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Old 05-31-2013, 04:52 PM
 
2,253 posts, read 6,020,776 times
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"Vermont, Connecticut and New York are all pursuing laws to require GM labeling – a move furiously resisted by Monsanto and the other big biotech firms." [1]


Agriculture in Colorado faces a number of challenges. One of the more notable would be with our continuing drought and many farmer's uncertain future in terms of present and future water supplies traditionally depended upon. This in conjunction with increasing urbanization, or water rights having already been subsumed from agriculture to metropolitan uses. This transfer near permanent in effect. But as well the changes to our global climate, with reliable predictions having the Southwest United States only becoming warmer and more arid in the coming decades. None of this boding well for agriculture here.

Such a topic could provide the scope for further discussion. If surely of most interest to any farmer, with implications in one way or another for the life and well-being of all Coloradoans. Or in what future agriculture will have within Colorado, and its place within this state that has always relied upon it in various ways.

There are as well other troubling trends. One of these is entirely man-made and has to do with the very nature of our food and what at last our bodies are constituted and our health. This would be the advent of genetically modified foods, and Colorado along with many other regions involved.

You may have recently heard of an outbreak of GM wheat within a farmer's field in eastern Oregon. Although but the tip of the iceberg, or what has transpired and will continue to.

Between 1998 and 2005, the biotech corporation Monsanto grew and tested genetically modified wheat in 16 states, including Colorado. These trials were discontinued when Monsanto could not receive approval from the FDA towards GM wheat for human consumption.

The concern now, with these GM wheat plants having been discovered where they never should have been, and long after these trials ceased, is to what degree the greater American wheat crop may be contaminated.

Aside from health concerns, this has large economic ramifications. 90% of the wheat grown in Oregon is exported. Many countries in the world are not as lackadaisical about GM foods as the United States, often outright banning them. On Friday, the European Union advised member states to randomly sample imported US wheat; the EU imports 1.1m tones of wheat a year. China and the Philippines are closely monitoring the ongoing USDA investigation of this outbreak. South Korea—which last year imported half its wheat from the US—has cancelled all US imports of wheat. Japan previously did the same. Thailand has notified its ports to be on alert.

The greater concern is that this is not a one-off event, but possibly of contamination already existing and more widespread. To little effect, many organic farmers have vociferously complained for years of contamination of their crops by GM crops in neighboring fields. Par for the course in some of these instances is instead of restitution for their crops and livelihood being compromised, for Monsanto instead to have the effrontery in suing these farmers for having GM plants growing on their property which they had not purchased the seeds for.

But the wheat crop is but one aspect of this. Monsanto and other biotech corporations have already gained FDA approval for GM crops such as corn, cotton and soybeans. The US soybean crop is nearly entirely GM, corn nearly so. And aside from wheat, corn is one of the most basic, important and staple of crops in the US and indeed world. It is an ingredient in a vast array of foods, many one might not suspect contain it.

Corporations such as Monsanto carry out about 1,000 trials of GM crops every year across this country. This trend is only expanding. Aside from feed crops for animals one might then consume, affected also fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes.

Fully 2/3rds of the processed food on the American table now contain some portion of GM crops. Those concerned with this or attempting to eliminate same from their diet will have a difficult time. To do so, to begin, one would need to eliminate virtually all processed foods from their diet, and largely foregoing the pleasure of dining in restaurants.

Many of the foods even the well known organic provider Whole Foods offers contain some portion of GM crops. The management of Whole Foods has committed to label all GM foods in their stores by 2018.

But it will not be easy, all the more as Monsanto and its ilk spare no expense or effort to influence Congress and otherwise insure that GM food is never labeled as such. The last thing they want, indeed fear, is transparency in this, or that the American public should decide for themselves whether to eat this stuff.

Most of Colorado's wheat is winter wheat, being planted in September or October, and dryland or non irrigated. With enough moisture, it germinates in autumn. This then lies dormant through winter, growing in spring, with harvest in July.

Last year, Colorado farmer's harvested 37 bushels to the acre, statewide. This actually being higher than the 10-year average of 32.2 bushels to the acre. Total production was 83.3 million bushels. Colorado is the fifth-largest wheat producer in the US, behind only Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Washington state.

