Author Topic: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS  (Read 28871 times)

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Offline wolfy

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PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« on: May 14, 2015, 10:02:18 AM »
This subject has 'cropped up' 8) several times in different threads lately.  Since most of it is food related, I thought it might be a subject that warrants discussion among the members of the forum.  What prompted me to bring it to light was this article from today's issue of the OMAHA WORLD HERALD.....and the fact that I have been a farmer all of my life and have wrestled with the issues surrounding their use myself.  I look forward to a civil discussion. O:-)

http://www.omaha.com/money/with-new-m-nebraska-facility-and-unl-s-input-bayer/article_dd5185ed-267a-5811-b3f2-db279c10e7e6.html?mode=jqm
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Offline upthecreek

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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2015, 10:21:33 AM »
Folks don't seem to mind science making them live longer and healthier. I figure science can probably help our food too. As a kid when we were in the cow business my father enjoyed the benefits of modern science practices. I know there are many facets to the principles for agricultural applications, and many opinions too. I also remember the opinion of my grandmother quite well... "you don't fool with Mother Nature". Should be an interesting discussion.

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Offline madmax

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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2015, 10:38:18 AM »
My brother works for a company affiliated with Monsanto.  Defends them to the end.  I put so much crap into my body GMO corn doesn't bother me one bit.  But this isn't really about the health aspect.  It's about control and money.  Monopoly of our food.  Pricing. 
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Offline Wilderbeast

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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2015, 10:51:37 AM »
My brother works for a company affiliated with Monsanto.  Defends them to the end.  I put so much crap into my body GMO corn doesn't bother me one bit.  But this isn't really about the health aspect.  It's about control and money.  Monopoly of our food.  Pricing.

Yup,  and stepping on the necks of small farmers who don't want to submit to them.

And dead monarch butterflies don't make it more attractive to me. 

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Offline zammer

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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2015, 11:12:01 AM »
I wish I could keep it civil, but there is too much wrong with current food production/control... to keep it civil, so I shall bow out my o'le farmer friend  :cheers:
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Offline Unknown

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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2015, 11:34:56 AM »
I followed one of the links in a previous thread Wolfy. When I went to read one of the scientific papers they wanted $36. I didn't read it. What was available seemed to be aimed at 8yr old reading comprehension with too much oversimplification leading to fantastic leaps in logic.

If these powerful multi-national corporations were guided by the same moral compass that the average good person follows then there would not be so much need for concern.


Offline WoodsWoman

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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2015, 12:03:29 PM »
I'm going to bow out with Zammer.  My frustration with this topic gets me riled up too fast.
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Offline wsdstan

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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2015, 12:29:26 PM »
While one may not like Monsanto's business model regarding seeds, harvests, and control don't ignore the good things that company has done with yields and characteristics. 

There appears to be a hysteria about GMO crops that is unfounded by the scientific data.   
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Offline MnSportsman

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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2015, 12:48:29 PM »
I'm going to bow out with Zammer.  My frustration with this topic gets me riled up too fast.
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  I am against GMO. I am for honey bees.  That is all I can say, without getting stirred up also.
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Offline Unknown

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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2015, 12:50:04 PM »
I don't think you folks should bow out. I believe there is enough maturity, kinship, and goodwill here for disagreement and serious discussion even if one gets riled up about it. If nothing else you can offer the sources for your opinions and let others come to their own individual conclusions.

Stan can you cite some of this evidence? Science is malleable to some extent, just as statistics can be manipulated to suit one's expectations or goals.

I suppose I am not especially sure what to believe from either side. If it is true that the pollen from GMO corn(or any other form of gene leakage) can "infect" my heirloom varieties and permanently alter my seeds I find that to be especially disturbing by slowly, eventually eroding my choice in the matter.

Offline wsdstan

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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2015, 03:08:03 PM »
Unknown I don't have the inclination to drag all the material I have read and report on the meetings I have attended listening to the agri-scientists discuss the pro's and con's of GMO crops. 

