Myth Adventures

Being in the habit of reading plenty of stories on a daily basis, it takes something truly special to get my anger up and cause me to shake my head in disbelief. Yet, one Sunday morning, I happened upon an item that did both.

Recently, Britain’s UKTV Gold surveyed 3,000 people regarding which characters from history were mythical and which were real. Shockingly, 47% of those surveyed thought Richard the Lionheart, a real 12th century king, was a myth. Likewise, 23% believed former English Prime Minister Win­ston Churchill was made up. However, 58% believed mythical detective Sher­lock Holmes actually existed.

Naturally, this clash of fact vs. fiction got me to thinking about all the myths and realities I’ve heard about since I started covering the ag retail marketplace eight years ago. The first of these was the debate regarding biotech crops stemming from the accidental mixing of StarLink corn (which was approved for animal consumption only) into the human food supply back in 2000.

At the time, the myth makers said that all biotech crops were dangerous for human consumption, but that StarLink was potentially deadly since a main component of its genetic make-up could cause an allergic reaction.

Back to reality: Despite being consumed since 1996, there have been NO documented deaths during the past 12-year period. Fur­thermore, the few calls received by government officials regarding reactions to StarLink-tainted food proved to be unfounded. Still, there are many consumers around of the globe, particularly those in Europe, that cling to the myth of the dangers of biotech crops.

Perhaps more troubling than the long-standing biotech crop debate is the one currently shaping up between fossil fuels, food production, and biofuels. When biofuels and ethanol were first offered as a viable alternative to fossil fuels, the public and industry seemed eager to embrace them. Who couldn’t get behind an energy source that was renewable and home-grown?

Then, the myth makers started to appear. First, there were groups that said biofuels were a bad idea because their production would take food away from the world’s growing population. Once the reality of which crops most of the world eats set in (wheat and rice, not corn or soybeans), other myth makers began saying more planted acres for biofuels would mean more forests being leveled in the process. One Newsweek columnist even called for opening currently protected areas where fossil fuel reserves exist instead of supporting biofuels.

But a reality check: More acres aren’t coming into use each year across the U.S. to accommodate all that extra corn and soybean; the existing acreage just shifts from one crop to another. And protected areas are protected for a reason. To advocate the mining of more of the world’s finite supply of fossil fuels seems very short-sighted. Won’t this just delay the inevitable energy crunch for another generation at best?

In reality, corn- and soybean-derived biofuels cannot be the only alternative products being produced to solve our world’s future energy demands. But they certainly will be part of the solution. To those that think we can ignore the problem and continue to function the way we always have, I have only four words: That’s truly a myth.

