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[SANET-MG] farmers prefer drugs over food
The article below suggests that US farmers are eager to grow
pharmaceutical crops and have been convinced that opposition to such
planting is groundless. Recent actions by USDA and FDA suggest that they
will not object to pollution of the US food supply with drugs and
vaccines.The farmers may have been told that exported drug and vaccine
polluted foods will be welcomed worldwide!
12 Jan 2005 US farmers eager to grow "bio-pharm" crops back...
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
By Christopher Doering
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Reuters) - More than 90 percent of 578 U.S. farmers
surveyed said corn, soybeans and other crops consumed by humans should
be genetically modified to produce drugs for ailments such as AIDS,
according to a Reuters poll released on Tuesday.
Some U.S. food makers and environmental groups have demanded a ban on
new "bio-pharm" crops until stricter federal controls are put in place
to prevent windblown pollen from contaminating crops for human or animal
The biotech industry has turned to a variety of plants, including corn
and soybeans, as a cheaper way to manufacture ingredients to treat
ailments such as Alzheimer's disease and cancer.
In a Reuters straw poll, 91 percent said they favored using traditional
food crops to produce pharmaceuticals.
"If you can grow them to eat, why can't you grow them to use for
pharmaceutical products," said Doug Krieger, an Indiana corn and soybean
The 578 farmers responded voluntarily to the poll from about 4,000 in
attendance at the annual meeting of the nation's largest farm group. The
straw poll did not attempt to weight responses by state, size of farm or
The survey also found 51 percent of growers questioned are interested in
planting pharmaceutical crops, which are expected to command premium
prices. Another 31 percent said they would need more information about
costs, consumer acceptance, and health and safety issues before deciding
whether to plant.
BIO-CORN PLANTINGS TO RISE
The United States is the world's largest grower of gene-altered crops,
growing billions of bushels each year of corn, cotton and soybeans
designed to repel pests or to withstand a broadly effective herbicide
known as Roundup.
The Reuters poll found respondents planned to boost their Roundup Ready
corn plantings in 2005 by about 34.7 percent. Total acres of another
gene-spliced crop, BT corn, would increase by 15.9 percent, according to
the farmers surveyed.
In 2004, the USDA estimated that 45 percent of U.S. corn was
gene-spliced, up from 40 percent a year earlier.
The European Union has begun to allow imports of some bio-crops after
lifting a five-year ban put in place in 1998.
Still, European consumers remain largely opposed to the crops with
concerns about long-term impacts on human health and the environment.
"It is safe. Everything the critics are saying is based on speculation,
but the facts show the crops are safe," said Bob Stallman, Farm Bureau
Stallman added that the U.S. agencies overseeing bio-crops - the Food
and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency and USDA - have
research verifying the safety of biotech plantings and have imposed
safeguards such as buffer zones around fields of gene-altered plants.
Roundup Ready is a popular herbicide produced by Monsanto Co., the main
developer of bio-crops engineered to withstand the effects of the weed
killer. Fewer weeds mean higher yields and less price dockage when
farmers sell their grain.
A Monsanto spokesman said two weeds - rye grass and mare's tail - are
resistant to Roundup. In December, a single case of ragweed also was
found to be resistant in central Missouri.
The Reuters poll found that 31 percent of farmers have noticed weed
resistance in their Roundup Ready crops. Many farmers regularly rotate
crops and change the herbicides they apply to reduce the chance of
"I'm always concerned about it... because the potential is there to
develop resistance with any prolonged use of herbicide," said Steve
Nelson, a Nebraska corn and soybean grower who has not seen resistance
to Roundup on his farm.
Environmental groups worry that increasing amounts of chemicals will
have to be applied to crops to keep up with weeds that become harder to
Source: Reuters News
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