No Drought Of Criticism

For agriculture, the start of a new cropping year brings plenty of promise, a few challenges and the overall hope that conditions — both weather-related and financial — will be better than the year before. There is usually also a fair amount of interest in the newest agricultural-related items getting ready to hit the market.

Of course, the other thing that inevitably appears in a new year is criticism of these new products. However, by far the loudest critics of agriculture are those that decry the use of biotech crops. Since these genetically-engineered plants first started appearing in U.S. fields during the mid-1990s, opponents have openly attacked their use. Claims against the use of biotech crops have run the gambit, from “they are artificially-created mutants” to “they could kill unsuspecting consumers” (a claim that has yet to be proven, despite the fact that most U.S. consumers have probably eaten at least a few biotech crops in the past 15 years or so).

Yet, there is a wealth of evidence that biotech crops have been beneficial to both grower-customers and end users. Their use, and protection against weed and insect infestations, has kept yields growing, using essentially the same amount of land that growers used 20 years ago to feed the nation and world.

That’s why I’m excited for the latest round of biotech crops to appear. Just before the new year, the USDA deregulated drought-tolerant corn from Monsanto, clearing its way for sale. The company plans to conduct farm trails of the new biotech corn this year in the Western Plains states.

When you look at the facts, corn that can thrive with less water seems like a no-brainer. According to numerous research studies, corn-growing regions across the globe lose approximately 15% of their annual crop to drought, with losses running much higher in severe conditions. In North America, approximately 40% of crop yield loss is a direct result of water scarcity. Therefore, having a drought-tolerant corn variety should ultimately prove useful in places such as portions of Texas, which has experienced a prolonged drought for the past few years, not to mention helping to keep yields high for an ever-growing and hungry world population.

Given these facts, I would have thought that it would have been hard to find anyone who would protest the coming of drought-tolerant corn. But it wasn’t. On one Website, I found this comment citing a study that claims the new biotech corn performed no better than conventional corn under similar conditions: “So in the end, USDA will likely approve a corn for deregulation that’s both ineffective, could cause contamination with non-GM varieties and we’re not sure of the impact on humans down the road.”

So in the end, the same old arguments against the use of biotech crops are again being played out on the In­ternet, like some severely worn LP from the past. But I’m betting the chance to reclaim some habitually-arid land will ultimately win out.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Eric Sfiligoj Stories

