thing, especially for the consumer, in my eyes. Competition keeps prices low, and we don’t want to eliminate that.

      Again, Sue, my heart goes out to you and the dealings you are having with food allergies. But as I am sure you know much better than I do, food allergies are a complex thing, and to say that GMOs are the cause of them….just doesn’t make sense. Wouldn’t it make more sense to eliminate all the other possible factors first?

      • Posted by Sue on March 6, 2011 at 4:52 pm

        You said, “Your children first developed wheat allergies, right? Wheat is not GMO. You leave the impression on me that if there were no GMOs your children wouldn’t have allergies.”
        Sorry for being unclear. Yes, food allergies existed before GMO’s. My daughter outgrew her wheat allergy at a young age. She was fortunate. I do worry based on her particular tendancy to develop food allergies that with the introduction of the new Wheat GMO that monsanto is working to release will cause her body to be confused again about this new shaped protein.
        You said, “You can avoid GMOs by buying organic. I’m sure you have heard that the organic market is experiencing explosive growth.”
        Have you stopped to ask yourself WHY there is an increase in interest in Organic? It is because the consumer is rejecting GMO. I cannot avoid GMO’s by simply deciding to buy Organic. The organic and conventional farming practices are at risk of contaimation due to GMO cross-contaimation in the field. GMO farming practices puts my daughter’s health at risk.

        The topic of food allergies is too complex to be discussed here on your forum. I only wanted to point out another reason why a certain sector of consumers are against GMO….however…the Celiac community is hoping that the new GMO wheat will be tolerated.

        You said:
        ” The entire EU is non-gmo.”
        Will you next be telling me that I should move my family back to Europe? My family has farmed in this country since the 1700’s. I don’t believe a person should have to move to the other side of the world in order to find safe food to eat.

      • I understand your concerns Sue, I do. I agree on your philosophy as to why the organic market is increasing. I never meant to imply that you should move to Europe….I was only trying to demonstrate that there is still a sizable amount of production on this planet that is non-gmo.

  90. I’m encouraged by Liz’s recent comments that her cows are calving and otherwise doing well on GM food and she is willing to see if her horse prefers non-gmo food. I’m beginning to feel that it is rather silly to think that farmers want to harm us or don’t care about consequences of what they do. I think we are all good people here wanting to do what’s right. I am encouraged by the discussion and plan to spend time reviewing the links to the information Liz posted (as soon as I have some time). This doesn’t mean I trust GMOs, but I’m feeling less panic and looking forward to learning more–learning as much as possible–from all sides. Thanks for all your efforts, Liz, and your willingness to learn and share.

  91. Posted by Sue on February 27, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    One of my worries about GMO seeds is the possiblity of farmers losing the option to purchase natural seed if they wish. I am not against conventional farming practices. I am not an “Organic or Nothing” person. I cannot afford to buy organic foods in the stores. But I would like to be able to purchase products from conventional farming practices. I can if I look hard enough. But it shouldn’t be that hard…..I worry that as Liz goes out searching for non-GMO feed for her horse that she will see what we are worried about. These resources are becoming more and more scarce.

    My ancestors were farmers from as far back as I can track them. I am on the side of the farmers….I want to see them continue to farm the land. Nothing is sadder to me than to see a family farm split into lots because that farmer had to go out of business due to economic hardship. I am also not against the CAFO if done properly and I know most are. I have seen these operations. I know the mentality of the farmer and how he cares for his livestock. Granted, there is always going to be a bad apple in every crate, and those are the ones who are sensationalized by the media. Good. Glad they’ve been ratted out. But the average farmer actually loves animals. Some folks may find that hard to believe. Why else would they work day and night in a profession that pays them pennies for all the hours worked?

    I don’t like the idea of the meat I buy being raised on GMO grain. I didn’t used to have to worry about that and I wonder if it affecting our health. I can’t afford organic meat though, so I am at the mercy of the producer and I hope and pray that he knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that the meat he is marketing is safe for my family and my health.

    Liz, my whole point in getting involved in this discussion was to try to show you the fears and worries of the consumer. And to perhaps get you wondering about the future of farming if it continues to go the trend of the last decade.

    • Hi Sue:

      I think you can afford organic. What I do is buy bulk. I go to the local health food store and Costco and and find great deals on organic oats, quinoa, beans, nuts, wheat berries, sugar, butter, etc. I also buy organic rice milk, 12 cartons at a time. If you limit your meat to minimal, you can afford the rest organic, and get plenty of protein at the same time. Unless you buy organic meat, it’s been fed GMOs, so don’t do it. You can find organic meat and cheese at Costco, and just limit that to a small amount. Also, I’ve been buying organic eggs from a CSA for about a year now. I feed them to my dogs and eat them myself. I haven’t purchased commercial eggs more than once or twice in the past year. I know the animals are treated well and eat organic and that they were raised on organic food, as were their parents! This makes me feel good and the eggs are delicious. I also occasionally get a stewing chicken from my CSA, but they are kind of expensive, so only once in a while. Quinoa is full of protein. It’s a great breakfast cereal. Cook with organic raisins, nuts, butter and sugar (all organic) and enjoy a great breakfast. I grind grains like wheat, rye and flax and make my own bread in a bread maker. It’s so easy to do. You can also find organic bread on sale or in bulk and freeze it. It lasts a long time in the freezer, just take out slices as needed.

      I’d definitely avoid products like Kraft and Kellogs and ConAgra, Tyson, etc. Don’t support these companies as they are all about GMOs. Further, if you buy anything canned, buy Eden brand as they don’t have BPAs in their can liner.

      If we don’t vote for what we want at the supermarket, we’ve lost our ability to change the way our food is grown, so please find a way, as when few people shop what they believe, we all lose.

      Also, I’ve found a greenhouse that I’m working on this summer. Went to a permaculture workshop yesterday that was superb and I’m learning how to get back to what my farming ancestors knew as that is the way to save our future. There are many good books in the library on growing food, vegetable gardens, etc. I think we can all start right where we are, even if you just have a planter on your patio, start learning and reading.

      We won’t always be able to feed the world with big agriculture and we also need to care for our planet and it’s up to each one of us to make changes. The food producers have no incentive to change if you are not there to speak out and buy the food you believe in.

      • Hi Sue and RW, just wanted to let you know about a fantastic book called Food Not Lawns written by Heather C. Flores, who, at the time of publication, lived on less than $7,000 per year. Took the book out of the library and its one of the best i’ve read in terms of practical ways of growing food.


