Doubts About the Promised Bounty of Genetically Modified Crops

In October 30, 2016 issue of The New York Times

“LONDON — The controversy over genetically modified crops has long focused on largely unsubstantiated fears that they are unsafe to eat.

But an extensive examination by The New York Times indicates that the debate has missed a more basic problem — genetic modification in the United States and Canada has not accelerated increases in crop yields or led to an overall reduction in the use of chemical pesticides.

The promise of genetic modification was twofold: By making crops immune to the effects of weedkillers and inherently resistant to many pests, they would grow so robustly that they would become indispensable to feeding the world’s growing population, while also requiring fewer applications of sprayed pesticides.

Twenty years ago, Europe largely rejected genetic modification at the same time the United States and Canada were embracing it. Comparing results on the two continents, using independent data as well as academic and industry research, shows how the technology has fallen short of the promise.

Broken Promises of Genetically Modified Crops

About 20 years ago, the United States and Canada began introducing genetic modifications in agriculture. Europe did not embrace the technology, yet it achieved increases in yield and decreases in pesticide use on a par with, or even better than, the United States, where genetically modified crops are widely grown.


An analysis by The Times using United Nations data showed that the United States and Canada have gained no discernible advantage in yields — food per acre — when measured against Western Europe, a region with comparably modernized agricultural producers like France and Germany. Also, a recent National Academy of Sciences report found that “there was little evidence” that the introduction of genetically modified crops in the United States had led to yield gains beyond those seen in conventional crops.…”

In Rowland, N.C., a worker loads G.M. corn seed into a planting machine on Bo Stone’s farm. Mr. Stone values genetic modifications to reduce his insecticide use. Credit Jeremy M. Lange for The New York Times

Full article: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/30/business/gmo-promise-falls-short.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

It may well be that you must be a subscriber to The NYT to get the full article (we are). If you can’t get the entire article, please let me know in  a comment.

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

3 Responses to Doubts About the Promised Bounty of Genetically Modified Crops

  1. I agree with above.

    Also, I would say, I am convinced they are not good for us/nor birds/nor animals…..As to whether it is the genetically modified food itself, or the extra toxins from chemicals, don't know.

    Years back we started feeding the birds and such, with some deer, bird seed. It took us quite some time to realise it was all eaten by various critters, except for any corn in it. The corn would get left, to be sucked up in lawn mower come spring.

    Then we were given a bag of corn…After trying many times, finally accepted they would not eat that either.

    Then come summer, got some corn on cob on sale, found out later it was good bet to be GMO. It was tasty, have to say. Had the idea to see if the critters would eat it. One cob I left whole, one cob I shaved the kernels off, and put on a dish. NONE of the critters would eat that either.

    I do not think it possible that none of these critters ate corn, as I recall as a kid farmers complaining about critters of every sort chowing down on corn fields/ family gardens etc.

    I strongly suspect it was all GMO (including what was included in bird seed bags), and the critters could tell something was not good for them .

  2. I have read in the AcresUSA (organic) Magazine that several farmers have sown two patches of corn or wheat, one GMO and the other was not. They harvested the crops, and then let the cows go into both fields to eat the stalks. They headed straight for the non-GMO crops, and wouldn't touch the GMO. I guess even cows aren't as dumb as 'human beans'.

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