If the material supports the safety of the GMO crop the anti-GMO people scream that the data is supplied by the industry and it is faulty.  If the anti-GMO crowd says its unsafe they have a hard time coming up with data to support their allegations.
Sometimes I think it would be best to go back to the non-GMO crops and let the reduced disease resistance and reduced yields result in the world starving until we get to a healthy world population.  It is somewhat like discussing politics and religion.  I have an opinion, some have a different opinion and the two are not going to mesh.

Type "why GMO crops are safe" on a search engine.  You will get both sides and then some of the arguments.  It is truly a mess.

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Offline Unknown

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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2015, 03:12:17 PM »
Sorry if you feel like I put you on the spot, that was no my intention, but it did occur to me later that it might get taken that way.

I have done a little research on my own and like you say it is a mess.

I have a hard time trusting the data when it is known that research that does not please is not permitted to be published or peer reviewed.

Offline SIXFOOTER

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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2015, 04:09:29 PM »
I do not have a problem with the concept of GMO food production, it makes perfect sense to me. Why not make the food more resistant to bugs, mold, weather? I don't even have a problem with the primary motivation for the big companies is Money, of course it is, that the only reason most of us go to work, so that's ok too.
The problems I do see however, are secrecy, shortcuts, no transparency, inadequate pier review and control.
How the hell do you keep the genetic material from a GMO facility from jumping the fence to the neighbor guy trying to raise Non GMO Herritage tomatoes? How do I know that there is not something in the GMO lines killing off the bees and thereby killing off everyone els's stuff?
I already know the Gluetin the the largest portion of wheat in this country is contributing to peoples gluetin intolerance, no one had that 40 years ago and no one was raising the wheat that they are now 40 years ago. How do I know that the GMO genes that they are using are not going to jump the fence in me? I don't want to start making grasshopper noises, croak like a frog or any of the mostly made up stuff that people are afraid of. Think Jurasic Park, they used DNA from amphibians (RHANA) for fill in in the missing strands, it made some of the supposedly all female critter population turn male and thereby bypass the non breeding safegards they put in.
HFCS, we already know that stuff causes problems in some people, what is it going to be doing 20 years down the road? Messing with everybody?

Like I said, the concept is great, but I do not trust our govt agencies funded by the entities that they are supposed to be there to keep an eye on to have My best interests in mind. Monsanto has a Long history of operating like douchbags despite all the good they have done over the years
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Offline vallehombre

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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2015, 04:23:11 PM »
 I am not a farmer, not even a particularly accomplished gardener. On the other hand, as a self proclaimed good cook I like to eat and I want to know what I'm eating, especially since I once taught classes on diet and nutrition in clinical and community settings.

First impression with the article was "Well, farmers have been doing this stuff since they started selecting the best seeds for the next planting cycle". A little research on the Bayer site however, and it turns out seed selection" also includes and may primarily refer to GMO technologies.

Personally, I'm wary of GMOs for three reasons:

1. Genetic manipulations across species is marching into the unknown, unarmed and unprepared, at least in terms of altering the food supply on the scale and at the rates we are currently. Natural selection and informed selective breeding are not what is going on yet we don't seem to consider it wise to tread carefully. Something about fooling Mother Nature and all.

2. The question of whether business can/should be allowed to patent life is not one to simply be decided by the courts and although related to my initial concern may be harder to deal with. The business practices of Monsanto (admittedly, not Bayer in the article) show just how this can go when damages are assessed for a farmer not controlling which way the wind blows.

3. The tremendous amounts of money, time and energy invested in avoiding disclosure of GMO ingredients in foods is a pretty big red flag, for me anyway. The kind of tactics that lend some credence to our neighbors across the pond keeping the door closed to GMOs, for sure.

Sometimes it is hard to find the fire for all the smoke.













Offline Draco

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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2015, 04:38:20 PM »
Have you ever seen what a wild banana looks like?  Nothing like what we buy from the store.  Genetically modified?  Mutations selectively prefered?  Not much difference in my opinion.  Don't get me wrong.  Monsanto as a corporation is so evil that Satan himself would not stoop that low.  However I am not concerned about genetically modified in the way it is being done where two organic genes are spliced in order to produce improvements in the end product.  Not much different than breeding a banana tree that grew long fruit with a banana tree that did not produce hard seeds in it's fruit.   