    • Sue- I’m not sure that you’re going to see the problem of non-gmo availablility come to fruition. The entire EU is non-gmo. The organic market in the US is growing by leaps and bounds (expected to be 18% of the market by 2020). I understand your concern, and share it to a degree, but I also see a lot of positive stuff happening in that realm.

      Glad to hear your thoughts on CAFO livestock production. I also share your feelings on the bad apples. They do need to be ratted out and put out of business, because all they do is give the majority of farmers a bad name.

      If you do not want meat fed GMOs, you have the option of organic. I know I’ve said this before, but non-gmo grain is expensive, and eliminating GMO grain will not do anyting to change that. To think that food prices will go down upon elimination of GMOs, it just isn’t the case. There is a reason organic food costs more. It costs more to produce, regardless of the presence of non-organic food.

      I do appreciate your dialogue Sue. I appreciate it greatly. You have been willing to talk to me one-on-one, and for that I commend you greatly. I take your concerns to heart. Our farm looks different that it did 10 years ago, and that farm looked different from the farm 10 years before that. Agriculture is always changing. The world is always changing and adapting. I’m certain our farm will look different 10 years from now too. I don’t think it is a bad thing. We will adapt without jeopardizing.

      • Posted by Sue on March 6, 2011 at 4:27 pm

        You said:
        “If you do not want meat fed GMOs, you have the option of organic. I know I’ve said this before, but non-gmo grain is expensive, and eliminating GMO grain will not do anyting to change that. To think that food prices will go down upon elimination of GMOs, it just isn’t the case. There is a reason organic food costs more. It costs more to produce, regardless of the presence of non-organic food. ”
        How is it that 20 years ago I was perfectly able to afford conventionally grown meat in the grocery store? Why is it that conventional meat is no longer affordable, but we HAVE to have meat raised on GMO in order for it to be affordable? This logic seems flawed.
        Of course organic is more expensive. The requirements to meet in order to be classified as Organic are very stringent. A farmer cannot feed his beef cattle conventional seed, he must feed Organic feed.

        YOUR operation puts organic farming at risk. It is undeniable that GMO seeds are infiltrating non-gmo fields. YOUR farming practices are driving up the costs of Non-GMO and Organic farming.

      • You were able to afford meat 20 years ago because the demand for it was lower then. As more people in our society become wealthier, the demand for meat has increased, and prices have gone along with it. If we did not have the technology to increase our production, prices today would be even higher than they are now. Organic costs more because it yields less and requires more work per unit of production. Period.

  92. Posted by KS Lang on February 28, 2011 at 12:27 am

    Really enjoying /observing the discourse on this blog. For the most part respectful, exceedingly well-moderated by Liz and very healthy discussions touching many hot buttons. Very healthy. Awesome opportunity for farmers to learn what keeps consumers up at night and for consumers to learn what keeps farmers up at night. As one commenter so aptly expressed, we’re all good people just trying to do what’s right.

  93. Posted by Sue on March 1, 2011 at 11:49 am

    This is a video by a farmer who has personally experienced the affects of GMO. It is a very good video and does not appear to be a ‘sensationalistic’ report.

    • Percy Schmeiser is either a liar or a complete idiot. I’m sorry to be so blunt. I know this comes from the lion’s den….but please, read this:

      His “GMO contamination” was not accidental.

      His staments on the nutritional value of GMO crops are unfounded and incorrect. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/organic-food/NU00255/NSECTIONGROUP=2

      Monstanto stated over 10 years ago that it will never produce a terminator gene. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/465222.stm

      His talk of pharma-crops isn’t sensationalist? Really?

      Monsanto has also gone on record saying that they will not pursue or enforce any of their patented traits in RR1 seed when it comes off patent in a couple years. Basically, farmers will be allowed to save their RR1 bean seed, even if it contains patented Monsanto traits…..they have also volunteered to maintain the registration of these seeds to prevent any export problems. That certainly doesn’t sound controlling to me. Sounds more like a reasonable compromise.

      I’m sorry, but Percy is not representative of myself.

      • Posted by Sue on March 6, 2011 at 4:17 pm

        “Percy Schmeiser is either a liar or a complete idiot. I’m sorry to be so blunt. I know this comes from the lion’s den….but please, read this:”
        With that ONE statement, you have identified yourself. You have shown where your loyalties lie, and I find it very disheartening that a farmer would turn his back against another farmer without sympathy. This is one of the things I was speaking about earlier. Farmer pitted against farmer. Corporation being believed over the experience of your neighbor. This article is obviously biased because it is found on Monsanto’s website. Have you read the actual court documents on this case? Did you read Schmeiser’s website in comparison? Or do you automatically side with Monsanto without further research? I’m sorry your mind is so made up that you are unwilling or unable to see the damage that GMO crops infiltrating pure strain seeds will cause future generations.

        I can only hope that you will take the time to read this. (http://www.percyschmeiser.com/conflict.htm) Here are some highlights:

        “Monsanto performed no independent tests as their tests were all performed in house or by experts hired by the company.
        In his defense, Schmeiser showed his own farm-based evidence that the fields ranged from nearly zero to 68% Roundup Ready. These tests were confirmed by independent tests performed by research scientists at the University of Manitoba, in Winnipeg, MB.
        Monsanto did not directly try to explain how the Roundup Ready seed got there. “Whether Mr. Schmeiser knew of the matter or not matters not at all,” said Roger Hughes, a Monsanto attorney quoted by The Western Producer, a Canadian agriculture magazine. ”
        According to a Wikipedia article (I know, not the best source) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monsanto_Canada_Inc._v._Schmeiser :
        “Schmeiser says he has lost the right to use his strain of canola, which took him 50 years to develop, because he can not prove they do not include the Roundup Ready gene Monsanto patented. Furthermore, he says that on the advice of his lawyers, he destroyed all his seed and purchased new seed, so his strain of canola no longer exists, which presents an additional obstacle to his continuing to farm it. However, he was ordered to turn over all his remaining seed from his 1997 and 1998 crops to Monsanto,”
        In 2005, Schmeiser discovered again, that GMO canola (this time the Genuity™ Roundup Ready® Canola) had infiltrated his fields.

