When a new iPhone comes out, people are waiting in line overnight. Technology is embraced. When scientists are able to streamline the genetic modification process to allow farmers to grow drought-resistant, chemical-resistant, and bug-resistant crops, some people are worried. Technology is … not as embraced.
While some people might not think about it every day, my social media stream is full of articles about GMOs. When I go in the grocery stores, I note the marketing of ‘GMO-free’ pineapple or blueberries, even though GM pineapples and blueberries don’t exist. The labeling issue is in the news, as is the GM salmon.
With all that controversy, why would farmers like us want to grow GM crops?
We grow GM corn because it allows us to reduce pesticide use, reduce the impact on the land, use fewer natural resources, and ensure we have a crop.
Here’s how it works for us when we plant corn. First, we make a pass with the soil finisher, which levels the soil and makes a good seed bed. We plant the corn and spray it with a pesticide one time. One time!
Without GM corn, you’d have to make multiple passes to spray or till the soil to keep the weeds down.
With GM corn, we save fuel, there’s less erosion, and less soil compaction. As a result, we get more production per acre.
Our corn isn’t only weed-resistant but it may also be drought tolerant. The drought-resistant component of the corn is a big concern for us because we farm a lot of light soil. A dry summer like we had three years ago could destroy a crop.
No corn crop for us would mean no corn for the cows, which would be quite a financial blow. The panic of finding, transporting, and storing someone else’s corn crop would be awful. And if it happened more than once in a short period of time, we’d be out of business.
Now, at least you get a decent yield from this hardy plant even if you don’t get enough rain. We’re always able to ensure a crop to provide for our herd, which is a giant emotional and financial relief. An advance like this without GMO technology would take decades.
We take advantage of the science in order to provide for our cattle. Since we feed all of our corn to our cows, we want the healthiest crop for them so they can produce wholesome, high quality milk.
We had a great crop this year and we’re happily feeding our cows our fall harvest. They’re healthy, giving lots of milk, and ready to eat a lot during the cold months.
My husband Kris and I are also eagerly awaiting the winter … we’re finally both eligible for new phones.
For more information:
U.S. Farmers & Rancher Alliance, View on GM Seeds
Carla and her husband Kris own Evergreen Dairy in St. Johns, Michigan. She is the sixth generation to be farming on her family's farm where they milk 400 cows and grow crops to feed their cattle on 850 acres of corn, alfalfa and pasture.
To learn more about Carla's farm, you can go to: