Farmers host GMO conversations

gmodBy Oregon Farm Bureau

FB hosted two GMO community conversations this week

These days, almost everyone has at least heard of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and knows that passions run high on the issue. But few truly understand what they are.

Because so much fear and misinformation abounds on biotechnology, Oregon Farm Bureau decided to host two community conversations for Farm Bureau voting members to learn more about GMOs and how to best communicate the facts on the issue. The guest speaker was Dr. Kevin Folta, a professor with the Horticultural Sciences Dept. & the Graduate Program in Plant Molecular & Cellular Biology at the University of Florida.

Some key takeaways from Dr. Folta’s talk:

– The scientific consensus based on 18 years of research and scrutiny from many different sources is that GMOs are safe for consumption.
– In the 18 years biotechnology has been commercially available, there have been no cases of illness or death caused by GMOs.
– Only nine GMO products are commercially available now: corn, soybeans, alfalfa, cotton, squash, sugar beets, papaya, canola, and most recently potatoes
– Main traits of GMOs: resistance to viruses, insects, and herbicides
– Misinformation and fear developed from a lack of communication over the years about what GMOs are, the science behind it, and what they can and can’t do.
– It is essential that the agriculture community help explain what GMOs are and their benefits to society and the environment in order to change the negative public perception.
– In talking about the safety of GMOs with someone who opposes it, you have to acknowledge the other person’s concerns before sharing science-based facts.

“I really appreciated the discussion between Dr. Folta and the folks who had questions and concerns about biotechnology,” said Gail Dettwyler of Marion County Farm Bureau. “I would like to get the truth out about what GMOs really are to my friends and family, and this was really informative.”

Both events this week attracted crowds of about 40 people. They were organized by OFB 1st VP Peggy Browne (and others) and hosted by OFB and Marion, Clackamas, Yamhill, Linn, and Lane County Farm Bureaus.

– Want to learn more about the benefits of GMOs to share with others? Visit OFB’s GMO info page

– Note: Farm Bureau is Pro-Agriculture and believes that ALL types of farming and rancher are needed and valuable: organic, conventional, biotech, and no-tech. It should be up to the farmers and ranchers to decide what production type(s) and commodities are best for their own operations and customer bases.

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