Offline Orbean

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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2015, 04:48:00 PM »
Monsanto has taken bullying and corruption to a new level. They control the regulation of GMO's using back door tactics, their employees go to work for the FDA and they hire government workers. Definitely do not trust the cross-species thing. I believe Monsanto and AMD both really do have an interest in feeding the world through controlling the food supply of the world. I guess I am a conspiracy troglodyte nut case
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Offline wolfy

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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2015, 05:15:55 PM »
MONSANTO  >:D or  O:-)............ :shrug:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/can-we-trust-monsanto-with-our-food/

http://modernfarmer.com/2014/03/monsantos-good-bad-pr-problem/

                                                                     


Nice discussion, so far, folks......I KNEW WE COULD DO IT! :hail:

                                                                     
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Offline Unknown

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Offline Orbean

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Offline wolfy

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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #19 on: May 14, 2015, 06:28:36 PM »
Everyone has an 'agenda.'   The railroads, the pharmaceutical industry, the oil companies, the various agricultural-related companies and on and on and on, ad infinitum.....they are the ones that are elected to office and run our government.  Money talks AND walks.  I do NOT want this thread to take that turn because if it does it will get locked.....I GUARANTEE IT!

Let's keep the discussion related to what I asked in the original post in the thread.  What are the relative merits or demerits of GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS & BIOTECH FOODS in your opinion and how did you arrive at that opinion? 

Thank you all for your posts......I find them very interesting.  :popcorn: :cheers:
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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #20 on: May 14, 2015, 06:38:47 PM »
Have you ever seen what a wild banana looks like?  Nothing like what we buy from the store.  Genetically modified?  Mutations selectively prefered?  Not much difference in my opinion.  Don't get me wrong.  Monsanto as a corporation is so evil that Satan himself would not stoop that low.  However I am not concerned about genetically modified in the way it is being done where two organic genes are spliced in order to produce improvements in the end product.  Not much different than breeding a banana tree that grew long fruit with a banana tree that did not produce hard seeds in it's fruit.

I am of the same mind on this. If you can eat a cabbage, and you can eat a Brussels sprout, and someone combines genes from each to make a new organism that has desireable characteristics of both, I just don't see how that could be harmful, as long as the new organism doesn't create any unexpected toxins. But when you break it down into its most basic components, it is essentially no different than selectively bred organisms.

In other words, you could potentially keep cross breeding strains of corn until a natural mutation created the same DNA as a GMO, but it could take decades or even centuries for this chance mutation to occur. By going in and splicing in your own code, you get the desired effect immediately. It doesn't mean the new organism is no longer "corn", nor does it mean the new organism could never occur as a natural mutation (in most cases). It just means you have a strain of corn that has desirable traits that didn't take decades upon decades to breed the old fashioned way.

On the other hand, I think genetically enhancing humans is immoral. YMMV.


Offline Draco

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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #21 on: May 14, 2015, 06:52:31 PM »
The only demerits I can see is how genetic markers are used to financially hurt farmers who through no fault or action on their part ended up with seeds they replanted that were pollinated by neighboring farms.  Giving them genetics that they did not even want in their produce but still set them up for legal action for growing and selling unlicensed genetics.

As for being detrimental for health reasons I have yet to see anything that leads me to believe there is any risk.   :shrug: 


Offline Orbean

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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #22 on: May 14, 2015, 07:23:07 PM »
The writer of the article, Nina Fedoroff, stated this "Monsanto developed GM crops that tolerate a nontoxic herbicide called glyphosate, aka Roundup", Scientific American published an article http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/weed-whacking-herbicide-p/ that states the danger of glyphosate. So if she a distinguished bioscience professor should she not know about this? I am responding to your thread and mean no disrespect, only replying to your post. And no scientist should not have an agenda, they should present facts. She is obviously on the pro-GMO side of the equation.
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Offline wsdstan

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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #23 on: May 14, 2015, 07:55:35 PM »
Orbean,

She knows about it.  You believe what the Scientific American article states (it is actually a reprint from another publication) but you don't believe the article by Federoff.  That is the mess that is created.  Why do you believe one side but not the other?  Each makes a statement and you choose to follow one side and deride the other.  Yet you have no more proof that one is right and one is wrong than I do.   

