From the Ground Up - Genetically Modified Organisms

GMO is an abbreviation for a genetically modified organism whose genome has been altered by the techniques of genetic engineering so that its DNA contains one or more genes not normally found there.

A high percentage of food crops are genetically modified, and that has sparked some controversy. Chris Policinski is president and CEO of Land O’ Lakes, a member owned agricultural cooperative that operates in fifty countries.

“GMOs is an interesting debate here in this country. To some degree, we’re awfully spoiled. We enjoy the safest, lowest cost, most abundant food supply in the history of mankind, ever, and today we enjoy the lowest cost food supply of any nation in the world.”

Aaron Martinka farms in Milam County.

“To me, utilizing that new technology is just like someone else going to buy the newest smart phone on the market. Everybody wants the latest and greatest technology, and GMO is just that, an important piece to feed the world is capturing and using those new technologies.”

Policinski maintains that GMOs are the most thoroughly tested technology in history.

“Eighty per cent of our food contains some sort of GMO that you buy at the grocery store, and there’s not one incidence of human health issue. Beyond that, everybody who studied this technology credibly, the USDA, the FDA, the CDC, the United Nations’ food and agricultural organization, have all concluded that the technology is safe.”

Policinski pointed out that food isn’t something that the last two generations of Americans have had to think a lot about. Technology has driven agricultural productivity.

“GMOs are vital to farmers to farmers to continue this great success story. It allows us to grow more food with less inputs, less land, less water, and if you think about it, not just from an output of food standpoint, but from a sustainability standpoint. We’re going to have to nearly double food output between now and 2050, with at most twelve per cent more arable land in the world, probably half that can be brought into production.”