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HBO’s TV show VICE aired an episode on the topic of
genetically engineered crops late Friday night. If you’re like me and you only
have 4 TV channels, you didn’t watch it. Regardless, there are enough clips
online for you to get the jist of it if you’re interested. Since I didn’t watch
the full episode, I’m not going to sit here on my high horse and tear it apart
(because, man, don’t we hate it when people form their entire opinion based on
a headline without looking further into the facts?).

I am, however, going to talk about this widespread concern
about GMOs in general. As farmers, we know these crops have been around for
nearly two decades. We are generally comfortable with their existence (whether
we choose to grow them or not). Also, as farmers, we have enjoyed decades of
being allowed to do our jobs the best way we know how without too much interference
from public opinion or concern. Now that this is changing, I see a lot of my
peers that get immediately irritated and defensive when these questions come
up. “Just let me do my job. You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

You know what, maybe they don’t. But if they are asking you
questions, at least they are trying to. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of
extremists out there who are just in attack mode and don’t care to listen to
anyone who has an opinion different than their own. But what about the people
who are just plain concerned and want to learn more about their food? What is
so wrong with that? Our farming communities need to be open to answering those
questions, because we do know what
we’re talking about. Let people get their information from us instead of news
headlines and (god forbid) Facebook. If we refuse to talk to people openly
about how we do what we do, we can’t exactly be mad that they are getting their
information from other, less reliable sources, now can we?

Food for thought.

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