        From Schmeiser’s website:
        Schmeiser pleased with victory over Monsanto
        In an out of court settlement finalized on March 19, 2008, Percy Schmeiser has settled his lawsuit with Monsanto. Monsanto has agreed to pay all the clean-up costs of the Roundup Ready canola that contaminated Schmeiser’s fields. Also part of the agreement was that there was no gag-order on the settlement and that Monsanto could be sued again if further contamination occurred. Schmeiser believes this precedent setting agreement ensures that farmers will be entitled to reimbursement when their fields become contaminated with unwanted Roundup Ready canola or any other unwanted GMO plants.

        Do you really think that this is a man who would knowingly introduce GM canola into his new crops after all he’s been through?
        I do not believe that a farmer who spent 50 years of his life developing a pure strain of canola as a seed producer would knowingly risk his entire livelihood by introducing GMO seed into his fields. Wow.

      • Sue, Percy Schmeiser may have had a leg to stand on with Monsanto if he was an honest person. He suspected a field of canola to have GMO contamination….sprayed it with roundup to find out, and then saved the seed from the plants that survived. That is the definition of stupid. He should have known better. Instead of saving and planting those seeds he should have went after Monsanto when he first suspected the contamination. He lies and misleads throughout that speech you posted. Just as you said livestock farmers need to call out the bad apples….Percy Schmeiser is a bad apple. He did the right thing in 2005, and was compensated for it. He should have did that the first time around.

  94. Posted by rw on March 1, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Another important article about genetic contamination from GM foods. Corrborates Canadian speaker’s comment that genetically modified plants are dominant: http://bit.ly/eTK8TP. What this means is that if we continue to allow open air experiments with GM foods, we are risking our future.

    • Posted by Sue on March 7, 2011 at 11:33 am

      As I have mentioned in other posts….just because I purchase “Organic” doesn’t mean I am automatically protected from GMO’s. I DON’T have the freedom of Choice that you think I do, Liz. This is where we are headed:

      Lately the USDA and Monsanto have been stressing “coexistence” between GMOs and what they refer to as Identity Preserved crops. It is not GMO crops that are in danger of contamination, but organic and conventional crops that are in danger of widespread contamination with genetically engineered transgenes from GMO crops, converting them to GMOs. The call for coexistence becomes merely a stepping stone to extinction for the crops being taken over by this dominant and invasive technology.


      But for some reason, this does not bother you.

      • Sue, if this stuff didn’t bother me, then I wouldn’t be blogging. The information in the article you link to is different from anything I’ve seen before. I did not realize that the USDA does not have GMO content threshholds for organic, I read about the EU threshholds, and must have, in my mind, transposed that into USDA threshholds. If it is indeed true that there are none, then that should be changed, threshholds should be established.

        I hesitate to bring this up…..but….. part of the answer to this cross-contamination problem, is the terminator gene. It’s why Monsanto pursued it (empahsis on past tense, they have since vowed to never advance or apply the technology). I have mixed feelings about that whole issue though, and presently I am glad that the terminator technology has not been applied.

  95. Hi Liz, please make a bowl of (organic) popcorn and watch this full length film discussing RoundUp and GMOs. Its produced by the National Film Board of Canada http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YH4OwBYDQe8.


  96. Posted by Sue on March 5, 2011 at 2:02 am

    Food Allergies and GM Soy-Allergy
    In order to fully understand the soy and corn industry and what is being added to food, one must do some research. In The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, one fully begins to grasp the scope of what foods are now “contaminated” for those allergic to soy. With extensive research, the author journeys into the farms that benchmark GMO sophistication and warns of the many contamination facts that the industry doesn’t want the public to know. As with any booming industry, it all comes down to money. Many soy and corn processing machines are used simultaneously or not properly cleaned and can be contaminated with the other.

    According to GMO Compass, an online mecca of GMO industry information, 91% of soybeans grown in the US are genetically modified. Soybeans are genetically modified by inserting an herbicide resistant gene taken from bacteria into the soybean. This makes the soybean crop resistant to glyphosate or glufosinate herbicides, thereby increasing the amount of crop produced in a shorter span of time. More crop means more money for the soy industry, but at whose expense?


    Here’s a basic explanation about food proteins and being allergic to them. Plants contain specific proteins unique to their identity. They contain more than one kind of protein. Some are more allergenic than others. These proteins are a certain size, shape, length, etc.

    The average person as they are introduced to foods as toddlers, will have no problems digesting these proteins. Food is introduced slowly and our bodies learn to recognize them as safe. For various reasons, a body may decide that that particular protein is an invading enemy, similar to a virus or bacteria and will send out an assult to destroy the enemy. Once the antibodies are created against this foreign invader, they will protect the body whenever ‘infected’.

    So…we have a current generation of youngsters who were raised as infants and young people during the 80’s & 90’s…before GMO entered the general food stream. Fast forward to the decade of the 200X and society is seeing an alarming increase in food allergies in this country.

    The protein of the Natural plant that GOD created has been altered. It no longer looks the way it used to. The body sees it as an invading enemy and seeks to destroy it.

    “In the last twenty years, there has been an epidemic increase in allergies, asthma, auto-immune disorders, ADHD, and autism, Today, it is estimated that 20% of American children have allergies, and that there has been a:

    *400% increase in food allergies
    *300% increase in asthma, with a 56% increase in asthma deaths, and a
    *400% increase in ADHD and between a 1,500 and 6,000% increase in autism.”

    Do you think there’s a connection? 2 of my daughters–raised on homemade baby food from my garden, in the 80/90’s developed food allergies in the Oughts. Because they developed these allergies after the age of 12, these will be life-long. They will not outgrow them and will have to watch the foods they eat for the rest of their lives.

    • Wow, Sue. I replied to two of your previous posts before I saw this one….it’s like I knew what you were thinking. Thanks for the detailed and readable explanation on food allergies. I think I addressed your concerns here in my previous replies. I tend to believe the explanation for the increases in allergies, asthma, and ADHD has more to do with better health care practices, testing, and diagnosis of these diseases. We are just getting better able to recognize, document, and manage them, as opposed to seeing an increase.

