By April Reeves, May 7 2010
I read it across the ‘ticker’ on CNN yesterday: US farmers deal with super weeds: single worst production threat in the history of agriculture we have ever seen. Strong words. Now, CNN often is a bit ‘expressive’ in their dialogue, but this time I have to agree.
What surprises me are the people who are surprised. Really, it was a matter of time, like many of the issues of GM crops that will eventually surface. We have said for how long now – it’s not sustainable to mess with Mother Nature. But no one listened. 3 of the big GM crops have super weeds: corn, cotton and soy.
So we ‘heretics’ and ‘fear mongers’ once again shake our heads and laugh. It was evident to anyone with any thread of common sense and vision that this day would come. And it came fast.
You can only sustain healthy agriculture through diversity in your crop choices. Monocrops (single plant crops) will eventually fall prey to either disease or in this case, resistance. I’m sure the bugs will be a tough one to destroy this year as well. Climate change as well, demands a biodiversity in order to survive. It’s the old way, but it’s THE way. While man runs around trying to fix everything, even that which is not broken, eventually it will bite him in the butt.
Farmers are curious: if they have to work longer hours (pulling weeds), do the same things they were doing before GM crops (tilling, changing chemicals), then why spend the extra money on GM seeds? While corn and some soy and cotton may prove higher yields, that should not be a concern any more: what matters is profit, and commodity crops are losing their value as junk food processors demand lower and lower prices to compete.
It’s a treadmill that’s almost impossible to get off of. We have been fed a promise that’s now leading us into chemical dependency.
So what does all this mean?
Unless Monsanto can either engineer another type of plant, or create stronger, nastier chemical pesticides, they have succeeded in taking out mass amounts of shareholder value. Creating new crops take millions of dollars. If these crops have a short duration before they implode and turn useless, the value is just not there for investors. So by subjecting farmers to stronger chemicals is the answer? No wonder young people have no interested in going int0 mass agriculture. They are moving into organics and traditional farming instead. Children are growing up much smarter than many of the older folks…
Farmers will incur additional costs trying to maintain what was suppose to be an easy, infallible system. Those costs will be passed on to the consumer, unless the tab is picked up by government subsidies (that would be you, the taxpayer).
Maybe we should take a page from our antibiotics book for super germs. Don’t we learn anything from history? Especially recent history.