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

Grape Expectations

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY HANNAH WALLACE

Well-financed outsiders from France and California are buying up vineyards and wineries in the Willamette Valley.


Read more...

Fork & Bottle

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014

National media can’t get enough of Oregon’s pinot noir, artisan-food purveyors and lively, independent film scene.


Read more...

True Blood

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE

Antibiotics really aren’t magic bullets.


Read more...

Two sides of the coin

Contributed Blogs
Monday, August 25, 2014
0825 thumb moneyBY JASON NORRIS | OB GUEST BLOGGER

Ferguson Wellman’s investment views on the economy and capital markets.


Read more...

Podcast: Turn Things Around with David Marquet

Contributed Blogs
Friday, October 17, 2014
davidmarquet thumbBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

How can you move from a command-and-control leadership model to one of true empowerment and accountability? David Marquet did, and he took notes along the way.


Read more...

A Good Leap Forward

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Agriculture businesses ramp up to meet international demand as workforce and succession challenges loom.


Read more...

College Hacker

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY KLINT FINLEY

Treehouse CEO Ryan Carson builds a 21st-century trade school.


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