Terri Swarthout's picture
As a facebook user,anti-gmo groups & info are all over the place. I tried to find a pro-gmo group to "like" & cannot find one. Fortunately, I understand the need for gmo's but so many people are full of anxiety, worry, & concern. The common person needs to be educated not only on gmos but what exactly is in the "natural" & "organic" foods that they promote. How come I have to search for pro-gmo info but anti-gmo false info is abundant even when not looking for it?

A:Expert Answer

Based on your question, it seems that you are skeptical about the intentions and awareness of those of us who have dedicated our lives to researching and developing GM crops. I’d like to address your question based on my personal experience.

 

I grew up in southeastern Arkansas, in a small farming town named Dumas, where my grandfather, uncles and cousins were and still are farmers. I worked in the cotton fields every summer, scouting for insect pests so farmers knew when to apply insecticides. If the pest population was bad enough, farmers would spray insecticides two or more times a week. I left Dumas to go to college and eventually earned a PhD in microbiology.

 

After college, I went to work in the biotech industry. I remember, as Bt cotton was going through the regulatory process at USDA, my family kept asking when that product would be available because that meant fewer pesticide applications and less insecticide exposure to our family members and our farmworkers.

 

This product has a great impact on my understanding of my place in the world—to provide tools to help my family and other farmers. I applied for a job at Monsanto because I believed that using good science is the best solution to solve agriculture problems like controlling weeds, insect pests and plant disease. Monsanto was the leader in developing GM crops, and I wanted to be part of it.

 

I’ve been at Monsanto for 17 years, and the progress made in agriculture is staggering compared with what I experienced in the 1980s. Without the ability to use GM crops, farmers would still need to control weeds, insect pests and disease. For most, that would mean quitting farming or going back to applying pesticides two or three times per week.

 

Over Christmas this year, my uncle and I were having a conversation about activists trying to get rid of GMOs. He asked why anyone would rather eat food sprayed time and time again with pesticides, instead of using GM technology. To someone like him, who has farmed with and without GMO crops, it just didn’t make sense. I agree. For me, technology is the answer, not the problem.

A:Expert Answer

Since Facebook pages are started by organizations based on their own agenda or by people based on a personal passion, it shouldn’t be surprising that agriculture and segments of agriculture seem outnumbered there. Remember, farmers are less than 2 percent of the general public. At the same time, there are some great pages that support agriculture in general and GMOs specifically. Here are some of my favorite ones that speak to GMOs/biotech crops:

 

More Pages/Groups That Support GMOs/Biotech:

 

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Comments

WillingToListen's picture

Search for the terms 'pro gmo', there is also Celebrate GMO

Ben Schaefer's picture

On facebook try GMOLOL and GMO skeptic forum for discussions. They are both full of useful links.

Rickinreallife's picture

Here are some I have bookmarked:

Biofortified [http://www.biofortified.org/] -- Blog community operated by Ph.D. candidate at University of Wisconsin. This site tends to take a critical analysis of anti-gmo literature with frequent blog posts by guest experts and a forum where numerous current topics in biotech, particularly with application to agriculture, are discussed. It claims to be funded completely by grants and donations, not by industry contributions. There are frequent article contributions and participation by persons who practice in the field of genetics/biotech academically and professionally . This site also compiles a bibliography of peer reviewed studies in its "Genera" database.

http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/ -- A site based at George Mason University. It provides a daily collection and archive of news articles and editorials on the topics of human genetics/health and ag biotech, as well as articles written by the site's operator. It is particularly focused on media coverage of biotech and often is critical of how the media handles reporting of biotech related events and controversies. Although a minority of articles, this site does post articles by authors critical of genetic engineering. The site maintains that it accepts no funding from industry, and is funded completely by foundation support and individual contributions.

http://appliedmythology.blogspot.com/ -- A site managed by Steve Savage, a career plant pathologist. Most of the posted articles are written by Mr. Savage himself and generally provide scientific and philosophical comment on biotech applications in agriculture and related public policy debates.

http://academicsreview.org/ -- A site created by Bruce Chassey of the University of Illinois and David Tribe a professer and lecturer at the University of Melbourne. Both are leading spokesmen for the benefits and safety of biotech applications in food production. The mission of the site is to "test popular claims about biotechnology against peer reviewed science." So far, the site has not been very active but it does have a thorough point-by-point analysis and rebuttal of Genetic Roullete by Jeffrey Smith.