Re: Round-up Ready Soybean

Steve Groff wrote:

>>>>>"What is the real cost?" You are right in stating that this is the 
question that should be asked, as it is the very essence of being a 
sustainable farmer. Granted, many pesticides have been detected in water 
(you used atrazine as an example), but how much "Roundup" has shown up in 
the White River? This was the herbicide in question, right? Indeed it would 
be very difficult, at best, to estimate the real costs or savings that 
pesticides have directly had on the health of people over the years (medical 
insurance, doctors fees, eating habits, etc. would all have to be sorted 
out). I am cautious about all the new technology, but even more cautious 
about some of the claims coming out of the anti pesticide movement.  Life 
span has increased from 50 some years to over 70 years. I don't think we can 
thank the organic movement for that because organics have supplied less than 
2% of our food in the past decades. (nothing against organic growers- I 
learn from them all I can!) There is no perfect system that we as farmers 
can employ to produce food. Organics, Sustainable,and Conventional methods 
all have there pros and cons.<<<<<

The point made about life span is a 'red herring'. Even 2000 years ago it 
was said that we 'live for 70 years, and if especially mighty for 80 years' 
(check your New Testament in the Bible if you want). So potential life span 
hasn't changed much in 2 millenia, and it is probably safe to say that 99.9% 
of agriculture was organic at that time. However, because the average life 
span has increased, mainly because of medical advances and better nutrition 
overall, particularly in infancy,  the more time we give chemicals from 
various sources a chance to kill us off with cancers and so on. Is it a 
coincidence that some childhood cancers are being linked with environmental 
toxins (presumably including pesticides) and that the EPA is sponsoring a 
confernece on this in September?

I think it is wise to be cautious. Humans tend to jump in feet first and 
think later. I am not saying we should not make full use of technological 
advances. Clearly, anyone on-line is a technophile to some extent 
(definitely me included!!). How do you 'cost' the life or the quality of 
life of a child or anyone else, young or old?

Where did the 2% figure for organic food come from? It may be true for the 
US and western Europe, but what about Africa and most of Asia? The 
percentage is likely to be much higher there, maybe approaching 100% in some 

Anton Doroszenko
(The views expressed above are my own and not that of my employer).