The debate over GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, is one that I find maddening. According to the USDA, a GMO is an organism produced through genetic modification. Somehow, somewhere along the way, GMO has become a four letter word that insprires visions of mad scientists in evil lairs, stirring boiling pots of fuzzy puppies to create monster corn and wheat seed. I like fuzzy puppies as much as the next guy but I also like sweet corn. I really like the sweet corn that has more than one or two kernels per ear. You know the kind, it’s genetically modified over the years to have a filled ear. I like mine grilled with butter if you’re cooking.
This year has been one of the driest on record in our part of the state. Our corn stored in the ground for 10 weeks before it mustered enough moisture to sprout. The insurance adjuster zeroed all of our corn last week and it looks pretty dismal. If we were planting the same varieties of seeds that grandpa had available to him, the fields would be even more desolate.
With GMO seed, farmers are able to choose varieties that will do well where they farm. For example, everything we plant is proven drought resistant. Unfortunately, our drought is even more than any seed can overcome.
I saw sweet corn advertised for sale the other day and someone had inquired whether it was GMO. My knee jerk reaction was, and remains, yes. Even the weeds that grow in my garden have modified so the ones most suited to my flowerbed flourish.
We sell a great deal of pork and we do sell all natural pork, meaning that we don’t administer additional growth hormones, though hormones will be a great topic for another blog soon. Many people ask whether our pork is GMO and I’m unsure how to even answer that because the GMO term is used so far out of context.
If you wish to eat organic or non-GMO, that is a personal choice and one I won’t question. I maintain that there are no non-GMOs. All plants and animals have genetically modified through time in one way or another. Triticale is half wheat, half rye and is one of the most popular livestock feeds because it grows well here.
Some people use the term GMO and the trait making plants chemical resistant interchangeably. RoundUp Ready corn is an example but it’s not necessarily GMO but contains a certain trait. If you’ve spent any time in eastern Colorado, you’ve seen Kosha weed, a plant that has grown to become chemically resistant. I always enjoyed the story, be it rural legend or not, about the ingenious marijuana cultivators who grew their plants in between rows of corn. This plan worked well until RoundUp Ready corn came about. RoundUp is hard on marijuana, I’m told.
Peaches and Cream Sweet Corn is one of those cursed GMOs that combines yellow and white sweet corn. You won’t find me protesting that variety, mostly because my mouth will be full.
Foods have evolved over the years to feed the minions efficiently. All these years in agriculture and I have yet to see a mad scientist.