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home : opinions : opinions February 5, 2016

1/28/2014 11:55:00 AM
Letter: No record of anyone being harmed by GMOs


I have a very recent background in grain and livestock production. With that said, it has long been marveled how America has always had a cheaper, more abundant food supply than anywhere in the world. This is no accident. It happened only through our free market system, which motivated seed companies and our American farmers to constantly produce more for less.

In early agriculture the future year's seed was gathered from the previous year's crop. In those days a yield of 50 or so bushels to the acre on corn was quite common. The main obstacles have always been weeds, insects and weather along with whatever type of bad soil you might have. In the '50s, hybrid seed corn was developed. Since then there has been a constant progression of better and better seed production for better and better yields through genetics. Enter GMO (genetically modified organisms); 250 bushels to the acre corn yields are now possible and rising.

There are currently dozens of different corn seed available for sandy soil, clay soil, thin soil, thick soil, dry soil, wet soil, insect resistant, stand ability (wind), early maturing, late maturing. There was drought this year in parts of the Midwest. My Iowa farmer friends could not believe many of them still produced 140 or 150 bushel corn. Thirty years ago it would have been zero. Drought resistant seed saved them and us as consumers because of GMOs. I have read accounts of famines being averted in dry areas of Africa because of genetically modified seeds being more drought resistant.

Currently there is no record, no record of anybody being harmed by GMOs. However, there is a constant barrage of government and other wacko groups trying to find fault with essential achievements. Picture this: Corn went from $2 a bushel in the '90s to $7 the last few years because of ethanol. Grain farmers loved it, livestock guys hated it as should we. Bacon went from $2.50 a pound to $6 a pound. I never thought it was smart to burn our food in our gas tanks. Now just imagine how much bacon or any other grain food would cost if we had 50 bushel to the acre corn again? Even milk and eggs would go crazy.

I noticed the local anti-GMO group first wanted labeling and now are seeking a GMO-free Verde Valley. Good luck on that. Everything from apple trees to dogs to cattle or pigs is genetically modified to produce the kind of product the market wants and the price it wants. More fat, less fat, this taste or that taste, etc.

Livestock production is also under constant attack by groups such as HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) and PETA. They represent their agency as animal welfare when it really is the total end to meat consumption. In reality, American food animals are the best cared for possible. That's the only way they produce what they do. The radicals have a vision of one chicken, one pig and one cow grazing on a grassy hillside. The only thing is half the world will starve and the other half will have a heck of a time paying for what food there is.

Here's the challenge people: Don't be a low information decision maker or voter. You must have the motivation to seek out real truths on these subjects, then you must have the wisdom to recognize it when you find it. Check with the American Farm Bureau Federation or the Iowa Farm Bureau for dozens of articles from scientists, professors and agronomists on these subjects. Maybe even visit a livestock or grain farm.

Phil Hillman


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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, February 2, 2014
Article comment by: Miss N Piggy

Best breakfast I ever ate was at a small cafe in the middle of Iowa farm country.

I think the pig farms that were getting a bad rap in the news were back east, with the one in DC being the most polluting.

Posted: Saturday, February 1, 2014
Article comment by: Phil Hillman

It is safe for me to say to you Elin Heard that you know nothing of the conditions of a hog farm. For the record I am Phil's son and was a hog farmer for ten years in Iowa. On our family farm we produced around 10,000 head per year. Taking care of the hogs 7 days a week I assure you the conditions were fine.

Posted: Friday, January 31, 2014
Article comment by: John Hall

Poor ol' Phil Hillman...so full of facts and figures to back his faulty theories and assumptions...so blinded by the lies told by the agro-chemical industry, he needs a white cane. This whole subject is idiotic to even discuss. Either you care about the earth and what kind of food you feed your children, or you care only about how well your Monsanto stock is doing. Phil has obviously been watching his stock grow in value while children eat poisons and the earth dies. A former Monsanto executive now runs the FDA, and a former Monsanto lawyer sits on the Supreme Court. We live in a corporatocracy, Phil. Monsanto controls itself, monitors the safety of the poisons it produces, and writes the laws to protect itself from liability of any kind. Nobody but Monsanto employees are even allowed to test its 'patented' seeds and toxic chemicals. If you don't understand this, Phil...if you're unaware of how this whole system works, we'll forgive your ignorance. If, on the other hand, you do understand and don't care...you belong in prison alongside the CEOs of Monsanto, Syngenta, and all the other corporations poisoning Mother Earth with impunity.

Posted: Friday, January 31, 2014
Article comment by: GMO free and feeling great!

Let me guess Phil, your Monsanto stock has gone down in value?

Looks like we are not buying your sales pitch.

If I were you, I'd sell!

