Values Argument: GMOs a Concern Since Farming Is Remote

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Posted on September 24, 2015 by Hank Campbell
In most parts of America we have a school year that is based on farming. Because of this, summer has no classes – that was created because almost everyone needed three months off to work on a farm and grow food, including kids and teachers. Farming was once so fundamental that in 1862 Republican President Abraham Lincoln created the Department of Agriculture for an obvious reason – because 90 percent of Americans were farmers.

Now, farming is remote. Though 96 percent of American farms are family owned or run, only 1 percent of Americans actually work on them. Rather than requiring 90 percent of a population for food creation, we have gotten so good at farming efficiently that we can feed hundreds of millions of people using a tiny fraction of our workers.

But the success of farming science has come with a cultural price: Most people don’t know much about how food grows now and that has made it easy for urban elites and groups like Environmental Working Group and Whole Foods to scare the public with falsehoods about modern agriculture. They imply that the modern population would be sustainable without genetics or pesticides, and therefore science is dangerous, unnecessary experimentation. They can get away with this because most of their donors have never worked on a farm. It is now possible for even the poorest people in America to never have to worry about food, and that is due to terrific advances in chemistry and, more recently, biology. But to urban dwellers it has always been that way.

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Photo of Keith Edmisten, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionDr. Keith EdmistenProfessor of Crop Science & Extension Cotton Specialist (919) 515-4069 keith_edmisten@ncsu.eduCrop and Soil Sciences - NC State University
Updated on Sep 29, 2015
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