  97. Posted by rw on March 6, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    Regarding Carlos’ latest post regarding labeling, I agree. It’s not up to the government to protect Monsanto. The vote is for the people. The people need the right to decide what information they need and don’t need. An example of the government not always being right about things is when I was growing up I remember they said eggs and butter were bad for you, and you should not eat more than one egg a week and instead of butter, use margarine. Well margarine turned out to be horrible for you. It contained transfats. And eggs weren’t the villains they thought. Some idiot governemnt official thought that because they contained cholesterol they caused too much cholesterol in your body! They were just plain wrong. Drugs get approved then taken off the market some years later ALL THE TIME! Our government has no right to keep the people in the dark by allowing corporations to hide genetically modified foods in our food supply at the request of corporations. If science were never updated because it was always correct and if the government were ALWAYS right, then it would be a more difficult argument, but that is never going to be the case. To attempt take our choice away by not allowing the labeling that people want (even if only a few want it) is plain wrong and just a collusion between government and the corporations they serve. We have to understand that no matter if you vote Republican or Democrat, these politicians are serving corporations. We have to put an end to this, and the only way is to speak out, continue to have your voices heard, stop supporting certain corporations, and to inform others. Corporations must make a profit; indeed that is the only reason they exist and they are continually trying to improve that profit. Therefore, to have them run the government as they appear to be doing is just a vehicle for them to control people to manipulate their profits. This is unacceptable. Lots of people are catching on to this and it is only a matter of time before we can stop them. But in the case of Monsanto, Syngenta, Du Pont and Dow and other GM companies, once their products are let loose, we can’t stop the proliferation of genetically modified organisms. We can’t recall it like a drug; it will contaminate the entire world over as time goes on unless we take action now. Look at the rSBT in milk. At least when people caught on and rejected it, the farmers could stop giving it to their cows and labelling could occur. Milk dairies had to go with the market or lose profits. With GM food, it would be great if the same thing could happen. They would say, “we made a mistake so we are recalling all the food and seeds” or they would say, “people have rejected this and we need to change back to what we grew before because this genetic trait is causing or has become unstable and has caused a threat to the food supply.” Or “this genetic trait is causing an problem that we did not know about when we started using it, so let’s just recall this product.” But that can’t happen at least not with today’s technology, and once most or all seeds are contaminated, we’ve lost our original seeds to cross pollination, and it’s gone forever. That’s what makes genetically modified food so dangerous. That’s why we have to fight it every day. Because it is such a huge threat to our food supply. Even if Liz is right and there is no problem today, but something develops later, we can’t recall these products. To me it is true insanity of a few corporations deciding they can make big profits in this kind of contamination of our food supply and no one is stopping them. GM experiments could be done in enclosed environments far from any farm, say on an island where accidents couldn’t occur and in contained buildings, then after 100 or more years of experiments, if it was proven safe beyond any reasonsable doubt and also found beneficial for some reason, then maybe it could be done. But not today. We can’t put the genie back into the bottle and the risk is not worth the profits these corporations make. With the support of our government, our food supply is being put at extreme risk, thus risking the health and even the life of all future generations all so that some executives can make some big profit today.

    And remember to look back and see if there is one thing that Monsanto has ever done that has turned out good. They have the opposite of the midas touch. Everything they touch turns to poison. With a track record like this, trusting the food supply with these insane clowns is our worst nightmare.

  98. Hi Liz:

    After I posted last night and answered your query about my take on that debunked study, I did a little browsing of this thread, which is getting so big and unmanageable. The idea of breaking it up has come up before and it looks to me like its time is here. Perhaps different threads can be created: one of many possible scenarios would be GMOs, allergies, dairy/lactose. The important thing would be to not leave anything out. (Just thinking).

    In browsing, I found something I had missed before that some participants might find interesting: on 2/11, Anna-Monique asked “Genetic engineering is the manipulation or alteration of the genetic structure of a single cell or organism. When do GMOs occur in nature, you’re saying could, can you give some precise examples? thanks”

    You answered by referring us to http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101104083102.htm, a short (397 words) but very interesting item. Sciencedaily.com IS a very authoritative, highly regarded website, but one must read beyond the first couple of lines in the article, “Genetically modified plants can come about by natural means…” And towards the end, where: Professor Bengtsson says he is not impressed by the argument that GM crops “…may lead to unwanted gene spread in nature”.

    We are in this mess because some of the morons in Congress swallowed the Substantial Equivalence pitch hook, line and sinker, without any sensible basis – and their peers, like a bunch of grade schoolers, went along so they would not look like they are against progress.

    Bengtsson also says “That is why it is so important that free and commercially independent research on plant genetics can be carried out in universities” How about paying attention to that little passage? Don’t be like the morons; don’t just go along with BS so your peers won’t shun you.

    The gene jump described in the article took place 700,000 years ago and nobody knows exactly how. It happened between PLANTS of two different species It would be pretty safe to assume it did not happen by somebody forcing one DNA into another BY FORCE AND AT RANDOM like Monsanto/biotech are doing at this time.

    If you cant fix it, don’t break it. I personally would like some assurance that something bad we do can be reversed, if not within my lifetime, at least within that of my children and grandchildren. That is not the case in the present state of technology. Call me selfish, but I am not too concerned with the problems the human race may have 700,000 years from now. By that time or sooner, nature may take care of it. Maybe by then, a head of cabbage will have a higher IQ than present day FDA and USDA “scientists”. Sometimes it seems like we are already getting close.

    I know this is wishful thinking today, but may come to pass in one or two generations:

    1–. Prosecute and punish government people who are going along with these crimes against humanity.
    2–. Ditto for Monsanto and other biotech executhieves who just care about making money regardless of how many people they maim of kill and how many countries they ruin.
    3–. Revoke all patents on living things. NO ONE — person or corporation — has the right to own life or to control anybody’s crops and food supply. We are supposed to be civilized.

    Love and peace,


    • Carlos, I have no idea where to even begin creating a discussion forum here, I’m just not technically capable of it. I could create a new blog post pertaining to a subject, and most certainly will cover the subjects you suggest in the coming months. But my objective of this blog isn’t to be overly technical. I’ll dig into these complex issues on occasion, but have no plans to make it a daily occurrence.

      I’m not sure what you want me to say about the rest of your post here, though, so I’ll just go with….thanks for your comments, if there is something there you’d like me to specifically address….let me know.

      • Liz, we have both touched on being gluttons for punishment. This thread is a monster with many tentacles and, inevitably, some of us can end up going in directions we never even thought of. The price of the gluttony.

        First, I just want to address/clarify a couple of the issues raised in my two last replies.

