I ran across a very interesting bit of information today. Here is the scoop. My one son is in the process of buying some farm ground. Since he is a young farmer with limited resources he has to fund the operation through FSA, Farm Service Agency. This is a department within the Department of Agriculture and the funding program is for those that can't get funding from conventional sources, IE; those that are leveraged over 70% and the lender of last resort. OK, have we qualified it enough yet?
So he is going through his budget, I mean they really go through everything, you have to budget even for your personal toilet paper. Anyway, he was finalizing his budget for the farm with the loan officer. He noticed that he did not budget for chemicals. Wyatt, my son, told him that he isn't going to spray as he is transitioning it over to Organics and he can't spray. He was informed that since the hay planted there is a GMO variety, that he has to spray it. So he wrote in it for $64.00 per acre for spray. I would have loved to be there as a fly on the wall, as I am sure that went over like a, well.. I don't know what, it was essentially a hell no, I am not going to spray, in the way that he described it to me. So they settled it by the officer saying, well, you still have to budget and show that you are going to spray, even if you don't. That could present a problem as he has to go through the same FSA office to get his USDA Organic certification processed. So it should be interesting how that plays out.
Here is the scam of the whole thing. In the present Farm Bill being debated and yet to be settled, they are asking for the CRP acres to be raised from the 24 million acres in the present bill to 29 million acres in the new farm bill. The CRP is short for Conservation Reserve Program. This is a program where the government essentially rents land that falls under certain criteria. Of course, the criteria sounds good, but it is simply a fancy, morally acceptable way to remove acres from production. There is not that much acreage in the program here in Utah. But in Missouri, where I have a small farm, there is a lot of acres and they are "leased" to the government for a really nice sum of money. I do not participate in any government welfare program with that farm, BTW. But I am not very smart. If I was smarter, I would have put the whole farm into the CRP program when we purchased the farm, then run it on a 10 or 12-year program. With the rent money, I could have totally paid for the farm, at now it would have been in the same condition as it is now, only it would not have cost me one red cent. All of my money would have been recouped. All legal and morally acceptable. But for me, nooo, I have to do it the hard way. I have messed with it some, rented it out to individuals for a lot less than the government pays. Now back to the topic. The GMO stuff. The number one reason why they push GMO varieties is to support the idea that we have to feed the world, the world growth is outpacing our food supply and we have to get more per acre. So we need these new GMO varieties. I can accept that idea, but were it not for the following;
Take the above-mentioned land that is taken out of production, just under one government program. This does not include the acres that are taken out of production by a farmer to cut back on production due to overproduction of the particular crops that he typically grows, IE; no market for those crops.
Then you have the next issue. For this one, we will go back to the land that my son is purchasing. It has a GMO variety of Alfalfa planted in it. The crop is coming up it's 4th. season, this year is it's 4th. year. The plant population is awful. He has no choice but to plow it up. So there is no need to spray it. Normally the land in that area will easily produce 5+ plus tons per acre per year. I doubt that he could get 1 1/2 tonnes of alfalfa this year. If he wants to up the tonnage, he would have to let the weeds grow, so they could add weight to the crop. But then it wouldn't be worth anything. Just trash.
Here is the scam. A GMO alfalfa crop will only last 3 good years, if you are lucky, you might get a 4th. year. Whereas a non-GMO variety will easily last 7 years and maybe 8 years if taken care of. The general recommendations for planting rates for a GMO variety is about 28 pounds per acre, maybe more, usually not less. A non-GMO variety will give you the same plant population with about 18 pounds per acre, but it will last two times as long. The GMO variety will usually cost almost 2 X (two times) as much as a non-GMO variety will cost. Tonnage per acre production is only about 10% more, for those 3 years. But then I lose 1 year by taking the crop out of production.
So a non-GMO variety will cost almost 1/2 as much, last two times as long and you only have to plant almost 1/2 as much seed. So tell me again, why do I want to go with GMO stuff?