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Re: transgenic isolation
Hi Jane Jewett,
The proposal for growing pharm crops provides cold comfort for organic
producers who will suffer nervous tension from the proximity of the
pharm crop. The presumption that ground and surface water will go
unpolluted from plant material in the root zone or broken from the
plants by wind, hail, browsing animals of all kinds from insects up and
breakage from farm workers and machinery is simply wrong. The proteins
such as cytokines released from plant cell debris are very very potent
at very low concentrations and tend to be well preserved in ground
water. Such considerations have been ignored in field tests but should
not ne ignored in a large planting.
Along with those considerations USDA has not been eager to provide
budget for adequate repeated field inspections.
There have been significant efforts to restrict pharm crop production to
third world countries but such efforts are unwise.
Instead of promoting a fundamentally hazardous outdoor production, the
production of the expensive products in greenhouses , isolated from
contact with ground and surface water along with wind and animals wild
animals , would be the best way to avoid future scandal and disaster.
Indeed, the expensive crop may be better protected from theft if
contained in a greenhouse. Joe Cummins
Jane Jewett wrote:
I skimmed this newsletter but read most of the "Fields of Dilemma"
article. I learned some things I did not know, such as what the actual
contamination was in the ProdiGene transgenic contamination incident
in Nebraska. It was, according to this article, two or three immature
volunteer corn plants from the transgenic crop that were run through
the combine with the subsequent soybeans.
Also, the isolation system for transgenic crops that was developed by
two Iowa farmers was most impressive. It sounds to me like it would
work. I'll just copy the description of the system for transgenic corn
Key aspects of an effective system:
• Grower holds the 2-year federal permit.
• The PMP crop is planted at least 1/4-mile (400-meter) from other
corn (establishing a “set-back” barrier to pollen drift).
• PMP crops are planted at least 21 days after other production crops
(establishing temporal pollen isolation).
• The PMPs are male-sterile transgenic lines that cannot produce pollen.
• The PMP male-sterile lines are immediately de-tasseled, and
monitored for late tassels or tassels missed during prior detasseling
• Commercial varieties are planted to pollinate the PMP variety then
to any possibility of contamination by the PMP variety. (This prevents
commercial-origin volunteers carrying PMP germplasm, even though the
PMP is a male-sterile line, has been detasseled, and has been continually
monitored for any tassel development).
• A 100-yard fallow barrier of bare earth or low ground cover is
the PMP field to aid in field cleanliness, field clean-up and monitoring.
• Separate PMP-dedicated production equipment and secure storage for
equipment is maintained in locked, access logged, and monitored
• A mass-balance system was designed to monitor grain from field to
user. It is
used to account or every gram of specialty crop material.
• Any harvest waste is incinerated and the ashes inspected and buried
• All production, shipping, and clean-up operations are logged or
dated, and witnessed by at least two individuals.
AgMRC Monthly Update . . . April 15, 2003
Volume 2, Number 6
The purpose and mission of the AgMRC is to provide independent
producers and processors with critical information to build
successful value-added agricultural enterprises. The Monthly Update
is designed to allow all those interested in value-added agriculture
an opportunity to see what was added to the AgMRC Web site in the
Markets & Industries
Food safety links and resources were added in the food industry
“Choosing and Using a Co-packer” from North Carolina State
University, is listed in the food processing section of food industry
“Fields of Dilemma: Recent Events in Biotechnology and Crop
Production” (pdf), written by staff at Ag Marketing Resource Center
and posted in the pharmaceutical industry section. Recent discoveries
in the biological sciences are providing new ways to beneficially
manipulate biological systems ranging from individual cells to entire
ecosystems. In many Midwestern states, this has been translated into
what has been described as the new biotechnological vision of
A business profile was written on West Liberty Foods, a turkey
cooperative which is also a value-added beef, pork and chicken
production facility. http://www.agmrc.org/poultry/info/westliberty.pdf
A new section on how to establish a direct market was added to the
operating a business section of business development. Economic
impacts, farmers direct market bibliography and other links are
included in this section.
New files under the commodities and products section include the
addition of turkeys to the poultry page.
http://www.agmrc.org/poultry/turkey.html. Celery was also added to
the vegetable section of the site.
“Ethanol and Cattle Worksheet” was added to the ethanol section in
corn and renewable energy. The worksheet details what a bushel of
corn will produce in terms of ethanol, co-product, etc.
An industry profile was added for the pepper section. Mild and sweet
food peppers have established themselves as staples in salads and as
integral components of almost all sectors of American national and
For more information on AgMRC or to unsubscribe from this update,
please contact Christa Hartsook at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (515)
Ag Marketing Resource Center
Ames, IA 50011-3310
Jane Grimsbo Jewett
Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture
University of Minnesota
The best manure for the land is the owner's footprint
--Aristotle, Economics (paraphrased)