Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Has the controversy over GMO alfalfa (or GE foods) gone away? Not Likely! - Alfalfa & Forage News - ANR Blogs
Has the controversy over GMO alfalfa (or GE foods) gone away? Not Likely! - Alfalfa & Forage News - ANR Blogs:
Albert Strauss, prominent Marin County, CA organic dairy producer, expressed his concerns in the film about GMO foods and GE alfalfa. He points out that his customers largely reject GMO foods.
Which raises a key point: Has the introduction of GMO alfalfa resulted in the disappearance of, or acted as a threat to, organic alfalfa or dairy production?
The evidence does not support this contention. Since the introduction of RR alfalfa in 2005, the production of organic alfalfa hay has increased by over 45% (Figure 1). Organic dairies have similarly thrived. Although it still represents less than 2% of national acreage, organic alfalfa has become more important in recent years. Idaho is the nation’s leading organic alfalfa hay state, and California produced over 18,000 acres of organic alfalfa in 2008 out of about 950,000 acres total (US Econ. Research Service Data).
In fact, it could be argued that the introduction of RR alfalfa may have strengthened the hand of organic producers to some degree, since it raises the awareness of the presence of GMOs in conventional milk production. It’s interesting that since 2005, both RR alfalfa, organic alfalfa, and export alfalfa (which is THE most important market sensitive to GMO alfalfa) have expanded dramatically in importance.
Which brings up the need for ‘Coexistence’ – respect for (and support for) all different types of agriculture, whether GE-adapting or GE-rejecting. More on that later. For some detailed discussion of the importance of co-existence and what the alfalfa industry is doing, see: http://alfalfa.ucdavis.edu and the National Alfalfa & Forage Alliance site www.alfalfa.org
But stay tuned, it looks like the controversy over GMO foods (and GE alfalfa) is not disappearing anytime soon. Farmers, consumers, and the public need to make sure they understand the technology, and remained engaged to make informed decisions.
Posted by JOlmsted at 6:20 AM