        Embarrassment —

        On the comments I’ve heard abroad, no need to be sad – and it’s not that people mean to be rude and offensive. Generalizations and harsh criticisms are made everywhere. Just look at all the things WikiLeaks divulged that people at the highest levels of our government say about other countries. It’s not like in other countries people sit me down expressly to insult the USA; they are just commenting on what they hear and see everywhere. And yes, it is embarrassing to have your dirty laundry seen by everybody. Obesity and rampant allergies are part of our dirty laundry. Your dirty laundry doesn’t embarrass you?

        An additional example: You don’t know how embarrassing it was to see moron George W in public, or in a news cast or on TV. People asked, “THAT is the president of the US?” Do you know what he was called all over Europe? The Global Village Idiot. I knew that was accurate; I felt like crawling under something.

        It also up upsets me when I hear how much we criticize, say Afghanistan for corruption, or Colombia for human right violations, when we here live in a cesspool where the corruption reaches all the way to the Supreme Court. Do you have any idea how many people’s lives Monsanto has ruined, not only with the encouragement, but actually also with the assistance of the US Government?

        But it is what it is. It is true that our food system is a mess (I am still at a loss as to how you concluded that our food system is safe and reliable and improving) and that the health of Americans has gotten worse since the 90s – and it’ going to get even worse if we keep approving things and making rules based on BS, for the benefit of the Monsantos and the Big Pharmas out there, instead of for the good of the consumers in this nation.

        The difference in foods –

        “You can tell the difference in foods because you are a chef.” No, it’s completely the opposite: I became a chef BECAUSE I could tell the difference in foods and wanted to share that. At the time that novelty of packaged food wore off for me, I was what they call a “Financial Planner” – limited partnerships, securities, life insurance, recreational land and all the rest of that rubbish.. This was fun at first, good money, glamorous, all the superficial stuff. But it turned out to be like the packaged food: after a while, I became very unhappy, which led to almost completely going down the tubes. One day. I decided I wanted to be able to look in the mirror without puking, so I changed occupations. I chose cooking; I had not done it before, but as I mentioned previously, my mother was a great cook (still living today), I grew up with a cow and calves in front and a chicken coop in the back of the house — that’s when I learned what food is supposed to taste like. If you have some idle time, check out this story: http://www.webgourmand.com/wg/commentary/wgArticle.cfm?itemID=170.

        My health-environment-organic-nonGMO thing only started in 2001 after I had quadruple bypass heart surgery. I guess you could say I am I-don’t-know-what. I am sure Big Pharma has a name and a few drugs for my disorder. I am also a pig at heart – I love butter, lard, read meat, you name it, I get my resveratrol from a bottle, not a gelcap and I smoke my weekly Cuban cigar. I put the Lipitor and the 3-4 other things I’m supposed to be taking for life in the garbage can years ago and I am convinced that’s why I am still around.

        Anyway, are you saying that you cannot taste a difference between something fresh homemade and the same dish coming out of a package? Which one do you like better?

        Now, back to your latest reply –

        You said “I have no idea where to even begin creating a discussion forum here”. So let me just ask you a couple of questions:

        On your reply to Anna-Monique’s question, you cited the sciencedaily.com article and I don’t see how that is a proper answer, since it doesn’t tell us how GMOs occur in nature. Would you explain? This is something you can specifically address.

        And here is one more: this whole push of biotech in agriculture and GMOs being the solution to so many problems is based on that phony Substantial Equivalence concept. What is your take on that? (Is this question specific enough?)



      • Ok….. We are really beginning to go in circles here. I see the world quite differently than you do, Carlos, and I’m going to leave it at that. I will address the specific questions you ask here.
        Obesity and rampant allergies are part of our dirty laundry. Your dirty laundry doesn’t embarrass you? Sure it does. But I feel the reasons for these problems are very different than what you feel they are. Ban GMOs, chemicals, and corporations….and you’re still going to find a lot of fat people.
        Do you have any idea how many people’s lives Monsanto has ruined, not only with the encouragement, but actually also with the assistance of the US Government? No, please give me examples.

        Anyway, are you saying that you cannot taste a difference between something fresh homemade and the same dish coming out of a package? Which one do you like better? No, I personally prefer homemade food. But, Carlos, we are rare. Most people do not care, and would rather have convenience. And I like having the option. My family hardly ever eats supper out of a box (less than 1x per month), but sometimes, life gets out of hand and its just easier to pick up a frozen pizza. That is not the fault of a corporation….it is a reflection of our society, created by the desire to do things the easy way.

        On your reply to Anna-Monique’s question, you cited the sciencedaily.com article and I don’t see how that is a proper answer, since it doesn’t tell us how GMOs occur in nature. Would you explain? This is something you can specifically address. It doesn’t tell us how….but it does tell us that it did happen. One plant ended up with a gene from another completely different plant that does not reproduce the same way……if it wasn’t gene transfer….than what was it?

        Substantial Equivalence…..what do you find phony about it? That it should be more clearly defined? I think it’s a good concept, as long as it’s well defined. So, let’s do that.

        Here is a question for you…. are you opposed to golden rice? A GMO product that has the potential human lives, that has been created outside of corporate interests? Why or why not?

  99. Posted by rw on March 6, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    I agree with Carlos. The government is supposed to work for the people who voted for them, not corporations like Monsanto who bring nothing but poison to the people. The GM crops aren’t adequately tested; we have no clue what they will do to the future of our food supply before they take over our food supply (all for the benefit of Monsanto’s (and others’) profits). By the time we would discover the problems, it will be too late (unless perhaps we immediately stop this nonsense). As a result I agree that the negligence of our governments should be considered criminal. Perhaps there are laws under which they could be prosecuted. The fact that corporations were granted personhood and can contribute as much as they want to politicians and that Monsanto shills were placed in the Supreme Court means that our democracy may already be destroyed. It’s time to elect a very different kind of politician if we want to save our constitution and the planet. Will the people wake up in time?

    If Clarence Thomas’ current conflicts of interest causes him to be booted off the Supreme court, all the cases he worked on should be reheard! Particularly the one giving Monsanto a right to patent life!

    In the meantime, we must make sure we don’t buy GMOs in the marketplace and continue to speak out. If we do, we can turn this around. We don’t have much time left. At this point in time only each individual who cares can make a difference by not purchasing GMO food.

    Our media certainly won’t help us because they work for those advertising products on their networks, not for their viewers.

    • rw- Thanks for the comments…and like I told Carlos….if there is something here you’d like me to specifically address or answer…let me know.

