Farmer Focus: Anti-GM lawsuits could hurt food production

Not a week goes by without reading something negative about GM crops on the internet or in printed news.

Even so, I was surprised to see an advert from a law firm in our local newspaper tying Monsanto’s Roundup (glyphosate) to non-Hodgkin lymphoma and other “serious medical conditions”.

American law firms frequently advertise in an attempt to encourage people to sue others.

It seems to me Monsanto is being singled out as the most evil company and Roundup as the most evil chemical. 

I am not a doctor or scientist, but much of what I am seeing doesn’t appear to be factual. I have read that GM corn and soya beans have been tied to infertility in livestock.

See also: Read more from our arable Farmer Focus writers

My cattle eat GM grain and silage all winter and seem no less fertile than they did before. Deer graze my GM soya beans and wild turkeys gobble my corn every day and they all seem quite prolific.

I also often see it claimed that Monsanto somehow coerces or tricks farmers into using its products.

I personally do not know anyone who has ever had their arm twisted in an attempt to make them plant GM crops. I do it because it is what works best on my farm. 

I am not pro or anti-Monsanto. I think there is a risk using any chemical and that agriculture often relies too heavily on them.

But I also remember the hot, humid days spent with my brother and dad out in the soya bean fields with a hoe. We did a lot of work to weed a few acres. More than once weeds took out a field of soya beans.

The internet is full of “experts” who can say anything they like without any credentials and sometimes the more disturbing the claim, the more people believe it. 

I worry that companies that develop the products we use to keep crops and livestock healthy will see so much financial drag from defending themselves from lawsuits, they will find other ways to make money than producing the tools farmers need.

I don’t see the bloggers and lawyers descending on farms with hoes to clean up the fields after that happens.

Brian Hind farms 1,250ha of prairie land, of which 770ha is family owned and the rest rented. Of this, 330ha is arable cropping with maize, soya, grain sorghum, alfalfa plus a mix of rye, triticale and turnips for grazing by 200 beef cattle. Grassland is used to produce hay.


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