Leave a Reply

Eric Sfiligoj Stories

Eric SfiligojThe Cocktail Age Of Herbicides
July 20, 2015
An old saying claims that in many difficult situations, “two heads are better than one.” In the crop protection products Read More
Eric SfiligojGrowers: Keep Trying For 2015 Or Give Up?
July 13, 2015
With apologies to our friends in California, many of the country’s crop fields, particularly in the Midwest, seem to in Read More
Farmer on tablet
Eric SfiligojThe Never-Ending Battle Against Modern Agriculture
July 1, 2015
In the world of comic books, the character of Superman often refers to the fight to save the world as Read More
Eric SfiligojIARC Targets 2,4-D In Latest Report
June 29, 2015
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has struck again. Earlier this year in March, this agency of the Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100Allied Ag Distributors Adds Four New Owners
July 30, 2015
Aligned Ag Distributors LLC has announced the addition of four new customer/owners to Franklin Holding Co. LLC. They are: The Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Purchases California-Based Specialty Crops Retailer
July 20, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings has successfully acquired California-based NH3 Service Co.  Operating as part of Pinnacle’s Performance Agriculture brand, the new locations Read More
Asmus Farm Supply liquid fertilizer facility features 20,000 square feet
CropLife 100Slideshow: Asmus Farm Supply Shows Off Its New Liquid Fertilizer Facility
July 15, 2015
Asmus Farm Supply, Rake, IA, recently added a new liquid fertilizer facility to its company operations. The new liquid fertilizer Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Feed Division Facilities Receive Safe Feed/Safe Food Certification
July 13, 2015
Wilbur-Ellis Co.’s Feed Division, a marketer and distributor of value-added feed ingredients for the aquaculture, livestock and pet food industries Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Expands To Brazil With Acquisition
July 8, 2015
BRANDT has acquired a majority interest in Target Brasil Fertilizantes Ltda. through its Brazilian subsidiary. Target Brasil manufactures, distributes and Read More
Milan Kucerak, president/CEO, West Central
CropLife 100West Central Cooperative And Its New President Are A Match Made In Deviation
June 29, 2015
To appreciate just how unique West Central Cooperative is in the world of ag retail, an observer need only consider Read More
Latest News
CropLife 100Allied Ag Distributors Adds Four New Owners
July 30, 2015
Aligned Ag Distributors LLC has announced the addition of four new customer/owners to Franklin Holding Co. LLC. They are: The Read More
FungicidesReport: Sudden Death Syndrome Symptoms Appearing In Soy…
July 30, 2015
Last week, symptoms of sudden death syndrome (SDS) began to appear in April 15-planted soybeans at the University of Illinois’s Read More
Seed/BiotechAdvanta Seeds Adds New Phoenix Corn Hybrids
July 30, 2015
Corn growers in the High Plains and Western states have new options available for the 2016 growing season from Advanta Read More
ManagementTechnology and agriculture: a Futurist’s Perspective
July 30, 2015
Futurist David Zach, speaking at this week’s InfoAg Conference in St. Louis, shared thoughts on the benefits and limitations of Read More
Biofuels Plant in Lousiana
Industry NewsIdle Biofuels Plant In Louisiana To Reopen As Ammonia F…
July 30, 2015
A Lithuania-based company plans to spend $265 million to reopen an idle biofuels refinery in Grant Parish as an ammonia Read More
FFA at Monsanto Booth at the 2015 National Farm Machinery Show
Industry NewsFive Students Receive The 2015 Monty’s Plant Food Compa…
July 29, 2015
This fall, five college-bound students will have financial support through the Monty’s Plant Food Company FFA Scholarship. All five scholarship Read More
GYPSOIL Blendable Pellets
Crop InputsBeneficial Reuse Management Launches Pelletized Gypsum …
July 29, 2015
Beneficial Reuse Management (BRM) announced this week at Ag Media Summit that its GYPSOIL Pelletized Products Division will open a Read More
StewardshipOhio Water Quality Project To Determine How Much Phosph…
July 27, 2015
Researchers with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University are looking for farmers in Read More
FertilizerKoch Agronomic Services Launches N-TEGRATION Technology
July 27, 2015
Koch Agronomic Services, LLC (KAS) has launched  N-TEGRATION Technology, a process technology platform designed to enable production of enhanced efficiency fertilizers at Read More
HerbicidesExpert: IARC Herbicide Classifications Leading To Confu…
July 24, 2015
Few people in the crop protection industry had heard of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) before this Read More
ManagementFCI Trade Summit Update & Precision Tank Turns 50
July 23, 2015
Editors Dave Frabotta and Eric Sfiligoj discuss the upcoming FCI Trade Summit in Las Vegas, NV, and how Precision Tank Read More
Palmer pigweed seedhead in cotton
HerbicidesUSDA Deregulates Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist Cotton Trait
July 23, 2015
The USDA today issued its decision deregulating Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist cotton trait in the U.S. The USDA has now completed its Read More
Industry NewsVerdesian Life Sciences Showcases Versatile Product Por…
July 23, 2015
Technology has revolutionized agriculture by bringing farmers, retailers and distributors to the forefront of the digital age. To meet the Read More
FertilizerWSJ: Cf Industries Exploring Merger With Dutch Chemical…
July 23, 2015
U.S. fertilizer maker CF Industries is in advanced merger talks with Amsterdam-listed chemical company OCI NV, the Wall Street Journal Read More
HerbicidesNufarm Releases New Panther SC Herbicide
July 23, 2015
Nufarm has announced the availability of new Panther SC herbicide. Panther SC is the first liquid formulation of flumioxazin available Read More
EquipmentFarmLink Launches Farm Equipment Sharing Program
July 23, 2015
FarmLink has introduced a new online farm equipment sharing community – MachineryLink Sharing – leveraging this new economy business model Read More
HerbicidesCould The South’s Most Troublesome Weed Represent A Thr…
July 22, 2015
Palmer amaranth is undoubtedly the most troublesome weed in the southern United States, taking a devastating toll on both cotton Read More
Industry NewsH.J. Baker Hires New Director Of International Sales
July 22, 2015
Global Agriculture firm H.J. Baker announced today that Steve Langley has joined the company’s Crop Performance Division and Animal Health Read More