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Offline Orbean

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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #24 on: May 14, 2015, 08:22:04 PM »
Orbean,

She knows about it.  You believe what the Scientific American article states (it is actually a reprint from another publication) but you don't believe the article by Federoff.  That is the mess that is created.  Why do you believe one side but not the other?  Each makes a statement and you choose to follow one side and deride the other.  Yet you have no more proof that one is right and one is wrong than I do.

I am sure she knows about the problems with roundup, it goes to show how biased she is. My problem with GMO's is that the inventors and producers are also the regulators, as I stated earlier. Actually I have read much on this, there are many problems with roundup. If you like I can PM you mucho article discussing issues with glyphosate, however we are talking about GMO's. I worry is the long term effects of it. It is not like we are talking about Mendels experiements. This is gene splicing, it is a new science and there is so much to be learned about it. Unfortunately we in the U.S. are the test subjects http://www.thenation.com/blog/176863/twenty-six-countries-ban-gmos-why-wont-us.
http://www.responsibletechnology.org/10-Reasons-to-Avoid-GMOs

When it comes down to it this is my main issue http://www.actionbioscience.org/biotechnology/pusztai.html
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Offline Orbean

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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #25 on: May 14, 2015, 08:25:01 PM »
Orbean,

She knows about it.  You believe what the Scientific American article states (it is actually a reprint from another publication) but you don't believe the article by Federoff.  That is the mess that is created.  Why do you believe one side but not the other?  Each makes a statement and you choose to follow one side and deride the other.  Yet you have no more proof that one is right and one is wrong than I do.

I am sure she knows about the problems with roundup, it goes to show how biased she is. My problem with GMO's is that the inventors and producers are also the regulators, as I stated earlier. Actually I have read much on this, there are many problems with roundup. If you like I can PM you mucho articles discussing issues with glyphosate, however we are talking about GMO's. I worry is the long term effects of it. It is not like we are talking about Mendels experiements. This is gene splicing, it is a new science and there is so much to be learned about it. Unfortunately we in the U.S. are the test subjects http://www.thenation.com/blog/176863/twenty-six-countries-ban-gmos-why-wont-us.
http://www.responsibletechnology.org/10-Reasons-to-Avoid-GMOs

When it comes down to it this is my main issue http://www.actionbioscience.org/biotechnology/pusztai.html

Federoff said nothing about the concerns about roundup, so tell me how she is not biased towards the GMO side of the issue. I am not stirring the pot just backing up my opinion.
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Offline Unknown

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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #26 on: May 14, 2015, 08:35:11 PM »
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/can-we-trust-monsanto-with-our-food/

Not buying it. Me thinks she has an agenda

Over reaching can be self defeating. The author does not seem genuine to me.

Offline wsdstan

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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #27 on: May 14, 2015, 08:59:19 PM »
Orbean we will have to agree to disagree.  You have made it clear in your posts that you are on the side of the anti-GMO group and I am clearly on the side that see their benefit.  Enough said I think.
 

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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #28 on: May 14, 2015, 09:20:45 PM »
Is not having an opinion an opinion?  It's just not something I concern myself about.  The way I see it, man has been meddling in trying to improve crops/vegetables/animals for hundreds of years.  Just because he can now do it on the gene level instead of breeding a Whitefaced Hereford to an Angus or a Rhode Island Red to a White Leghorn or hybridizing corn, wheat, soybeans etc. and waiting to see the result doesn't really seem much different to me.

As a home owner with only a couple of acres of land, the only thing I don't like about Roundup besides the price is that I can't buy anything stronger or even more effective.
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Offline wolfy

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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #29 on: May 14, 2015, 09:51:53 PM »
The first GMO I remember reading about, and one that has proven to be beneficial to children in poor countries who have 'Vitamin A' deficiencies which cause blindness in hundreds of thousands of children worldwide, is beta-carotene-enhanced 'Golden Rice.'   It was developed OUTSIDE of the U.S. by Swiss and German scientists.  Heralded at first, as the savior to millions of starving and vitamin-deficient peoples, it is still being demonized by anti-GMO groups.  I see improvements in crop genetics as a good thing.    Genetic engineering means more crops, improved nutritional content and more food with fewer insecticides and herbicides being employed to produce them.......we simply won't be able to feed the planet's burgeoning populations without them. 

http://www.foodpyramid.com/what-is-golden-rice/
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Offline wsdstan

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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #30 on: May 14, 2015, 09:58:41 PM »
That is true Nuke.  Back in the old days we had chemicals that you could spray a gravel driveway with and nothing would grow there for three or four years.    :P   Roundup and generics last a couple of months.

