GM Alfalfa Ruins Farmer’s Crop

B. McPherson
BigAgro Silences Naysayers
A farmer in eastern Washington State has had his alfalfa crop rejected by a broker because of pollution by RoundUp Ready plants. The RoundUp Ready alfalfa was found when the crop was tested. Many countries refuse the importation of genetically modified seeds and food.

The GM alfalfa is resistant to the herbicide glyphosate which kills most broadleaf plants. Costs are reduced because weeding becomes unnecessary when herbicide can be sprayed onto the fields.
It is legal to grow GM alfalfa in the US.

People who are opposed to the growing of GM plants have long pointed out that once in the field, the pollen(male gametes) is not under control and can be spread by wind and by animals. This has led to disputes about whether a farmer has made unauthorized use of the genetically altered seeds owned by the biotech company. If a farmer chooses to grow GM alfalfa, then a neighbouring farmer who grows organic alfalfa will soon have his fields polluted with the transgenic organisms. That organic farmer will also be in danger of aggressive prosecution by the biotech company for “stealing” their seeds.

Alfalfa is a multi billion dollar crop in the US following corn, wheat and soy in dollar importance. Alfalfa, corn and soybeans can legally be GM in the US. Only wheat has been held back because of massive opposition; however a field planting of GM wheat was discovered in Oregon this summer despite it being illegal and that Monsanto declared that it ceased to produce GM wheat in 2005. The USDA is still investigating that incident.

"This is terribly serious," said Washington state senator Maralyn Chase, a Democrat who fears alfalfa exports could be lost if it's proven GM alfalfa has mixed in with conventional supplies. Grain News

There are many food and field crops that have their genetic makeup tinkered with by biotech companies. Monsanto is in the forefront of this research. RoundUp Ready plants is one of the corporation’s success stories. Monsanto was the first to develop glyphosate herbicide under the name of Roundup and then went on to develop plants resistant to it. They then had both ends of the deal. In addition, the GM developers have patented their seeds so that farmers are not allowed to save seed for next season’s crops and must sell their harvest back to the seed supplier.

The manufacture of transgenic organisms, the sale of GM seeds, herbicides and fertilizers is big business. Because GM foods need not be labelled in Canada and the US and they are becoming more ubiquitous, they have entered our food chain unremarked and undetected. They constitute a massive uncontrolled experiment on the health of humans.

Current GM Food Crops:
Canada allows canola, corn, soy and sugar beets to be grown and imports GM cottonseed oil, papayas, squash and may import small amount of milk containing bovine growth hormone(BGM).

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