Farmers reject GMO criticism

Lakin farmer Gary Millershaski dismisses criticism that GMOs aren't effective

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) — Tonight, the agriculture industry in Kansas is responding to a recent article in the New York Times criticizing the expected economic effects on GMOs in the United States.

The Times said its research found that “genetic modification in the United states and Canada has not accelerated increases in crop yields or led to an overall reduction in the use of chemical pesticides.”

“That is just so wrong,” said Richard Wilkins, president of the American Soybean Association. “So absolutely wrong.”

What the Times reports isn’t the personal experience of many farmers who are celebrating the impact of GMOs.

“I think that myself as many other farmers in North America can attest to, is that we are much, much more productive on our farms today than we were 20 years ago,” said Wilkins.

Farmers cite use of GMOs in the past 20 years as the reason they’ve been able to keep up with a growing population and shrinking space.

Lakin farmer Gary Millershaski plants Bt corn, a genetically modified crop. It’s only about 10 percent of his crops, but he says it dramatically cuts down on spraying pesticides.

“It actually is very effective in reducing pesticides,” he said. “Ever since they came out with the Bt corn, that has almost completely reduced spraying for corn borer.”

Farmers also say they’re seeing higher yields.

KSN’s ag expert John Jenkinson, for example, is finishing up his milo harvest today. He says he’s seeing 160 bushels per acre as opposed to 80 bushels 20 years ago.

GMOs still do face criticism, particularly from some consumer groups who argue that foods that contain GMOs should be labeled as such.