I buy a generic glyphosate for $12.65 a gallon in 30 gallon barrels.  If I don't use it up in one year its still good the next.   

 
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Offline wolfy

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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #31 on: May 14, 2015, 10:03:32 PM »
Remember the good ol' days when we could still use DDT, like Mexico and some other countries still do? >:D
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Offline Unknown

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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #32 on: May 14, 2015, 10:28:35 PM »
Remember the Green Revolution ? I wonder if that is where the story of poor Indian farmers committing suicide originated. (the suicides mentioned in the debated article above.) I'm still looking for documentation but the story goes-poor farmers were given hybrid seed and fertilizer so they could have more bountiful yields as part of the Green Revolution initiative. It worked. Then it comes, they cannot afford to pay for the hybrid seeds, or fertilizer necessary to grow them, and have no open pollinated seeds saved to fall back on. The land is bought by agribusiness global corps, some folks become part of the urban poor, some commit suicide.

You can read this if you want: http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2011/08/green-revolution-cullather 


Offline vallehombre

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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #33 on: May 15, 2015, 06:16:53 AM »
Have you ever seen what a wild banana looks like?  Nothing like what we buy from the store.  Genetically modified?  Mutations selectively prefered?  Not much difference in my opinion.  Don't get me wrong.  Monsanto as a corporation is so evil that Satan himself would not stoop that low.  However I am not concerned about genetically modified in the way it is being done where two organic genes are spliced in order to produce improvements in the end product.  Not much different than breeding a banana tree that grew long fruit with a banana tree that did not produce hard seeds in it's fruit.

The difference is, to use your example, taking genetic material from a banana and introducing genetic material from a salmon.

Offline Wilderbeast

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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #34 on: May 15, 2015, 06:29:33 AM »
Have you ever seen what a wild banana looks like?  Nothing like what we buy from the store.  Genetically modified?  Mutations selectively prefered?  Not much difference in my opinion.  Don't get me wrong.  Monsanto as a corporation is so evil that Satan himself would not stoop that low.  However I am not concerned about genetically modified in the way it is being done where two organic genes are spliced in order to produce improvements in the end product.  Not much different than breeding a banana tree that grew long fruit with a banana tree that did not produce hard seeds in it's fruit.

The difference is, to use your example, taking genetic material from a banana and introducing genetic material from a salmon.

Exactly, and Mother Nature doesn't do that.  I don't want mutant banana's spawning in my creek.
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Offline vallehombre

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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #35 on: May 15, 2015, 06:45:28 AM »
The first GMO I remember reading about, and one that has proven to be beneficial to children in poor countries who have 'Vitamin A' deficiencies which cause blindness in hundreds of thousands of children worldwide, is beta-carotene-enhanced 'Golden Rice.'   It was developed OUTSIDE of the U.S. by Swiss and German scientists.  Heralded at first, as the savior to millions of starving and vitamin-deficient peoples, it is still being demonized by anti-GMO groups.  I see improvements in crop genetics as a good thing.    Genetic engineering means more crops, improved nutritional content and more food with fewer insecticides and herbicides being employed to produce them.......we simply won't be able to feed the planet's burgeoning populations without them. 

http://www.foodpyramid.com/what-is-golden-rice/

While there have been many advantages for folks through selective breeding and the green revolution, it is only fair to note that global food production has been sufficient for decades to provide every human with 1800 Cal/d of food adequate to meet normal nutritional needs. The problem, of course, is distribution. It is difficult for me to see how the problems with increasing human population and the relationship with carrying capacities will be either helped or hindered by GMOs.  Not all that is profitable is necessarily beneficial.

Offline Orbean

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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #36 on: May 15, 2015, 06:57:55 AM »
Orbean we will have to agree to disagree.  You have made it clear in your posts that you are on the side of the anti-GMO group and I am clearly on the side that see their benefit.  Enough said I think.

