USB chair sounds off on biotechnology

2012-11-09T11:59:00Z USB chair sounds off on biotechnology Agri-View
November 09, 2012 11:59 am

Vanessa Kummer, United Soybean Board Chair and a soybean farmer from Colfax, N.D., says USB wants to set the record straight regarding GMOs, which she contends enable growers to grow more on less land, using fewer inputs and conserving the soil better than conventional crops.

“Simply put, biotechnology takes the DNA from one organism and transfers it into another. For as long as humans have been raising crops, we have cross-bred plants in order to improve them. We’ve done this by taking the pollen from one plant and physically transferring the genes in the pollen to another plant in order to make offspring that produce more seed or that can fight off diseases and pests, for example. However, pollen contains many genes, some good and some bad. So, late in the last century, we identified a way to accomplish gene transfer in the lab. This made it possible to add only the good genes, or fix bad ones already in the plant, in order to improve its usefulness to farmers and mankind,” explains Kummer.

She says since the first biotech crop hit the market in 1996, about one billion acres of U.S. farmland have been planted to biotech crops and trillions of pounds of U.S. soybeans and corn have been consumed worldwide, all with no credible reports of harm to human health. In addition, these organizations have come out in support of biotech foods: American Medical Association, U.S. National Academy of Science, UN Food and Agriculture Organization, World Health Organization, International Council for Science and the British Medical Association.

Some have questioned the safety of biotech crops. Kummer contends that no “peer-reviewed” research has proven GMOs to be unsafe. For more information on the United Soybean Board, visit www.unitedsoybean.org.

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