This important story comes to us from Ms. M.W. The topic is evident from the title of today's blog, but the real story is in the reasons for this rising tide of farmer/producer opposition to the cultivation of GMO crops:
You'll note there are two interconnected concerns here, the first being cost-effectiveness: lower costs and higher yields are occurring now with ordinary, non-GMO seeds. This is a story we first blogged about last year after the University of Iowa published a report suggesting that initially, and only for a very short period, do GMO crops show marked increases of yield. But as mother nature more quickly adapts than can the scientists of Mon(ster)santo and Synkrudda, the yields of those crops dramatically decline, while the costs remain the same. Thus, in the long run, non-GMO crops represent the more financially viable and productive alternative. The article above appears to be confirming those findings:
"Mac Ehrhardt, president of Minnesota-based Albert Lea Seed reports that he is selling more conventional (he describes conventional corn as non-GMO) corn seed by the end of November than he did all of last year. He says that farmers are turning to non-GMO to cut costs and to earn more money for their non-GMO yields.
'There is a continued increased demand for non-GMO.'
"His observations are corroborated by Wayne Hoener, vice president of sales for eMerge, an Iowa-based seed company, as well as Tim Daley, an agronomist at Stonebridge, Ltd., an Iowa-based buyer of non-GMO soybeans who are also seeing a marked demand for non-GMO seed by farmers.
'Some companies have seen a 50 percent increase in sales of non GMO seed, and some have said they’ve sold more non-GMO seed this year than in the last five.'
“On (non-GMO) corn, we’ve got a slight increase on sales over last year,” he says. “Non-GMO has emerged as the new niche. It’s about 4-5 percent of total corn production.”
The other reason for the apparent rise in non-GMO seed sales is that farmers themselves are noticing that the claims of the "science" of big GMO firms like I.G. Farbensanto is running counter to what they're actually seeing in their fields, and they are beginning to question not only the claims, but (one suspects) the underlying "science" as well:
"Other farmers are considering the switch because they are tired of super-weeds. One corn breeder who preferred to remain anonymous for a recent interview stated:
“The insect and herbicide traits are losing effectiveness with increased resistant rootworm and weed species. Growers are tired of paying for input costs that are reduced in efficacy and funding additional forms of crop protection.”
Iowa State University weed specialist Bob Hartzler seconds that sentiment in an interview with Iowa Farmer Today.
“You have people questioning the value of the Roundup gene. How many are doing it (making the switch) because of that concern, I don’t know.”
"Non-GMO seeds are also producing more competitive yields.
“The yield performance of non-GMO hybrids is similar to or greater than traited (GMO) hybrids,” says the corn breeder.
Is this why mega company, General Mills, purchased organic food company Annie’s Homegrown for nearly $1 billion. And other large food corporations are looking to swallow up smaller organic food companies?
“There is continual and accelerating growth in organic,” he says. “There has been more conversion to organic by farmers recently than I’ve ever seen.”