80% of Colorado's wheat crop is—or was—exported to Europe and Asia. [2]


1) 'Asia curbs US imports of wheat after genetically modified sample found,' The Guardian
Asia curbs US imports of wheat after genetically modified sample found | Environment | guardian.co.uk

2) 'Colorado wheat farmers buoyed by high prices after average harvest,' The Denver Post
Colorado wheat farmers buoyed by high prices after average harvest - The Denver Post
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Old 05-31-2013, 08:41 PM
 
811 posts, read 1,224,017 times
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Pretty bleak - better revert back to an all meat diet, eh? Whoops! Read Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser 10 or so years ago and its basically the same story with the big meat processors. Getting so a guy/gal can't trust anything grown or raised outside a 100 mile radius of where they live anymore. Check out how many products in your pantry say "natural flavors" then do some research into how/where these "natural flavors" are produced (hint: about half a dozen factories in New Jersey" produce them all and there's nothing "natural" about them). Hate to be a conspiracy theorist but they paid the politicians for the right to use "natural" on the packaging and we've mostly bought the lie ever since.

All this stuff gets very depressing if you think about it too much. I/we make every reasonable effort to stay local, buy local, eat local, etc. but ultimately there's only so much you can do with 24 hours in each day. "They" make it almost impossible to avoid being unhealthy cogs in an unhealthy machine, like so much GM wheat blowing onto our collective fields, diets, etc.

How 'bout your next expository post be about something cheery, like the banking/financial system or one of the various _____________-industrial complexes? Doh!
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Old 06-01-2013, 01:05 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,403 posts, read 39,722,706 times
Reputation: 23426
I grew up on a farm in Colorado (where the natural radiation for soil is higher than 3 mile island accident), AND I grew up under power lines, and was weaned on the smokestack of a farm tractor 12 - 16 hrs /day (and to think NYC kids are dropping like flies from a 10 second blast of school bus exhaust).

So.. I'm toast

Currently working in Asia (since jobs for old people are non-existent in USA and Gen X and Y are gonna kill off all the old people that are Hogging the Jobs anyway)

USA best OPEN their eyes. Most of world is getting aligned REGIONALLY, Ag included. Who will need expensive USA commodities? (we are teaching them how to DIY anyway).

There is a new day coming.
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Old 06-01-2013, 06:53 PM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,783,192 times
Reputation: 9132
Most of the push for genetically engineered seed for crops is being made to decrease the use of some very expensive and often dangerous herbicides and pesticides. For example, much of the corn seed now being sold is genetically engineered to be resistant to insect pests without the use of pesticides--many of them petroleum-based. So, not all genetically-engineered products are bad.

As for Colorado agriculture, it can not long survive if the most prime and farmable land in the state (much of it in the northenr Front Range) continues to be lost to suburban sprawl, its water continues to be expropriated for worthless landscape irrigation in those same suburban areas, and the state continues to pursue an overall business climate poisonous to any primary industries like agriculture. It's a sad thing to see in Colorado, which once, despite its climatic challenges and relative lack of arable land, managed to be an agricultural leader in both diversity and quality of crops produced.
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Old 06-03-2013, 07:36 AM
 
Location: high plains
493 posts, read 701,938 times
Reputation: 455
It seems like we are still searching for the root causes of socio-economic-ecological changes. We suspect that it is merely a function of big money greed. Has Colorado simply become a huge investment funnel for wealth over decades - shifting from natural resource exploitation (minerals, energy, water, food) into tourism exploitation and urban growth? Hasn't the wealth become more and more efficient in expanding its influence and productivity? Isn't that considered a healthy business climate (at least until it exhausts ALL the resources and moves on - Montana, Wyoming?)? Has wealth ever been regionally sustainable? Family-run businesses morph into corporate chains, which are sold out to foreign interests. Cities sprawl and rot at the core, then the suburbs in turn rot as the ex-urbs grow and consume the land. Scenic wonders and wildlife habitat become tourist traps, consuming the scenery and extinguishing the wildlife. Is this not state-supported capitalism at its finest - money chasing money, with people grasping for the leftovers?
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