An Organic Dairy Farmer Speaks Up


Ed Note:  I wanted to let an organic farmer address their perspective regarding non-GMO, etc, and how they are living in this brave new world of farming. This comment was originally posted at an article entitled A Farmer Speaks up about GMO.  Read on, there is hope and some excellent links.

Along with my husband we run two small organic dairy farms in WI. So we grow all our own organic crops, corn, oats, barley, hay and pasture. We used to grow soybeans but have recently lost the rented acreage for that crop. I’ll tell you about our corn crop because that is one of the main ingredients for our cattle diets.

We must buy organic seed. We may buy non-treated non-GMO seed if no organic seed is available (We have to prove that too). A few years ago we ran short during planting and my husband sent me to a large warehouse to pick up one bag of non-gmo corn seed. I stood in this huge warehouse with thousands of bags of corn seed and was told they had no non-gmo seed and that no one bought any non-gmo seed from them. I was shocked because that meant there were no refuge acres being planted either.  I found my seed elsewhere that day. We’ve never bought seed from them before or after.

We use all organic hybrid seed for our corn crop. We use our own animal generated fertilizer, manure on all of our corn crops. We aren’t allowed to use any herbicides, and we don’t use any natural pesticides. We cultivate, which is weeding the corn by a tractor pulled machine, aptly named a cultivator. We need to do this at least twice.

Last year we couldn’t get it done the second time and then the drought came. So the corn had extra weeds and barely any rain. Somehow through God’s grace we got an ample crop of corn and were only short on hay.

Since our cows and the young stock consume all of our corn we have never tested it for GMO’s. So if there is a small amount of pollen contamination it goes unnoticed. I’m telling you this so you know that even though it’s bad for the farmers in our nations grain belt, there are some bright spots and they are growing!

There is a canola farmer in Canada who eventually won a lawsuit vs. Monsanto because of contamination with GMO’s.

Also the is this recent article from The Institute of Responsible Technology, which says farmers may stop buying GMO seed because it doesn’t produce good yields:

As farmers we are always the optimist. My hope is that the consumers will rise up and refuse to eat the GMO laden food. There is a long road to recovery from GMO damage. Some crops may never come back, but we must try.

Now, if someone can explain to me how we determine what foods are gmo and non-gmo, or update me about labeling requirements regarding gmo, perhaps I’ll finally understand what my part as a consumer needs to be.

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2 comments to An Organic Dairy Farmer Speaks Up

  • Betty

    There is no requirement for food to be labeled stating GMO or Non-GMO. This was a hot topic in California this past November. The propositin was to make food labels have to state if it was made from or included GMO products. Unfortunately, it did not pass. But, it is looking up. Someday, I really hope and pray that we can know. Until then, my garden will be as huge as I can get it and I will preserve my own organic foods.

  • Marilyn Moll

    I understand that Monsanto et al spent over $46 million to defeat the labeling issue. The ability to patent seeds is now before the Supreme Court. God help us.

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