I am not against GMO's per se, my issue is with the lack of oversight and the gene splicing cross-species, I thought I had explained that in my earlier posts
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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #37 on: May 15, 2015, 10:02:31 AM »
I am fully aware of food distribution being the major problem in many starving countries, but we cannot deny the fact that arable land worldwide is becoming more scarce each year.  Deforestation, desertification, climate change, infrastructure, increasing populations all play a part in the the mounting problems of providing enough food worldwide.  We must take advantage of improvements in plant technology to provide that food on the shrinking available arable acreage.  Advancement in plant technology allows crops to be grown in climates where it would never have been possible before.

http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/AG.LND.ARBL.HA.PC/countries/1W?display=default

Improved plant and animal genetics have caused controversy from as far back as I can remember.  My dad dealt with it.  I dealt with it.  Without the drought resistance gene in the corn seed that my brother and I paid extra for, we would not have raised a crop at all for several years.  The corn that Dad raised would have withered and died in the first couple of weeks of the hot & dry conditions that today's genetically modified corn endured for months.  You can't grow corn without moisture, but its ability to stay viable until it becomes available is amazing.  I took advantage of the technology and would not have survived without it.....no apologies.
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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #38 on: May 15, 2015, 10:28:07 AM »
per wolfy ---> "we cannot deny the fact that arable land worldwide is becoming more scarce each year". I think this is one of the most important statements made in the thread thus far. I will state again that I am certainly no agriculture expert by any means, but, we have to use our resources to their limit if we expect to feed billions of people. Many of which have no concept of how to feed themselves.

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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #40 on: May 15, 2015, 12:14:14 PM »
It ain't worth much to me, at least......there are just too many things wrong with that article to even begin to discuss.  ???
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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #41 on: May 15, 2015, 12:54:02 PM »
fwiw because I dont know anything about the organization.

If you read the book review above there are similar, but a little different conclusions on how the GR affected Mexico.

An article with reference sources is heads above ones that makes claims without sources or other proof imo. At least one can look those up if inclined and determine what sort of bias may be at work.

The article written by the editors of SA covers my opinion on the issues fairly well. Transparency, third party evaluation, and genuine peer revue before I can believe what corporations say about their product. Monsanto's net profit is down, stock price is falling. If a product can be labeled GMO free by third party certification the sales rise dramatically. It will be interesting to see how this pans out in the market place with those facts in mind.


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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #42 on: May 15, 2015, 02:48:32 PM »
I am happy DDT is gone.  Look at how much that has helped the comeback of the American Eagle.  I see more now than I ever did as a kid.  It was here in Michigan on Gull Island in Lake Michigan where they discovered the link between DDT and cracked eggs.  I also have concerns that some of these chemicals are what is hurting the honey bee but I am a believer in actual evidence not just innuendo. 

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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #43 on: May 15, 2015, 02:56:19 PM »
Have you ever seen what a wild banana looks like?  Nothing like what we buy from the store.  Genetically modified?  Mutations selectively prefered?  Not much difference in my opinion.  Don't get me wrong.  Monsanto as a corporation is so evil that Satan himself would not stoop that low.  However I am not concerned about genetically modified in the way it is being done where two organic genes are spliced in order to produce improvements in the end product.  Not much different than breeding a banana tree that grew long fruit with a banana tree that did not produce hard seeds in it's fruit.

The difference is, to use your example, taking genetic material from a banana and introducing genetic material from a salmon.

Okay it is different but how does that difference change the fact that you are working with beneficial mutations?  What is the link between the source of the genetic code and a possible negative outcome?  It seems to me you would almost have to purposely go after genetic code with the intent to harm people.  As much as I hate Monsanto I suspect they are only greedy not trying to destroy all humanity. 

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« Last Edit: May 15, 2015, 04:13:25 PM by wolfy »
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Offline vallehombre

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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #45 on: May 16, 2015, 08:09:01 AM »
Have you ever seen what a wild banana looks like?  Nothing like what we buy from the store.  Genetically modified?  Mutations selectively prefered?  Not much difference in my opinion.  Don't get me wrong.  Monsanto as a corporation is so evil that Satan himself would not stoop that low.  However I am not concerned about genetically modified in the way it is being done where two organic genes are spliced in order to produce improvements in the end product.  Not much different than breeding a banana tree that grew long fruit with a banana tree that did not produce hard seeds in it's fruit.