  100. Posted by Sue on March 7, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    Liz, I know you are a busy mom, so I suspect (based on your answer about Percy Schmeiser) that you did not have time to research this in depth, so I will tell you what IMPORTANT thing you missed.

    Schmeiser did not ‘settle’ with Monsanto on the first court case because he refused to sign their GAG order. He stood up to their strong arm tactics and prevailed. Here is what he fought for on the second court case. It wasn’t for the $600 clean up fees, it was for freedom of speech and the freedom to tell the world what Monsanto is up to.
    “In 2005, Schmeiser said he discovered GM canola growing in a 50-acre fallow field he was using for mustard research. He notified Monsanto, which agreed to remove the plants through its “unexpected volunteer response program,” provided he sign a standard release form. But Schmeiser balked at two provisions he said were in the form: a “gag order” that would prevent him from talking about the seed cleanup, and a prohibition against suing Monsanto for any future contamination of the field.

    “It said my wife, myself or any member of our family could never ever take Monsanto to court for the rest of our lives irregardless (sic) of how much they contaminated that field,” Schmeiser said. “And we flatly refused to sign the gag order because we will never give our freedom of speech away to a corporation.”

    Monsanto Canada spokeswoman Trish Jordan said the form is “standard business practice” and that none of the farmers who have requested similar GM seed cleanups from Monsanto have ever “expressed any concerns” with the form. She also said the form doesn’t state that “the person [who signs it] cannot sue us in subsequent years.”

    She provided a copy of the form, which reads: “The grower does hereby for himself and/or the corporation, his heirs, executors, partners, joint venturers, administrators, successors, affiliates, subsidiaries and assigns, release and forever discharge Monsanto Canada Inc., its affiliates, successors and assigns, and its officers, directors and employees, servants and agents (past, present and future) (hereinafter referred to as the “Releasees”) from any and all actions, causes of action, suits, claims, demands and damages of whatever nature or kind for, upon or by reason of any damage or loss to person and/or property which has been or may be sustained in consequence of the purchase, use and or application of” whatever product Monsanto gives the farmer to get rid of the GM seeds or plants.

    Schmeiser paid $660 to have the GM plants removed from his fields and then sued Monsanto in small claims court for the sum. Jordan said at a court case-management conference in 2007, Monsanto offered to revise its release form to meet Schmeiser’s approval, but he declined. Schmeiser disagrees. Monsanto “refused to revise the conditions [in the form], and the court records would prove that,” he said.

    Schmeiser said he offered to settle the case a year later provided Monsanto write a new form that would allow him to discuss the case and sue Monsanto for any GM contamination of his field for any year other than 2005, when he discovered the contamination. Monsanto rewrote the form, and the case was settled March 19.”

  101. Posted by Sue on March 7, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    You said, “You were able to afford meat 20 years ago because the demand for it was lower then. As more people in our society become wealthier, the demand for meat has increased, and prices have gone along with it. If we did not have the technology to increase our production, prices today would be even higher than they are now. Organic costs more because it yields less and requires more work per unit of production. Period.”
    I hope you will share with me the statistics which back up these claims as I have been searching all over and only found a 10 pound increase per person in the last 100 years:
    http://back2basicnutrition.com/?p=2252 (for beef), unless you are talking about chicken, and there has been an obvious increase. (Which I suspect is because it is cheaper and quicker to raise than a beef cattle.)
    While the value of beef and the expenses to raise them has definately increased according to the USDA, the consumption has decreased in the last 7 years. I don’t begrudge the farmer his desire to lower production costs since meat consumption has not risen in parallel with production costs. Perhaps this is what you were getting at?

    I certainly am not richer than I was 20 years ago…now having kids in college, been laid off from my job and after going back, no pay raise for 2 years. A lot of folks are in the same boat as me, so I have to wonder where these statistics came from?

    Here’s some info on organic production vs. conventional production.

    Well Liz, I think it’s an issue that will never be resolved. I just hope that the biodiversity of agriculture is not destroyed by GMO’s. Monoculture cannot feed the world and this is where we’re headed. Thank goodness the folks that want to rule the world have stored away all those pure seeds in the Global Seed Vault. (We all know they aren’t doing it because of climate change.)

    • Ok…look at it this way…..people are eating more pounds of meat per person today than they were years ago….more overall demand for meat, growing faster than the supply can keep up, means higher prices for all meat.

      As far as organic production yield vs. conventional….I don’t doubt that an acre of organic corn can yield the same as an acre of convention in any given year….but compare those two same acres over a span of, say, 10 years, and you’ll find the conventional acre produces much more corn than the organic acre….because an organic farm must use a longer crop rotation cycle to manage pests.

      You’re right, this issue, along with every other issue in the world, will never be resolved….as long as human beings are human beings….we will find things to disagree about.

  102. Things seem to be looking a little better each day. Read this UN report and circulate: http://www.alternet.org/food/150158/new_un_report_on_how_to_feed_the_world's_hungry:_ditch_corporate-controlled_agriculture


  103. Posted by Sue on March 11, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    GMO Alfalfa Will Devastate Organic Dairy Industry


    Snip of the article:
    “The USDA cannot ensure GMO alfalfa can be grown without cross-contaminating other crops, so it should not be allowed and it is not needed. Farmers have been growing alfalfa successfully for a hundred years,” continued Siemon.

    In the Declaration in Support of a Permanent Injunction Against the Sales of GMO Alfalfa, Siemon is explicit about the problem. The 869 dairy and beef farmers of Organic Valley “feed their animals an all-organic diet that is on average 60 percent alfalfa. Each cow eats approximately 32.5 pounds of certified organic alfalfa a day.” Siemon goes on to say “contamination of organic alfalfa stands or seed stock will devastate the organic farmers who market milk.”

    “Alfalfa is a perennial with a three-mile pollination radius, so farm buffers won’t work,” explains Fred Kirschenmann, Iowa Leopold Center Distinguished Fellow and a farmer in North Dakota. “It is impossible to contain.”

  104. Hi Liz,

    One question for you – if you could make more money by ditching GM, have less to zero inputs, a polyculture farm and sell directly to customers, would you do it? just wondering..

    • Anna– I don’t know. I would consider it, and have considered it. Not seriously, but my husband and I have discussed it. There is a part of me that would like to, and there is a part of me that wouldn’t. I only have one vote out of 6 in our family’s farm. I could be convinced, but the rest of the members of the family, well, it would be up to them.

