Kiley: Agricultural Extraordinaire

Hello readers of “Opposite of Ordinary”! My name is Kiley and I am Leah’s friend and former roommate. I am currently a senior at Purdue University pursuing a degree in Agronomy. For anyone who doesn’t know, agronomy is soil science and crop production. That leads me to what Leah asked me to write about. Today we’re going to talk about GMOs. AHHHHHHHH OOHHHH NOOOO THE HOORRRRRORRRR. I know what some of you are thinking; GMOs are Frankenfood, cancerous, basically the scourge of the Earth. Well I’m here to tell you that it’s a crock of shit.

First off, we have to clear up a misconception in terminology. Biotechnology is the large sector of science that the processes used to make genetically modified foods resides over. GMOs or Genetically Modified Organisms have been occurring for thousands and thousands of years. It is a natural process! Things you wouldn’t be able to eat were it not for genetic modification: corn, bananas, bread, etc. All of these food products would make you sicker than a dog if they hadn’t gone through this natural process over thousands of years (with some human help). One great example is the sweet potato. Jan Kreuze, from the National Potato Center, led a study that found soil bacteria in 291 varieties of sweet potatoes. That means that the bacteria from the soil was naturally inserted into the DNA of the sweet potato. I’m no expert, but the sweet potato is considered an extremely healthy vegetable; even with the insertion of foreign DNA. Do you wanna know why that is so? Because genetic modification is GOOD. Modification through biotechnology is GOOD.

Not only does it reduce pesticide use, increase yield (which helps keep food prices low), and help American farmers; biotechnology is being used to feed children in developing countries. White rice is a staple food in many foreign countries. But it provides little nutritional value. Children in developing countries lack vitamin A in their diets which can lead to blindness and even death. Golden rice is trying to solve that. It is genetically engineered to contain beta-carotene, which the body makes into vitamin A. This rice could SAVE LIVES. But it isn’t being put into use because of anti-GMO campaigns. These campaigners consider it a victory that it’s not being used, when children are dying. It may just be me, but that’s something we should all be ashamed of. That is why I study agronomy and want to use my knowledge to educate others who don’t know much about the industry I love. Please visit goldenrice.org to learn more and get involved!

This is not entirely GMO related, but another misconception that lies heavy on my ag loving heart is the misunderstanding of the meat industry. People believe their meat are being pumped full of antibiotics and hormones and then promptly sold to be eaten. First of all, when an animal is given any substance that substance HAS to be out of the animal’s system before it can go to slaughter. Secondly, everyone uses antibiotics! Even me. Even you. Even the damn pope! If it is okay for you to use antibiotics when you’re sick, why can’t it be given to a sick animal? I consider it cruel to keep an animal suffering when something as simple as an antibiotic can make them better. On the matter of hormones, many animals aren’t affected by hormones. When a company tells you their chicken or pork products do not contain hormones, they are lying to you. Those animals aren’t even given hormones in the first place! Those companies play to consumer’s fear of something that isn’t even happening!

I hope that all of you have learned something today and walk away a little more enlightened. GMOs aren’t something to be afraid of. They are the future of American agriculture and the key to feeding a growing world. If I haven’t sold you on this or you want more information please watch the video below. It has a lot of great info and pictures!

Thanks for reading,

Kiley

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