Eric SfiligojThe Latest Monsanto Rumors: A Game Of Tones
July 18, 2016
When companies are engaged in the back-and-forth of the acquisition game, the tone of their various announcements is always important. Read More
Heritage Cooperative Finished Building Aerial
Eric SfiligojThe Cooperative Consolidation Crunch
July 11, 2016
One month ago on June 14, I had the opportunity to attend the official opening of a new ag retail Read More
Eric SfiligojWanted: A New Villain In Agriculture?
July 6, 2016
More than 30 years ago, I remember reading one particular comic book story that still resonates with me to this Read More
Eric SfiligojThe British Leave Vote Impact On EU Agriculture
June 27, 2016
Like virtually everyone else in the world this past week, I’ve watched the global reaction to Britain’s vote to exit Read More
Trending Articles
ASMARK 2016 Retailers Live! Tour - CPS
CropLife 100CPS Acquires Texas Retail Operation
August 23, 2016
Crop Production Services (CPS) has acquired the assets of Larry’s Chemical and Spray, Inc., for an undisclosed amount in an Read More
Key Cooperative Marcus Construction Steel Building
Retail FacilitiesMarcus Construction Builds High-Speed Agronomy Center For Key Cooperative
July 7, 2016
Key Cooperative in Grinnell, IA, wanted a state-of-the-art Agronomy Center to better serve its customers. Marcus Construction delivered exactly that. Read More
Heritage Cooperative
Retail FacilitiesKahler Automation Designs State-Of-The-Art Facility For Heritage Cooperative
July 4, 2016
Heritage Cooperative in Marysville, OH, needed an efficient liquid, dry and grain facility to serve the many needs of their Read More
The Andersons Waterloo
ManagementFirst Indiana Facility Certified Under 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program
June 27, 2016
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced that The Andersons, Inc.’s Waterloo, IN, facility has been added to its Read More
Food IT
Industry NewsCalifornia Event Will Mix Ag And Tech Professionals To Explore IT Solutions
June 20, 2016
Silicon Valley is hot on agriculture, and an upcoming event in California will bring together the food and tech industries Read More
Monsanto Luling Plant
Eric SfiligojWhat’s Next For Monsanto?
May 31, 2016
For the folks at Monsanto’s headquarters in St. Louis, MO, it has been an eventful few weeks. Back on May Read More
Latest News
2016 ShowStopper | Case IH Patriot 4440 Sprayer
Equipment5 Show-stopping Products On Display At 2016 MAGIE
August 26, 2016
For 10 years now, visitors to the yearly Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE) show have been tasked with voting for Read More
Crop InputsDuPont Pioneer: Corn Belt P and K Levels Lagging
August 24, 2016
A new DuPont Pioneer study conducted across 12 Corn Belt states demonstrates that growers may be leaving profit potential in Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsCould a Monsanto-Bayer Union Be 2 Weeks from Fruition?
August 24, 2016
Via STLToday.com (The St. Louis Post-Dispatch): Merger talks between Monsanto Co. and Bayer AG are advancing after a series of Read More
EquipmentCase IH Debuts Nutri-Tiller 955 Strip-Till Applicator
August 24, 2016
With strip-till continuing to expand across new acres, Case IH designed the new Nutri-Tiller 955 strip-till applicator to help producers Read More
EquipmentCase Launches Aim Command FLEX, 25th Anniversary Patrio…
August 24, 2016
Case IH announces new AIM Command FLEX advanced spray technology for greater application accuracy, as well as special 25th Anniversary Read More
ASMARK 2016 Retailers Live! Tour - CPS
CropLife 100CPS Acquires Texas Retail Operation
August 23, 2016
Crop Production Services (CPS) has acquired the assets of Larry’s Chemical and Spray, Inc., for an undisclosed amount in an Read More
PrecisionAg Video Conference
Precision AgVideo: PrecisionAg Vision Conference
August 22, 2016
A Strategic Conference Focused on the Future of Farm Digitization and Precision Agriculture Visit precisionagvision.com and register today! Read More
Young Corn Plants
Industry NewsOABA Welcomes Nicole Wallace As Communication & Adm…
August 22, 2016
The Ohio AgriBusiness Association has hired Nicole Wallace as its communication and administrative coordinator. Wallace will help provide comprehensive communication Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsChemChina, Syngenta Receive Clearance From CFIUS
August 22, 2016
China National Chemical Corp. (ChemChina) and Syngenta have announced that the companies have received clearance on their proposed transaction from the Read More
ManagementAg Industry Shows and Rumors
August 18, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about the upcoming trade show schedule, crop protection merger updates, and content for Read More
MAGIE 2015
EquipmentMAGIE Takes The Pulse Of The Ag Retail Industry
August 18, 2016
Every year, one of the major highlights of my career as an ag journalist is attending the Midwest AG Industries Read More
MAGIE 2015 Overview
EquipmentPride In Professionalism On Display At MAGIE
August 18, 2016
The Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association (IFCA) is proud to partner with CropLife IRON and continue the tradition of bringing Read More
SprayersJenner Ag To Debut 25th Anniversary Edition Case IH Pat…
August 18, 2016
Visitors at the 2016 Midwest Ag Industries Exhibition (MAGIE) in Bloomington, IL, will have a unique photo opportunity, as Jenner Read More
Crop InputsEU Glyphosate Controversy Heating Up Yet Again
August 17, 2016
The battle over glyphosate rages on in Europe, creating a lot of question marks over whether the herbicide will continue Read More
Industry NewsNew Partnership Provides Improved Representation At Ohi…
August 16, 2016
The Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) has retained Belinda Jones of Capitol Consulting Group, Inc. (CCG) for government relations work in Read More
Tissue testing
FertilizerMosaic: 6 Tips For Better Crop Nutrition In Corn
August 16, 2016
Late in the crop season is a good time to assess visual nutrient deficiencies and ensure early- and mid-season deficiencies Read More
WebinarsWebinar Schedule
August 14, 2016
Register for one of our upcoming Webinars or access our archive of past Webinars to view recordings of presentations that may be of interest to you. Read More
Dow DuPont
Crop InputsDowDuPont Update: EU Takes Closer Look at Merger
August 12, 2016
Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont Co. face months of haggling with European Union antitrust regulators who opened an in-depth probe Read More