  105. Cool, that’s great that you’re considering it. You’ve probably heard of Joe Salatin. If I had the land that’s the kind of operation I’d go for, or something that is permaculture based. I like the idea of not relying on suppliers. Nature is so ingenious. And eating entirely from your land would be really satisfying. It’s my dream anyway.


  106. Hello, fellow conversationalists….I just wanted to let you know I have thoroughly enjoyed the discussion on this post. But…I feel we are going in circles and it is just time for us to agree to disagree. This discussion has been going on for over two months, and it has been bogging me down from posting new posts. In a few days, comments on this post will be suspended.

    I strongly encourage you to continue to follow my blog and discuss future posts. I have implemented new ground rules for the blog, basically to make things easier for all of us. See the tabs on the top of the post to read them. I have also added a page for people to post topic suggestions and other general blog comments, under the comments tab above.

    It is my sincere hope that the suspension of this discussion is not taken the wrong way, as I truly do appreciate your readership and your input.

  107. Liz, you have done a great job with this discussion. I cannot tell you how impressed with your thinking and good manners I have been as I followed all the comments. Wish I had your email address so I could talk directly to you. If you ever want to contact me, mine is threecollieATgmailDOTcom
    Keep up the great work with this blog.

  108. Hello Liz:

    In the interest of saving time, I will address more than one of the posts that appeared yesterday (Mon 3/14)

    Just some quick comments to your answers:

    Yes, we will always find a lot of fat people –- The part I don’t like is that our country has the dubious honor of being #1 in obesity and allergies. Banning corporations should not, and is never going to, happen; with chemicals, we do have some safeguards, but not with GMOs – I find it plain dumb that if a food company wants to add, say, yellow food coloring to a product, they have to go through a months-long process to get that approved but with GMOs they don’t, all based on this “substantial equivalence” BS, which is based just on the opinion of some biotech moron, with no proof required. I have a big problem with this. I am completely convinced that putting the brakes on GMO proliferation would take care of at least part of the allergy problem.

    How many people’s lives Monsanto has ruined, helped by the US Government? Off the top of my head: people exposed to Round Up developing severe skin lesions, pain, bleeding, vomiting, even death; girls in Argentina of families that consumed or were in contact with GMOs menstruating at age 3; people dying in Colombia from Monsanto’s Agent Orange, still being used, supposedly to eradicate coca crops. Please don’t ask me to give you examples; you can find thousands of those with just a few keywords in any search engine.

    Fresh vs. packaged. Convenience, OK, but don’t you think it’s sad that the American palate is so corrupted tha many people can’t tell the difference? (Ignorance is bliss?).

    GMOs happening in nature: “It doesn’t tell us how….but it does tell us that it did happen. One plant ended up with a gene from another completely different plant that does not reproduce the same way……if it wasn’t gene transfer….than what was it?” Exactly my point, gene transfer between two PLANTS – not the same as pushing a gene from an animal or a bacterium into the DNA of a plant BY FORCE and AT RANDOM because that is how rudimentary that science is. It’s OK with me if the Monsanto bastards want to play with this and create new veggies, if that is what blows up their skirts; but let eat them at their own table< – not use you and me as their guinea pigs.

    Substantial Equivalence: the concept sounds good, but in its present state it’s just based on the opinion of a few morons at the FDA or the USDA.. Where is the science? Make them show proof; that is not what is happening. Their rationale is “we don’t need cumbersome/unnecessary regulation”. They call it government because they are supposed to GOVERN, meaning making rules for our protection. This GMO issue is an area where we do need regulation — at least mandatory labeling so we have the option to pass.


    Anna-Monique, I agree completely about the permaculture thing. I have mentioned Joel Salatin here before as one of our present-day champions. Anyone here who does not know about Joel, do a search about him and his books and his Polyface Farm.

    The recent Fukushima nuclear catastrophe is for real and I am hoping it’s a wake-up call. Nuclear power has been studied a lot more that GMOs and has been considered clean and safe for the last few decades. But Mother Nature has her ways to teach us manners, which is what she’s doing now I am betting we will be looking at nuclear a little differently from now on.

    Nuclear science is fooling around with uranium enrichment and other man-made materials/substances. That’s science 101 compared to playing with DNA and living things. So we should not piss Mother Nature off with this GMO thing. Maybe in 50-100 years we will be better qualified to mess with life. Right now it’s way too early..

    I completely understand Liz’s decision to suspend posting on this thread. Some of us already brought up the “going around in circles”. This GMO subject is one I like to explore and learn more about, so if one or two people here think it’s is a good idea, I would be willing to start a new thread on my blog to continue the discussion. Anyone interested, contact carlos @ timos dot com.

    Liz, just today, while looking at your blog ground rules, I realized you are also on Twitter. You now have a new follower (please don’t block me!). If you or anyone else is interested, my Twitter handle is @webgourmand; I hope to see some of you there.

    It has been a lot of fun being here. Best regards and love and peace to all,


    • Thanks for the comments Carlos….glad you will be following on twitter, but I warn you, I am pretty boring on there. I only have the twitter account to promote this blog, as an option for those who are more twitter-savvy to find out about my new posts. Glad you’ve stuck this conversation out for so long, and I do hope you continue to read future posts here.

  109. The subject here is not GMOs, but CAFOs.

    I felt compelled to ask you about this little item before the comment suspension kicks in: “Iowa Considers Criminalizing Undercover Videos of Farm Animal Abuse” – http://www.truth-out.org/news-brief-iowa-considers-criminalizing-undercover-videos-farm-animal-abuse-and-more68480.

    Just the fact that a so-called lawmaker has the gall to introduce such a bill – and that the bill has garnered support from the state’s agricultural industry – gives me the heebie-jeebies. I guess hypocrisy trumps transparency in this sewer we are living in.

    No wonder “… the comments on these sorts of things are filled with hatred and inaccuracy”.

    What do you think?

    • Mixed feelings. The purpose of the bill is to stop people who intentionally gain employment to shoot undercover video. Often, those videos are released in short snippets and the entire clip remains unseen. Often, the entire clip explains what is happening in a less controversial way. It is easy to depict humane animal handling as cruelty if it is edited and explained as such. That is not to say that there haven’t been true cases of animal abuse caught on tape, and that those people (abusers) shouldn’t be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Many businesses are taking proactive measures and installing their own cameras expressly to contradict false accusations of abuse. I’m not sure we need a law to prevent dishonest undercover videos. But I’m also not sure that we don’t. Perhaps there is a better way to curtail this….maybe requiring that all undercvover footage, not just the juicy little snippets….be released when accusations of abuse are made. Not sure how one could legislate this….but it’s a thought anyway.

