Farmer responds

Peace Country farmer responds to letters about GM and GMO crops.

After reading some of the letters about GM crops, I feel compelled to respond.

There is a lot of talk about GM and GMO products and as a Peace Country farmer, I would not even use the word ‘product.’

The seeds used on our farms are a technological advantage to combat weeds and pests, and there is no evidence that the GM component actually carries from the seed through to the processed product.

GM crops have become an essential part of many Canadian grain farms in the past 15 years and we currently use GM crops as part of our crop cycle, which is usually three years of a non-­GMO cereal grain to one year of GM canola.

The technology used in our Roundup Ready Canola has helped us to drastically reduce weeds in our fields, resulting in a cleaner crop; while at the same time reducing the use of additional chemical herbicides during our three years of growing wheat, barley or oats.

Summer fallowing, which was suggested as an effective alternative to herbicides in crop production, is a very outdated practice that is not economical to use in today’s agricultural environment.

Over the years, we have been struggling to build up soil organic matter with zero till and to mitigate soil erosion by wind and heavy rains: one year of summer fallow will counteract years of no till efforts.

As a Peace Country farmer, I am looking forward to new breakthroughs researchers are generating to make more Genetically Modified seeds available to Canadian farmers to combat the many weeds, pests and diseases which threaten our crops year in and year out, so all farmers have more choices and can contribute to the world’s food supply in a sustainable manner.

Irmi Critcher