Posted: Thursday, January 30, 2014
Article comment by: Tom Babbitt

I studied botany at NAU. I had an internship at the Transition Zone Horticultural Institute. I ran the old teaching greenhouse at NAU for a couple of semesters. I helped bring David Austin Roses to market in New York. I have heard this information from multiple individuals whom I deem to be credible and forthright. Regardless of anybodys inability to find reference to this incident I believe it to be fact.

Posted: Thursday, January 30, 2014
Article comment by: William Schramm

One of the most popular natural products used to promote sleep has been for many years the essential amino acid L-tryptophan, which is a precursor to the body's production of serotonin.

In the early 90s tryptophan supplements were abruptly withdrawn from the market after it was shown that users could develop a rare autoimmune blood disease, eosinophilia.

Further studies showed that only one source of marketed tryptophan was responsible, produced by Japanese company Denko Showa, who used genetically engineered bacteria to produce it. This process was terminated and the tryptophan marketed today is safe.

Posted: Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Article comment by: The Facts

2013 GMO Media Fact Sheet:

91% of Americans polled want GMOs labeled, a right already enjoyed by 40% of the world’s population in 49 countries.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not require independent safety studies of genetically engineered foods.

No long-term safety studies exist on either the safety or benefits of GMO ingredients.

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) urges all doctors to prescribe no-GMO diets for their patients.

Many physicians now prescribe non-GMO diets, and people are getting better from a variety of disorders. Livestock taken off GMOs are also getting better. These same disorders, (e.g. reproductive, immune, and GI tract) are the ones that the AAEM identified as common among lab animals fed GMOs, and their incidence has soared in the US population since GMOs were introduced.

What is a GMO? Bacteria and/or virus genes that are forced into the DNA of crops like soy and corn. 80% are engineered to withstand normally deadly doses of herbicides, primarily Monsanto’s Roundup.

GMO corn varieties are also engineered to produce their own toxic insecticide that breaks open the stomach on insects and kills them.

GMO plants either drink poison or produce poison. Roundup and insecticide, now found in the blood of pregnant women and their unborn children, have been found to be extremely dangerous.

The only human feeding study ever conducted showed transference of foreign DNA into human gut bacteria.

Non-GMO labels are the fastest growing private label claim.

Posted: Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Article comment by: Oh Phil, Phil, Phil

Hybrid vs GMO.
Most everyone doesn't have a problem with a hybridization of a say tall corn to a thick-stalked corn to produce a better crop. Man has been doing this kind of selection breeding for centuries.

What most people don't like is the process of GMO. It takes a tomato and interjects a gene of a pig to produce a tomato with a thicker skin so it won't bruise during shipment. It's this unnatural inter-species product that has those of us against GMO worried for the health of mankind. This is a very un-natural way of breeding. Monsanto has claimed intellectual property on many seeds. Their plan is to own all seeds! Tell me what is wrong with a company that refuses any scientists to obtain and study their seeds if there is nothing wrong with the seeds? What's to stop companies from breeding a human with a strength gene of say a gorilla to come up with a super strong soldier? For the God-fearing of you should be very concerned.

Educate yourself people!

Posted: Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Article comment by: Phil...Do The Research

Phil, pull your head out of the sand. If GMO is so safe, then why are doctors now prescribing non-gmo diets? Why is Monsanto spending millions of dollars fighting gmo labeling. Why are there so many countries that ban gmo? Why do rats that are fed gmo diets develope tumors, gastrointenstinal problems and leaky gut syndrome (Google 'GMO Rats'). Why the sudden rise in these types of health issues in people? Why won't Monsanto test the health affects on humans past ninety days?

Anyway, the list goes on and on. I gave up gmos one year ago and have an incredible amount of energy, my gastrointenstinal problems went away over night and I dropped about ten pounds within two weeks of getting of that toxic garbage!

For those that like to do their own research, I would suggest the following links:






Unfortunately, many people still don't want to know the truth about GMO. I suppose they'd rather live in their dreamland in the sand than believe the studies. So, if your're one of those folks who still want your GMO, please...Don't listen to me.

Keep eating your GMO. Feed them to your kids. Heck, the Monsanto employees don't eat GMO (on record) and have a 100% organic cafeteria at their corporate headquarters (do the research). Hmmmm.. For those who choose to stay asleep, then by all means, take the blue pill. Remain in the matrix. Avoid the "conspiracy nuts." Nothing to see here. Move along...

Posted: Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Article comment by: Diane Shirley

No to GMO. Majority of Americans (and the world) do not want them. Get ready for bankruptcy Monsanto. Not this year and not the next, but not too far away.

