Yet it’s a piece of propaganda–a catchy phrase whose slickness aims to cover up a lie.

The authentic brand name for corn that resists 2,4-D is Enlist. That’s the moniker its makers have chosen as they await approval from federal regulators to sell it as a commercial product. This permission is almost certain to come soon, but the special-interest groups that battle biotechnology are trying to frighten the public into last-minute hysterics.

So they’ve contrived a phony name that doubles as an epithet.

As a farmer who would welcome a new tool to control weeds, I resent this attack. My job is to grow safe, healthy, and inexpensive food–and a corn that resists 2,4-D would be a valuable addition to any farmer’s toolbox of options.

It’s bad enough that the ideological foes of biotechnology want to ban a helpful variety of corn. Yet my irritation with them runs much deeper. As a Marine veteran who served in Vietnam, I loathe this reckless tactic of slurring Enlist as “Agent Orange corn.”

The Vietnam War was a difficult moment for the United States. More than 50,000 Americans died in a cause that split our country at the time and remains contentious today. Were you for the war or against it? Did you fight in it or dodge the draft? Whenever the Vietnam War comes up in conversation, we risk opening old wounds.

Yet the enemies of agricultural progress have adopted a plan to try to manipulate our emotions by raising the specter of a controversial chemical that is a part of our past and will have no place in our future.

This isn’t a well-meaning attempt to educate the public or debate in good faith. It’s the deliberate strategy of scoundrels.

Bill Horan grows corn, soybeans and other grains with his brother on a family farm based in North Central Iowa.  He served in the US Marine Corp in Vietnam.  Bill volunteers as a board member for Truth About Trade & Technology.  www.truthabouttrade.org