The Sequel: Pesticide looneys and conspiracy theorists

I was not surprised to see so many Web site readers respond negatively [4] to recent Delta Farm Press columns defending pesticides and biotechnology. Writing about GMOs and chemicals typically draws a large crowd of dissenters.

Rest assured, I read each response, thoroughly dissecting point and counterpoint, mulling over every admonition and each expression of righteous indignation. Afterwards I could think of only one thing to say.

“Come on people! You can do better than this!”

One hopelessly propagandized person wrote, “China, who purchases a large quantity of corn, has refused to purchase this year because of its GMO status. Now farmers who have these crops are (affected) because they can’t sell them. The current battle now is should these seed companies be held liable because farmers can’t sell them. It all goes back to pesticides. Research GMO and the companies that make them. Your point of view is misinformed. Do some more research.”

According to my research on USDA’s Web site [5], which is just a click away for anyone wishing to be conversant in agricultural trade, overall U.S. corn exports have increased by 300 million bushels since the beginning of the year. And just so you’ll know, corn producers typically don’t export corn to China, U.S. traders do.

Then there is this mess of nonsense, obviously from the organic community. “It would seem that ignoring the scientific evidence of the impact to humans from endocrine disrupting ag chemicals, that ignoring the scientific research showing impact to humans from the cancers and immune diseases these and other ag chemicals cause and even ignoring the yield data, showing NO yield increases and in most cases LOWER yields from GMO crops you, the Penton Press Group continue to further the agenda of corporate chemical America. It is sad...... and criminal. But congratulations are in order: you are now fully, legally, accomplices to their crimes.”

I have not seen reputable research that would support any of the claims made by this reader when crops protection products are used according to label directions. That aside, to suggest that the modern farming enterprise works outside the limits of law is nothing short of preposterous.

It makes one wonder. Do most people really comprehend the urgent task that farmers face – to produce without fail, enough food to sustain all of humanity day upon day, year upon year, decade after decade, across extremes of geography, weather and unfortunately, growing radicalism and regulation?

Do they understand that banning GMOs and pesticides would be catastrophic? Suppose millions are left starving to advance this grand concept? What could possibly be more criminal?