Home Back Issues April 2012 Seeds of dissent

Seeds of dissent

| Print |  Email
Articles - April 2012
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Article Index
Seeds of dissent
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5
0412_SeedsOfDissent_04
Organic seed plants at Gathering Together Farm are increasingly threatened by potential out-crossing with genetically modified varieties, particularly beets grown nearby.
// Photo by Alexandra Shyshkina
Supporters of GMO products like Steve Strauss, a professor in Oregon State University’s Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, say the organic marketplace simply needs to relax standards on purity.

“The contamination thing is really disingenuous at best,” says Strauss. “They have an economic grievance, but it’s really something they have imposed on themselves.”

Strauss says weeds, pesticide drift and out-crossing have always been facts of farming life. But because the organic community markets its lack of GMO traits, it’s tied to a zero-contamination standard, even while organic certification doesn’t require it. “All they need to do is say, hey, we need a reasonable threshold … and coexistence standards that agriculture has had for centuries.”

Strauss and others say the fuss about GMO meanwhile buries truths about its benefits to humans and the environment. The Roundup Ready trait, for example, greatly reduces the use of herbicide, cutting tractor time and reducing greenhouse gases. Because GMO crops are designed to increase crop yields, they also lower the price of food.

“Organic growers in the Willamette Valley may have some isolation problems. But they are going to be, in my opinion, outvoted by the fact that we want cheap food in this country,” says Gary Whiteaker of Madras, a retired consultant from global crop genetics broker Verdant Partners, based in Illinois. “GMO is a modern tool,” he says. “It’s no different than the tools in plant pathology and entomology that we’ve used for hundreds of years” to battle pests and disease, more critical as the world food supply shrinks.



 

More Articles

Salvage operation

June 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014
BY JONATHAN FROCHTZWAJG

For Far West Fibers, one of Oregon's largest and oldest mixed-recycling companies, garbage alchemy has long been big business.


Read more...

Hipsters gone wild

June 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014
BY JON BELL

A new generation of outdoor apparel companies targets the young and the urban.


Read more...

Detox fashion

June 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Remember mood rings? A team of scientists at Oregon State University has designed what might be considered a 21st-century analog of the ’70s jewelry fad: a bracelet that reveals one’s exposure to pollutants.


Read more...

Oversight? Or gaming the system?

News
Monday, July 14, 2014
AmazonBY VIVIAN MCINERNY | OB BLOGGER

Some people think Amazon’s winking eye logo is starting to look like a hoodwink.


Read more...

Timber town

June 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014
BY LEE VAN DER VOO

A forest collaboration saves the Rough & Ready Lumber Company.


Read more...

Why I became an Oregon angel investor

Guest Blog
Monday, July 14, 2014
AngelInvestBY TERRY "STARBUCKER" ST. MARIE

I really didn’t know that much about angel investing, but I did know a lot about the entrepreneurial spirit.


Read more...

Reader Input: Energy policy

June 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014

How serious a problem is climate change? Readers want to have their cake and eat it, too.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS