What is in this article?:
- GM sweet corn gaining popularity
- GM sweet corn benefits
- The market for sweet corn, the kind of corn that we buy at grocery stores and eat at home — not the corn that feeds animals, makes sugar, or blends into biofuels–is a small sliver of the corn market. Although biotech sweet corn became widely available a number of years ago, only now has it started to gain momentum as a popular consumer item.
GM sweet corn benefits
Other benefits of GM sweet corn aren’t as obvious. One of the chief advantages of biotech crops today is that they allow farmers like me to use fewer chemicals to control insects, pests and weeds. This is a benefit that consumers will experience firsthand, even if they don’t quite realize it right away. Initially, they may not even notice the complete absence of worms from corn. Over time, it may dawn on them that they haven’t spotted any of these nasty critters in a long while. We may even reach a point where consumers don’t feel a need to shuck their corn before buying it, because they’ll come to expect full and healthy kernels on the inside. Talk about a win-win.
And there is more. Farmers burn less fuel because we have to run fewer tractors through our fields. In other words, biotechnology allows us to conserve gas–a savings we can pass on to consumers–and also reduces our carbon footprint. So GM corn is also a more sustainable food source that will help us minimize the impact of farming on the environment. Everybody should hail this advance in agricultural technology.
As with any innovative ‘solution’, there are often detractors. They may be driven by fear of the unknown or in support of a personal ideology. In a war of popular perceptions, confusion can carry the day, allowing fear, ignorance and outspoken activists to distort the truth and run roughshod over the interests of consumers. In this case, people like you and me who want to eat and serve affordable, tasty, nutritious corn to our family and friends.
(For more, see: Hostility to GM crops costing Europe dearly)
Forty-plus years in retailing fresh produce has taught me that great taste, good quality and reliable supply will win over even the most ardent of naysayers, one ear at a time.
John Rigolizzo, Jr. is a fifth generation farmer, raising fresh vegetables and field corn in southern New Jersey. The family farm produces for retail and wholesale markets. John is a volunteer board member of Truth About Trade & Technology (www.truthabouttrrade.org)