GMO corporate giants when GE crops are found growing in their fields with
no signed contract (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation 2003; Beingessner
2003). Further, these corporations have developed so-called killer genes that
essentially cause a seed to commit suicide, so farmers cannot save seeds and
plant them the following year. This type of control is immoral, as corpo-
rate profits may jeopardize our global food supply (Rural Advancement
Foundation International 2003).
The Pesticide Action Network notes, “While many potential human
health and environmental impacts are associated with these crops, test-
ing has been remarkably inadequate” (Pesticide Action Network of North
America 2003). With no long-term safety studies, we've introduced these
new genetically altered materials to our environment and into our bodies.
We simply do not have the facts on GMOs, yet we are currently conducting
a massive experiment on you, me, the rest of society, and our ecosystems.
Organic agriculture and buying organic food are the only way to avoid
being part of this global experiment, being driven by the profit motives
of several agribusiness and pharmaceutical corporations. A consultant for
the biotech industry summed up the situation with an eerie premonition:
“The hope of the industry is that over time the market is so flooded [with
GMOs] that there's nothing you can do about it, you just sort of surrender”
(Cummins 2001). The broader question is whether farmers will have to
admit defeat to the powerful agribusiness interests that control much of
industrial agriculture; this is determined by farmers' economic status.
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Ad dicted to Government Subsidies
The treadmill of production and reliance on technology also explain farm-
ers' heavy reliance on farm subsidies. The U.S. Farm Bill authorizes market-
ing assistance loans and loan deficiency payments (LDPs) that are available
to farmers who grow eligible commodities: wheat, corn, grain sorghum,
barley, oats, soybeans, minor oilseeds, rice, and cotton (USDA-FSA 1998).
LDPs allow farmers to sell their eligible commodities for the loan rate if it is
higher than the county-posted price for an eligible commodity, thus provid-
ing minimum security for farmers. Due to extremely low commodity prices
(corn is currently selling at about $2 per bushel, although it costs nearly $3 to
grow it), farmers must depend on government subsidies, and these subsidies
mean that corporations can purchase corn cheaply for use in their various
products, such as corn syrup in soda pop and snacks, to produce ethanol,
and to feed the millions of livestock that Americans consume (Pollan 2002).
When he signed the 2002 Farm Bill, President George W. Bush stated,