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Anti-GMO Seed Protest Culminates in Iowa

PHOTO: Denise O'Brien is an Iowa farmer who signed the petition asking that new versions of GMO seeds not be approved for use. Courtesy of O'Brien.
December 12. 2012
PHOTO: Denise O'Brien is an Iowa farmer who signed the petition asking that new versions of GMO seeds not be approved for use. Courtesy of O'Brien.

DES MOINES, Iowa - New generations of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are ready for approval by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But a petition with thousands of signatures urging Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to reject these new seed varieties was delivered on Tuesday to the USDA office in Des Moines.

Signers are concerned about the risks of pesticide drift and crop damage. Denise O'Brien, a longtime farmer near Atlantic who signed the petition, says the genetically engineered crops in the pipeline are potentially more dangerous because they are designed to be used in coordination with a pesticide known as 24D.

"We are out here as guinea pigs, the public is, by using these things. They are not human-tested, until they are out into the environment."

Seed companies, she says, are advancing these new products because weeds are becoming resistant to existing GMOs.

"That is exactly what's going to happen to the next generation. The corporations keep trying to dominate nature, and nature always seems to come out with weed resistance. "

O'Brien stresses that the risk of drift will cause conventional farmers to lose crops, while organic farmers will lose both their crops and their organic certification.

Dow AgroChemical says the new version of its herbicides is a drift-resistant formula that is less dangerous. O'Brien says the way to successfully fight weeds is how farmers did it for generations - with crop rotation.

More information about the controversy is at panna.org.

Richard Alan, Public News Service - IA