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Author: Chase Lockbeam

Chase Lockbeam

Labeling is inconsistent and sometimes misleading - there is a need to know if the product is genetically modified or not.

The Genetic Engineering Impact

It should come as no surprise that the utilization of GMOs is among the most polarized topics in American politics today. This heated debate is absolutely justified as, “Estimates suggest that as much as 80% of U.S. processed food may contain an ingredient from a GE crop, such as corn starch, high fructose corn syrup, corn oil, canola oil, soybean oil, soy flour, soy lecithin, or cottonseed oil.” (UC Biotech). The fact is, some of the largest food, farm and biotechnology companies in the US are making efforts to influence regulations set forth by the EPA, FDA, and other governmental bodies regarding genetically engineered ingredients.

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Automated farctory farm showing the crop density possible with automated watering, lighting and temperature control.

Autonomous Farms and the Future of High Tech Agriculture

There are few endowments among the human race that are as fundamental to our rise in global presence and ongoing existence as our agricultural aptitude. We quickly learned that the cultivation of field crops and livestock was far superior to the primitive nomadic lifestyle we had been living.

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Two plants: Cannabis and Barley have very different growing procedures. In this picture barley is growing in natural sunlight while cannabis grows inside in artificial light

The Very Different Approaches in Barley and Cannabis Cultivation

In the famous words of Dwight D. Eisenhower, “Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you’re a thousand miles from a cornfield.” This statement is both metaphorically spot-on and decidedly humbling as I sit in my office clicking away on the keyboard. The truth is that farming is anything but simple. For starters, every crop is unique in its ability to acclimate to various environmental conditions.

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Papaya trees in Hawaii. Most papaya in Hawaii is GMO; otherwise, there would be very little.

Genetically Modified Organisms in Agriculture – Papaya in Hawaii?

In February 2016, a study was published by Purdue University following an analysis of genetically modified crops (GMOs) in the global agriculture industry. They found that, “18 million farmers in 28 countries planted about 181 million hectares of GMO crops in 2014, with about 40 percent of that in the United States.” (Wallheimer). In 2015, for the first time since commercially grown GMOs entered the food chain, the global acreage decreased by a mere 2 million hectares. While this certainly does not represent a peak for the GMO industry, it may be the start of a plateau.

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