GMOs or gentically modified organisms always seem to make news. First, I will be clear that on our farm we practice sustainable, organic farming. Are we GMO free? By the modern sense of that term yes but allow me to explain.
First, I respect any and all farmers. In my younger years, I often lambasted GMOs. However, as I gain knowledge and meet other farmers-my perspectives change. Every farmer has the right to choose the farming method that they feel best suits their operation. I do not begrudge them for their choices. Secondly, it is my belief that we must stop pitting one farming method against another. The fact is that growing food for other living beings to consume is a noble profession. There are methods that cause more harm to our precious earth and methods that cause less. Regardless, every farmer has the free will to choose what method will work best for what they produce.
The reality is that since the dawn of crop agriculture, our species has being practicing DNA manipulation in plants. The variety of vegetables, nuts, fruits and tubers we eat today did not just magically appear on an open plain or a forest clearing. All of those food sources were wild plants that our species domesticated. Over generations we grew crops such as corn, wheat, carrots and transformed them from their wild often inedible relatives to something we could eat. It is true that was not done in a lab, but in fields exposed to all elements. However, we were in fact modifying an organisms' genetic material. We accomplished this by saving seed only from plants that produced desirable results. The desirable results in this case would be edible produce, that produced a good yield and showed resistance to pests, drought etc.
Fast forward to modern day and this practice has evolved as our understanding and technology has expanded. We are fortunate to have a wealth of genetic knowledge that our ancestors did not have. Today's GMO plants are more specific, we can alter one aspect of a plants' DNA for a beneficial result in crop production. There are practical, beneficial applications such as make wheat more drought resistant or increased pest resistance for corn. With technology the practice that started ten thousand years ago has become more precise.
Genetic modification has always existed in agriculture. However, on our farm we choose to do it the old fashioned way via selective breeding, open pollination and cross breeding within species. Those methods are what is right for our farm.
How do you practice genetic modification in your crops?