This is more than merely a missed opportunity. Our wheat supply already suffers from a lack of biotechnology. Many farmers are switching away from wheat because it’s a less predictable crop than corn and soybeans, which have been improved so much by genetic modification.

On my own farm in North Dakota, we’ve been cutting back every year on wheat. We used to grow it on as much as 80 percent of our acreage. Now we’re down to about 10 percent, mainly because we prefer the advantages of biotechnology in corn and soybeans. My neighbors have been doing the same.

Convincing Americans about the advantages of biotechnology never has been the main issue. The United States, along with Canada and most of the Western hemisphere, already has accepted biotechnology as an excellent tool option for farmers and consumers.

It’s time for the rest of the world to catch up.

When news of the GM wheat discovery hit the media, our buyers in Japan and Korea immediately suspended purchases and promised to test samples. Europe said that it would increase its testing of wheat as well.

They almost certainly won’t find anything: It looks highly unlikely that any GM wheat entered the food supply. Korea’s first test results, announced on Monday, appeared to confirm this.

Yet the time to commercialize GM wheat is past due. The sooner everyone stops fussing over a safe and healthy product, the sooner farmers and consumers all over the world will benefit.

Terry Wanzek is a wheat, corn and soybean producer in North Dakota.  He serves as a ND State Senator and volunteers as a board member for Truth About Trade & Technology (www.truthabouttrade.org).

 

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