Rural Matters

Our American agricultural legacy lives on

Published online: Jun 05, 2008 Feature Nancy I. Butler, editor
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Farming practices have been under attack in mainstream media and for this reason I desired to present an issue that asserts that the real agricultural heroes are those individuals who tend the land.

Farming is not understood accurately in the modern populated cities where school children are lead to believe that humans are destroying the planet.
This is thanks in part to Al Gore and his environmentally challenged followers-it would surprise Gore and those who misunderstand who the true environmental stewards of the land really are.

They are the men and women who care for the land and make a living from the beauty of planting and nurturing growing plants in the fertile soils. Farmers are the real environmentalists.

Under their stewardship they provide healthy food, feed for animals and natural fibers for the citizens of this great country and to the world.
With the Roundup Ready beet in production for the first time at the commercially grown era, a full-fledged argument has been launched against genetically modified foods.

The attack is filled with misconceptions and misunderstandings along with misleading argument designed by the activist groups to try and tell the nation that genetically modified organisms are bad. It is astounding how out of line their arguments are.

The activists are attempting to convince people that with a field full of Roundup Ready beets, the grower will have to spray more herbicides than with conventional beet seed.

I would challenge the activists to explain their understanding of Roundup Ready beet seed or any Roundup Ready seed.

Perhaps they are just completely ignorant of the purpose behind genetically modifying a seed to resist the strongest herbicide manufactured by a chemical company.

They must not understand how a plant that was designed to be resistant to an herbicide that kills everything except that plant actually requires less chemical applications. The scare tactics of the activists shamefully argue with ignorance.

In a Business Week article by Brian Hindo dated December 6, 2007, the protest against biotech crops is diluted.

Hindo says, "While a vocal band of opponents is still protesting biotech crops, a growing multitude of farmers around the world is planting them. The reason is no mystery: Monsanto seeds contain genes that kill bugs and tolerate weed-killing pesticides. So they are much easier and cheaper to grow than traditional seeds. More than half the crops grown in the U.S., including nearly all the soybeans and 70 percent of the corn, are genetically modified.

"Just five years ago, China, India and Brazil planted virtually no genetically engineered crops. Now Brazil can barely build roads fast enough to get all of its biotech soybeans from the fertile interior Mato Grosso state out to ports.

"Farmers in China and India, meanwhile, planted more than 17 million acres of biotech crops last year. These three countries are now three of the six largest GMO-planting nations in the world, as measured by area planted."
Admirably, Monsanto stood strong during the peak of media fear tactics.

They continued with research and began publishing their internal research papers in scientific journals.
The demand for GMO crops has increased dramatically as Monsanto has focused on developing seeds for agribusiness.

Courageous in their belief and pressing forward due to the increased productivity and positive scientific results, Monsanto believes beyond doubt in the GMO cause.

I have been accused of being too enthusiastic about agriculture.
And I willingly accept my passion as heart-felt and deep, however, those deep seeded feelings for the land are due to my upbringing and how my parents instilled in me those passions through their example.

They also inspired me with a true love and respect for my country.
Building upon my agricultural roots I owe it to continue the "battle" to set the fact/records straight whenever I have the opportunity in this world of challenging media influences.

I dedicate this issue to my father who served our country in the military as a marine stationed in San Diego during the 1950s.

My father taught me where to place proper allegiance and to feel the warm soil where seeds of country, family and agriculture are planted and to care properly while helping the seeds to grow and feed others.

Thanks dad for your service to our country, the farm and to your family.
I would also challenge farmers and ranchers to stand up and give voice to their productive, honest and forthright agricultural livelihood.
It is the founding heritage of this great nation.

Harry S. Truman said, "The most peaceful thing in the world is plowing a field. Chances are you'll do your best thinking that way."
It behooves us to teach the nation about careers in farming the land, growing food for people and animals, in addition to educating our posterity about the substantive value and commendable duty in living an honorable life in agriculture.

Making a living on a farm is difficult, challenging, strenuous and ultimately worthwhile.