Posted: Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Article comment by: To Mr Babbit

Please don't spread rumors. Crossing genes in plants is no different than people of mixed races and is a natural process that takes place in nature and there can be problems there as well. here are 2 exerts about the California Celery attack in the early 1990's. It was a natural hybrid that caused the problem not a GMO.
"Plants produced by classical breeding are not subject to review by federal agencies, even though
some varieties produced by traditional methods have been spectacularly toxic. One conventional celery variety
caused chemical burns on the arms of farm workers as they harvested it (Berkley et al. , 1986), and grocery
workers have also suffered chemical burns from exposure to conventional celery varieties (Seligman et al., 1987
Fleming, 1990 Finkelstein
et al. , 1994). (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1751-7915.2009.00088.x/pdf)
"Another example of the risks of traditional breeding is celery. Celery naturally contains a photoactive toxicant, that is, a chemical that becomes toxic when it hits sunlight. There was a case in California where a new variety of celery was bred that, unknown to the people who bred it, had high levels of this toxicant in it. It was planted. People went along, harvested this, and the workers who harvested this came out with a very severe skin rash. Why? Because it had the high level of toxicant resulting from the commercial, normal kind of breeding. So the normal kind of breeding can produce risks, just as any other genetic or other kinds of breeding can produce risks." (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/harvest/interviews/hotchkiss.html)

Posted: Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Article comment by: elin heard

Phil, What can I say? First let me address your comment about the free market, which is a joke. Farms are heavily subsidized, which is good, as we all need to eat. That's the main reason for inexpensive food, which we pay for with tax dollars.

One of the reasons that GMO foods are not good for anyone is that the very expensive seeds are Roundup Ready, which means that the plants can be hosed with poisons, which in theory kill the weeds and not the crop plants. Unfortunately, this has back fired as the weeds have developed resistance. The increased pesticide use has led to the deaths of many animals and insects and the run off is really toxic. Also, the pesticides kill off plants that wild animals eat, leading to starvation of these animals. This pesticide use creates imbalance in nature.

Please read Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring, then read Diet For A New America. Maybe after that you could visit a hog farm, only trouble is that conditions are so bad that no visitors are allowed.
Millions of animals are mistreated and kept in horrible conditions and fed hormones and antibiotics and bad feed in order to produce cheap food. Humans who eat these animals also eat what the animal has eaten. Additionally, a flesh based diet is not good for a person and leads to a hugely increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and stroke.
In the face of these facts, many Americans choose to eat a diet heavy in animal products and pay the price with their health. These sick americans then depend on pharmaceutical drugs to keep them alive, rather than adopt a healthy diet, light in animal products and a regimen of daily exercise.

Posted: Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Article comment by: miss informed

Here is an excerpt of an article that was published by Global Research, The article in its entirety is work a read.
Why Non-GMO Seeds Are More Profitable

The Modern Farmer article, called The Post GMO-Economy, makes an excellent case for farmers dumping GMO. Some of the interesting facts the magazine uncovered include:
◾ The cost of growing one acre of non-GMO corn was $680.95, the cost of growing an acre of GMO corn was $761.80 according to Aaron Bloom. That means it costs $80.85 more an acre to raise GMO corn.
◾ GMO seeds can cost up to $150 a bag more than regular seeds.
◾ The market for non-GMO foods has grown from $1.3 billion in 2011 to $3.1 billion in 2013, partially because some Asian and European countries don’t want GMO seeds.
◾ Grain dealer Clarkson Grain pays farmers an extra $2 a bushel for non-GMO soybeans and an additional $1 a bushel for non-GMO corn.
◾ The market for non-GMO seed is growing. Sales at Spectrum Seed Solutions, which sells non-GMO seed, have doubled every year for the last four years. Sales at another company that markets non-GMO seeds, eMerge Genetics of West Des Moines, Iowa, have increased by 30 percent a year for five years.
◾ Spectrum Seed Solutions president Scott Odle thinks that non-GMO corn could be 20 percent of the market in five years.

Bloom, the farm consultant, said planting convention corn can save farmers an average of $81 per acre per season. That’s a difference of $81,000 for a farm of 1,000 acres

Posted: Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Article comment by: Guess it's too basic for ya

Well, what're ya gonna do eh? If simple common sense doesn't register, that genetically modifying what nature has created as food just isn't a wise idea, no amount of science or anyone's experience with it will make the slightest bit of difference to you anyway.

It's just way over your head.

Please choose wisely everyone! It'll always be possible to get around frankenfood, no matter how they rig the laws, you'll just have to be more resourceful.

Posted: Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Article comment by: Tom Babbitt

Psoralen-induced burns on farm workers picking gmo celery.

One of the first GMO mistakes was tweaking the psoralen gene in celery as a natural pesticide in 1990.

Merely touching this toxic GMO celery in the supermarket and walking outside produced a rash in people exposed to sunlight.

There is no need to GMO (I'm speaking of trans-genetics) foods nature has provided all the genes we need

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