Independent Expert

Jennifer Schmidt

Maryland Farmer and Registered Dietician

Jennifer lives on a family farm with her husband and two children. Schmidt Farms is a very diverse farm, including grains, vegetables, hay and wine grapes in Sudlersville, Maryland. The diversity doesn’t end at their farm.

Not only does Jennifer work on the farm and manage the family’s 20-acre vineyard in addition to vineyards that belong to other producers throughout the region, but she is also a registered dietitian by trade who speaks on behalf of the International Food Information Council.

Schmidt also dedicates a good portion of her time to starting conversations about food and farming with urban consumers based on her experiences through her blog, The Foodie Farmer.  When Jennifer is able to find some spare time outside of 4-H projects with her kids, church activities and her many other responsibilities, she can be found relaxing with a good book or working on her latest scrapbooking project.

From this Expert

Posted On: Sunday, 6/14/2015 12:05 am
A: The answer to this question is, “it depends.”    First, segregation of grains can happen for any seed. Whether seed is GMO or non-GMO is not the only criteria upon which grains are needed to be segregated. This is particularly true for seeds grown for future seed. It has to be true to its genetics to be pure, regardless of whether it is GMO, non-GMO, or conventional hybrids. In the case of organics, it has to be segregated based on production methods in order to... Continue Reading
Posted On: Thursday, 5/14/2015 11:04 pm
A: Our family farm has practiced all three farming systems simultaneously – conventional, biotechnology and certified organic. These farming systems are not mutually exclusive and really require only variations in management than anything else. There is not one “philosophy” that makes a farm more sustainable than another because one must take into account the soil type, weather patterns, and growing region as important impacts toward advantages and disadvantages of what might be... Continue Reading
Posted On: Sunday, 3/01/2015 1:03 pm
A: Unfortunately, I was unable to discover any farmer’s market, brand or grocery store that openly promotes or advertises GMO foods. There are stores however, that positively discuss GMOs in our food supply and the current science surrounding the technology. Most of these statements were found either on their organic/natural foods page, or on a sustainability page.  Here are a few that I was able to find:   Wegmans   “What is Wegmans' position on GMOs?... Continue Reading
Posted On: Friday, 1/02/2015 10:50 pm
A: This is a challenging question because it starts from the premise that technology is the cause of all the ills of the world. There are many “things” that if analyzed statistically, could correlate similarly to these issues other than the GMOs you cite. Use of cell phones, HD TVs, E-readers, laptop computers, even organic food has increased in parallel to many of your concerns.   I’m not sure that I agree that the technology has been a “gaff”. Pharmaceutical... Continue Reading
Posted On: Monday, 11/24/2014 10:12 pm
A: The true cost of GMO labeling, I believe, has yet to be determined. Of the literature that I have read, none have fully considered the capitalization of infrastructure in which farmers would need to invest in order to keep genetically engineered seed segregated from non-genetically engineered seed. That’s not to say it’s not possible, we and many other farmers already do that and get paid a premium to do so. The issue is because a large percentage of genetically engineered grain... Continue Reading

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Nutrients Are Pesticides: The Dose Makes the Poison

By Jennifer Schmidt (Independent Expert) on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 15:19

Registered dietician and farmer Jennie Schmidt discusses human and plant nutrition, and how nutrients can be used as pesticides. This post is from her blog, The Foodie Farmer.
  • Safety, Health, and Nutrition
  • Science and GMO Basics
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Coexistence: Organic & GMO

By Jennifer Schmidt (Independent Expert) on Wednesday, August 6, 2014 - 17:21

Jennie Schmidt explains how organic and GM crops can coexist in agriculture.
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The Costs of GMO Labeling

By Jennifer Schmidt (Independent Expert) on Friday, April 18, 2014 - 17:55

In this article, Jennie Schmidt gives a pictorial analysis of the entire food supply chain for corn. In her analysis she shows what the true cost of GMO labelling would be, and lays out estimated costs for separating GMO from non-GMO crops and the infrastructure that would be required to do so.
  • Impact on Farms
  • Labeling
  • Government Oversight and Product Approvals
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Sulfur

3-20 lb/acre

2000 mg/kg

Powdery Mildew, spotted mite, red spider mite.

 

For comparison purposes - Vitamin D is highly toxic with an LD50 of 10 mg/kg, whereas table salt (sodium chloride) has an LD50 of 3000 mg/kg.

What is LD50?

Oral LD50: An LD50 is a standard measurement of acute toxicity that is stated in milligrams (mg) of pesticide per kilogram (kg) of body weight. An LD50 represents the individual dose required to kill 50 percent of a population of test animals (e.g., rats, fish, mice, cockroaches). Because LD50 values are standard measurements, it is possible to compare relative toxicities among pesticides. The lower the LD50 dose, the more toxic the pesticide.

A pesticide with an LD50 value of 10 mg/kg is 10 times more toxic than a pesticide with an LD50 of 100 mg/kg.

We went from milligrams per day as a recommended dietary allowance to pounds per acre to control for disease. The vastly escalated dose converted these nutrients from dietary healthfulness into effective pesticides.

You can see, although these pesticides are "natural", as in nutrients, they are still toxic. By definition, a pesticide must kill or control something. There is no such thing as a nontoxic pesticide.

Here is a good graphic that depicts the toxicity of natural versus synthetic pesticides:


Infographic; Sense About Science

If this topic is of interest to you, I recommend these excellent additional readings:

As an RD, I know these nutrients are essential for health and wellness in our diets.
As a pesticide applicator, I know these pesticides are essential for the health and wellness of my fruit and vegetable crops.

The nutrients in your multi-vitamin are not toxic but these nutrients are not edible at the pesticide dose.

The dose makes the poison.

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