The difference is, to use your example, taking genetic material from a banana and introducing genetic material from a salmon.

Okay it is different but how does that difference change the fact that you are working with beneficial mutations?  What is the link between the source of the genetic code and a possible negative outcome?  It seems to me you would almost have to purposely go after genetic code with the intent to harm people.  As much as I hate Monsanto I suspect they are only greedy not trying to destroy all humanity.

Beneficial mutations are what folks selecting the best seeds for planting during the next crop cycle do and have always done. The source of a genetic code is species determined. Humans for instance display genetic contributions from Neanderthals and primates but none from peach trees or iguanas.  In the natural world different species do not successfully breed, despite all the old jokes about cowboys and sheep.

GMO may be beneficial, they are certainly profitable. But until more evidence is available we might remember what we told our kids when they were little - Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

Just my partially informed opinion.

Offline vallehombre

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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #46 on: May 16, 2015, 08:27:41 AM »
I am fully aware of food distribution being the major problem in many starving countries, but we cannot deny the fact that arable land worldwide is becoming more scarce each year.  Deforestation, desertification, climate change, infrastructure, increasing populations all play a part in the the mounting problems of providing enough food worldwide.  We must take advantage of improvements in plant technology to provide that food on the shrinking available arable acreage.  Advancement in plant technology allows crops to be grown in climates where it would never have been possible before.

http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/AG.LND.ARBL.HA.PC/countries/1W?display=default

Improved plant and animal genetics have caused controversy from as far back as I can remember.  My dad dealt with it.  I dealt with it.  Without the drought resistance gene in the corn seed that my brother and I paid extra for, we would not have raised a crop at all for several years.  The corn that Dad raised would have withered and died in the first couple of weeks of the hot & dry conditions that today's genetically modified corn endured for months.  You can't grow corn without moisture, but its ability to stay viable until it becomes available is amazing.  I took advantage of the technology and would not have survived without it.....no apologies.

A complex issue no doubt. Not being a farmer, another way to look at it might be to ask why, in your example, crops more suited to a changing/changed environment and drier conditions were not planted? Rather than modifying the seed stock (and possibly eliminating seed diversity in the bargain which can only be a really big concern farmers or otherwise), why not plant something else that will be profitable and reflect new conditions?

Technology that allowed old ones in the SW to reliably plant and harvest The Three Sisters (squash corn and beans), made use of semi arid lands quite effectively and helped sustain folks for hundreds of years albeit at much lower population densities than we see today. Population being a related problem, to be sure.

From what second hand knowledge of the business i have, farming is subject to many financial pressures that are not necessarily related to growing things. How much of that influences planting decisions and farming practice? I don't know. You are the expert, so I'll listen.

What I do recognize however, is not everything that is profitable is necessarily beneficial and sometimes the most beneficial things are not necessarily profitable.

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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #47 on: May 16, 2015, 04:05:05 PM »
First of all, I am NOT an expert, but more a SURVIVOR of the farming game.  I can tell you though, that you have to have a market for what you choose to raise on your land in order to make a profit.  If those markets do not exist you have no way of obtaining money to trade for life's necessities.  Sure, I COULD raise 'The Three Sisters' just like those that Buffalo Bird Woman raised in her garden, but that was a 'subsistence' form of agriculture and she didn't have to pay real estate taxes, either.  How many hills of corn, beans and squash would I have to tend by hand, find a market for, transport and find buyers for, to make a profit?   

Transportation is a major factor and has been since the days of the founding of the country.  Corn farmers back then had no practical or profitable way of moving their corn crop to market without first distilling it into the ethanol (condensed and easily transportable corn) that people guzzled with relish.  Barrels of it were cheaply moved by oxcart and flatboat to thirsty consumers.  We fought a war over it.....read about the Whiskey Rebellion.  Same deal today, but we now burn it in our automobiles and move it via railroad tank car.  The market has to exist before we have a reason to grow it. 

