U.S. wheat industry “petitions” for biotech

January 8, 2009

 It’s been nearly five years since Monsanto Co. walked away from plans to commercialize wheat genetically altered to tolerate herbicide treatments.
    But leaders of the U.S. wheat industry continue to push for someone – anyone – to bring them new wheat techonology that can boost bushel counts.
    The National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) said Thursday it was sending out more than 21,000 “petitions” to wheat producers around the United States to measure and document the level of support for biotech trait commercialization. NAWG hopes to convince biotech companies there is enough support to back what has been a controversial idea – bringing biotech to bread.
    Grower responses are requested by Jan. 19. 
    “We’re convinced the support is there. This petition will either confirm or confront that belief,” said NAWG CEO Daren Coppock.
    “By reading the petition and responding with their support, growers can help our industry show biotech companies that they are smart to make the commitment of time and resources and bring this tool to growers,” Coppock added.
    U.S. wheat acres have been declining with many farmers converting acres to other crops.
    NAWG said it the industry needs wheat that is more tolerant of drought, heat and cold, more disease resistant, and wheat that uses nitrogen more efficiently.
    Monsanto shelved its biotech wheat project in May 2004 after an outpouring of opposition by environmentalists, farmers, consumers and religious groups, as well as foreign wheat buyers. Concerns include worries about possible human health hazards, increased weed resistance and fears Monsanto is gaining control over key world crops.

Comments

The health and environmental implications of of biotech crops are unknown and will remain so for a very long time. This is far too dangerous an issue to to gamble with. Farming, like any other business should not jeopardize their long term business prospects for short term gains. As with all decisions one must weigh the possible benefits and consequences. For farmers this is simple. Greaters profits against having no wheat crop at all or a very expensive one. When all crops are grown from few strains, the genetic diversity that took millons of years to acumulate disappears for the simple reason that nobody is planting them. Every strain has it’s strengths and weaknesses. What will farmers do when a new disease afflicts this wondrous new higher yielding wheat crop? Where will they find a strain that is resistant? They may not. What will they plant in the place of wheat? The true wealth of this planet is it’s biological diversity which is being wiped out in the wild and virtually nonexistent on farms. There is very little genetic diversity on farmland as farmers opt for higher yielding strains over lower yielding strains. That is why companies like monsanto are buying up the seed banks, they want total control over your food supply. This is nothing less than a part of a larger scheme of the elite to turn a free human into a slave by controling everything essential for your survival. Most people do not realize that they are already slaves today. The water supply, food supply and land are already privatised or in the process of being so. Less than one percent of the population owns nearly half of the total wealth. And the pace of privatisation is only speeding up. Controlling the food supply is the most important part the plan. They will be able to wipe out all opposition by starving it out. When this new wheat wondercrop falls victim to some sickness, the only source for a resistant strain will be in the seed banks which companies like Monsata own. Their price for their latest resistant strain will rise due to their monopololy over the seeds and farmers profit margins will shrink. This will all lead to much higher food prices down the line for the average consumer and reduced profits for farmers. Whomever in the NAWG is responsible for the drive is knowingly or unknowingly in the pocket of Monsanto like companies.How better to win the battle they previously lost than by making it look like they are ones who are being asked to bring out this new strain and not the other way around?

Posted by A GILL | Report as abusive
 

genetically modified crops are biohazards which once unleashed into the environment turn nature on its head and poison not only the natural biogenetic cycle established for hundreds of thousands years, but also threatens the natual immune response of the humans and animals which consume the crops. independent testing has shown profound dangerous impacts on the environment and humans. longterm field tests have not been performed on gm crops to prove them ‘safe’ for people and environment. crop yields have not risen, farmer costs with gm crops have risen, superweeds have developed immunity from herbicides, and on and on. at a time when there is leapfrogging growth of serious diseases and compromised immune systems, the side effects of gm food warrant the immediate removal of gm crops from cultivation everywhere.

Posted by lois | Report as abusive
 

Hopefully it makes it off the shelf and into the toilet.

Posted by jason | Report as abusive
 

“That is why companies like monsanto are buying up the seed banks, they want total control over your food supply”

Until they take away my ability to garden, this is impossible.

Posted by drewbie | Report as abusive
 

This is actually very good news to people who care about feeding the world. We will be getting another 3 billion people on the planet by 2050 and it could level off there if living standards rise in the third world and that means demand for more food as well. Wheat and rice are the major human food grains and they have been falling behind in productivity because they are not GMO. GMO crops have been planted for >12 years on nearly 2 billion acres without any environmental or health problems. The scaremongers that are commenting on this article can’t actually tell you about a real problem that has come from the introduction of this technology. The wheat industry really needs this technology and that is why there has been this unprecedented cooperation between the world’s largest wheat exporters. I doubt that any of the people writing the negative comments are in the business of feeding the world. I am and I celebrate this

Posted by Steve Savage | Report as abusive
 

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