Friday, January 10, 2014

Farming Friday: GMO's & Cheerios

So I realized at the end of 2013 that a good portion of my blog had become a mommy blog.  
And don't get me wrong that's OK, because that is what season of life I am in however I wanted to be sure that in 2014 I made an effort to concentrate on farming and agriculture as well.  

Agriculture is my passion, it runs deep in me.  I mean really deep!  William & I are the 10th generation in each family to be involved in production agriculture.  I started this blog to help others understand how our food is grown and to connect with a farm family.  I also wanted a place to share my views and opinions on current issues facing American farmers and ranchers.  

So each Friday on the blog I am going to focus on farming or an issue dealing with agriculture.  

This week's issue...GMO's & Cheerios.

Waylon & Wyatt love Cheerios.  They don't care what the Cheerios are made of...they love the simple taste.  In our house they are eaten more as a snack than as a breakfast cereal.  I was caught off guard recently when General Mills announced that Cheerios will no longer contain GMO ingredients.  Some folk think they have won a revolution of sorts. I personally am chuckling.  Why would I chuckle?  I have 3 reasons why I am chuckling over this...

1. because the number one ingredient in Cheerios is oats and there are NO GMO oats! 
2.  the fact that General Mill's VP of global communications, Tom Forsythe, stated that  ”It’s simple. We did it because we think consumers may embrace it.”  That comment tells me that marketing played a roll in their decision as well.  
3. Margaret Smith, professor at Cornell University stated the product will be nutritionally and chemically the same as it was prior. 

So what are we gaining by using non-GMO crops?

Nothing... in my opinion.  General Mills is feeding the hype and creating more questions than answers for consumers, especially since they have no plans to make any other cereals GMO-Free.  Supermarket shelves are already full of misinformation leading shoppers to believe that this product is nutritionally better than that one and so on.  

Now let's look a little closer at GMO's or genetically modified organisms.  Below is an infographic from CommonGround that does a great job of explaining the talk vs. the truth.  


So do we grow GMO's on our farm?  Yes, many of the crops we grow are from GM seed.  Why do we choose to use GM seed? For us using GM seed allows us to increase our harvest amounts without increasing our farm size, spray & fertilize our fields less and utilize no till or low till planting methods.   

Do you have more questions about GMO's?  Please feel free to ask them!  I will be happy to help you understand when, where, how & why farmers may choose to use GM seeds.  

For our family Cheerios will still be a staple but not because they are labeled "Non-GMOs" but because we like the taste.  

Caci