The Great Plains has very few large metropolitan areas where we can sell fresh 'garden produce' without transporting it for long distances to coastal markets for consumption.  Our transportation system is simply not equipped to handle it.  That means we are destined to produce commodity crops which are fed to livestock locally in huge cattle feed yards, pork confinement operations, poultry confinements and the like.  There are simply not enough farmers anymore to to produce the food the nation needs on today's scale OR in the bucolic manner in which those who wish us to pursue those styles of agriculture, could even consider.     IF we could find the time, manpower, available acreage, cheap transportation, water, and all else it would require to produce an organically-grown crop in sufficient quantities to feed an ever-increasing population, food would become so expensive, few would be able to afford anything else.  Do a little research on the percentage of money that people in our country pay for their food compared to other countries, but don't count how much of that money is spent in restaurants.  Also, look up how much of the money we ALL are taxed for the 'Farm Bill' every year and how much of that money is actually spent on agriculture.   Most of that money is spent for FREE food for people that are either unable or unwilling to pay for it on their own. 

That's about the gist of it, from my perspective.  I'm only growing a garden these days, so what do I know?   
                                                                   :shrug:

« Last Edit: May 16, 2015, 09:46:25 PM by wolfy »
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Offline Dano

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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #48 on: May 16, 2015, 09:28:49 PM »
I want to start off by saying I don't know much about farming, other than what little work I did as a kid on my Grandparent's farm before it was sold.  And I have not been able to go back and read all the links that have been included in this thread, but here are a few thoughts...

What I can say is this...I worked this past (2014) harvest season and into production season for one of Monsanto's competitors, who also work with GMO corn.  Their product includes lines that are herbicide and/or pesticide resistant, as well as untreated versions.   Some of the GM strains were made to grow in high drought areas and others in high moisture areas, both which turned out to give better yields for the farmers.

The pesticide resistant versions were blended so as not to kill off an entire field of pests.  Killing off all the bugs in an area has proven to be just as bad as not killing any.  These versions also returned higher yields for the farmers.

So far, it appeared to be good for the farmers because the last three years have had record harvest levels.  Sounds good, right?  Well, last year the overage in harvest caused the company to plant several thousand acres LESS last year because the supply on hand was so high.  That's not so good for the farmers.

This year, they planned to plant ZERO local acreage because they still have a huge amount of past harvest yields on hand.  Another not-so-good thing for the farmers.  Then, the local plant I worked at dropped from 60-plus full time employees, to only 14 in the last month or so.  SO...now not only are the local growers who have worked with this company for a long time out of work again, but now more than half of the employees who worked there also out of a job, benefits, etc.  I realize the farmers may be able to grow for another company or go back to shelling the corn and taking it to market, but the folks who worked there have nothing to fall back on.

So I see the benefits of GMO's, but I can also say I've seen a negative aspect of them first hand as well.  Being able to produce a fuller crop now where before there was approximately 1/3 to 1/2 lost, is great.  But producing to levels where storage becomes an issue and folks are losing jobs....well maybe the scales have tipped too far one way.  Just saying.

And since I'm still uneducated enough to not totally understand all of it, I guess I'm still on the fence.  I do know the regulation issues have been a huge problem and suffer from typical corruption as do most things in life today.  I think there is a better way to regulate this issue, but there's still way too much money blocking it from happening any time soon.

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Re: PROS & CONS OF BIOTECH & GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
« Reply #49 on: May 18, 2015, 05:05:17 AM »
Supply/demand, boom/bust, drought/flood.....it's just part of farming, Dano.  Like my neighbor's dad used to say, "They're only gon'na let you make so much." :shrug:    That's the way it seems most of the time, too.....either you have a lot to sell and the prices suck or you have a small crop and they pay a premium price for the product.  I don't know if you remember me mentioning the fact that we produced more corn & soybeans this year than any other year since our family has been farming, but it was a boost for us after several years of low yields due to drought.  Corn was a pretty decent price during those dry years....over $7/bushel for a short period of time, but we didn't have much to sell. :-\     Now, after a good year for almost all of the grain farmers, corn is just about half of that much.   We just handle more material during the good years and less of it during the dry years......pays about the same. :doh:
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