    • I think the new laws being examined to limit illicit filming are badly needed and way overdue.


      Because there is such as thing as entrapment; there is such a thing as dishonesty for a cause; and there is most certainly something called privacy!

      My words for those who think that it’s OK to take a job to perform sabotage by video or photo subterfuge is this:

      If you really want to document what happens on MY farm….

      Get a warrant like everybody else. Have sufficinet cause in the first place to put in a LAWFUL surveillance person, dandy–but you’d better be actual law enforcement to do it.

      There is a reason we have laws against unreasonable search and seizure, and this is one of them.

      You do NOT have any right to enter my business, my property, or my life with the intent of profiting from its destruction or inhibition.

      No, I don’t care HOW sterling the motive.

      I especially suspect a hefty layer of tarnish on such motive when you fail to notify me of something allegedly abusive happening, wait for the optimal moment, then display video or photos of an unsubstantiated, possibly isolated or even set-up or fabricated event TO RAISE FUNDS FOR AN ORGANIZATION under the cover of ‘oh but we’re uncovering a bad thing’. Bullmanure!

      That is like….
      ….filming sexual abuse and selling it. Oh, all in the *best* intentions, of course! (heavy on the sarcasm)
      ….ah, what’s the word when…oh, yes. PUBLICITY STUNT. When people go to absurd lengths to promote something, even making up stories to do so.
      ….or for that matter, like taking fake snuff films to show how terrible the industry is that produces them–but selling them ‘to raise money’ to do more!

      Don’t look at me in that tone of voice, folks.

      What about a hospital worker, taking video of how *people* are treated? Do you REALLY think that would be tolerated, just because ‘the public needs to know’? Heck NO! You’d have your butt in a sling so fast your lawyer would be dizzy.

      And so should you if you are on MY farm, taking ‘undercover video’ of what happens with MY management of MY animals. You’re there under false pretences; you aren’t there to actually do the job for which you were hired; in fact, the possible profits from doing that job POORLY far outweigh anything I could pay you as a laborer.



      My farm, my animals, my business. My employees are there, and they earn their money by being trusted to report problems immediately and appropriately. To do their jobs, whether said job is ‘pretty’ or not. When you take a job with intent to betray that trust, you corrode the framework which supports GOOD HUSBANDRY and HUMANE TREATMENT.

      Animals are messy, and I would bet you that I could walk through ANY FARM–ANY FARM!!–taking video openly on a normal workday, and show it to two groups of people, unedited and un-narrated, and based on their overall worldview, have totally opposite evaluations of the events on the video.

      When animal rights people have proven over the years that they WILL do ANYTHING to provoke responses in the name of their cause, give me just one really good reason why I should A) trust them; B) want them within ten miles of my farm; or C) not get mad when they use videos taken without permission to raise money for their oh-so-wonderful cause!


      Sorry, hot button topic, could you tell?

      The right for you to swing your fist ENDS at my nose, folks…and when people come onto a place under false pretences to cause trouble, that’s not just hitting my nose, that’s getting way up inside and PICKING it!

      I repeat…you want to look at my place for abuse? Get probable cause and a warrant. Make video taken illegally/surreptitiously/under false pretence/without a warrant unacceptable as evidence, just like wiretapping. And make profiting from such videos or photographs illegal, and that includes ‘donations’ provoked by showing the material!

      Oh…and if you want me to hire you…expect to sign a statement that clearly states that YOU PERSONALLY will be held civilly and criminally responsible for any and all deception, fraudulent statements, video or photo production during your time here–and you’ll be leaving me a set of your fingerprints, as well.

      There is no reason–none!–why we as animal producers should have to put up with this kind of invasive BS.

      These laws are well overdue and I back them.

      Sorry to rant all over you, Liz!

  110. Hi Carlos and Liz, on the subject of Twitter, I do a lot of it for my site SeedLiving, here’s the address http://twitter.com/#!/SeedLiving


  111. Hey Liz,

    With all the stuff going on and the looming closing of the comments, I forgot about your questions on golden rice

    On 3/14 — “Here is a question for you…. are you opposed to golden rice? A GMO product that has the potential human lives, that has been created outside of corporate interests? Why or why not?”

    Not knowing anything about golden rice – until today, that is – I thought it is not something I would want to try because it’s man-made, not natural. But I ran into the name somewhere, remembered you had asked about it and looked into it. I found there is a debate going on, opinions positive-negative about 50-50.

    I could not find one single source to buy it from. But it has become the poster child for biotech, even though apparently nobody is actually consuming it. It has been pitched by biotech as “This rice could save a million kids a year”. Sygenta claimed that a one month delay in marketing this miracle product would cause 50,000 children to go blind [because it’s supposed to take care of vitamin A deficiency].
    I did find a couple of interesting thing (these appear in many places if you do a search):

    “A woman would need to consume 3750 grams [8.25 pounds] of GE rice per day i.e. around 9 kilograms [20 pounds] of
    cooked rice, or 6375 grams [14 pounds] per day when breast feeding, in order to get sufficient vitamin
    A if the GE rice is the only source of vitamin A and provitamin A. A two year old child would need to
    eat 3 kilograms [6.6 pounds] of GE rice a day i.e. around 7 kilograms [15.4 pounds] of cooked rice.”.

    “Gordon Conway, the head of the Rockefeller Foundation, which has funded the development of Golden Rice, wrote: “the public relations uses of Golden Rice have gone too far. The industry’s advertisements and the media in general seem to forget that it is a research product that needs considerable further development before it will be available to farmers and consumers.”

    And I found the rather curious “Humanitarian Board for Golden Rice”. Its chairman is one Ingo Potrykus, co-inventor of the product; one other member of its board is Dr. Adrian, Dubock from Syngenta Corporation.

    So much for golden rice.

    On 2/18, you said: “Here is a question for you Carlos. Are you opposed to all GM technology? Particularly golden rice, and other GM foods that have proven health benefits?”

    Please name one or two of these “other GM foods that have proven health benefits”.

    Ciao for now.

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