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Senior Contributor

The big money behind buying organic or "NO GMO"

Rob Saik, owner of Canadian farm consultancy Agri-trend, is author of today's quotes at the Congress of the National Association of No-Tillage Farmers of Argentina that I want to share with you. Saik unveiled at his lecture the 2014 revenue numbers of Monsanto, always described as "the evil company", and the U.S. based supermarket chain Whole Foods.The revenues are quite similar.

 

"The buy organic and buy non-gmo labels now are very appealing to consumers. Mostly, they lie about the product because everything nowadays is GMO. So people are making a lot of money out of fear. Another proof is the money coming from affiliations to big NGOs such as Greenpeace," said Saik.

 

The consultant took the opportunity to do fundraising for a movie. KNOW GMO (Instead of No GMO) will be launched in the spring of 2016. It might tell the real stories of farmers using GMO in the U.S., Canada and Argentina and the benefits that it brought to commonities starting with a case in Hawai, which brought resistance to a virus on papayas. In Argentina, he might record quotes of farmers and doctors belying the accusations of other documentaries.

 

According to Saik, the idea came after he found himself answering unfounded remarks about GMO all the time and the only organization which supported him with the documentary was one Canadian province. If you want to donate for the project, you can find how at http://www.knowgmothemovie.com/.

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48 Replies
Veteran Contributor

Re: The big money behind buying organic or "NO GMO"

As long as there is organic food being bought the price of food is to cheap.  Organic is directly responsible for 78% of all Salmonila outbreaks and the othe 12% is indirectly responsible.  Meaning the 78% has bug or bird crap on it.  The other 12 was produce or other food next to organic stuff and had the bird or bug crap fall on it.  Organic means a fool is departing with thier money!!

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Highlighted
Veteran Contributor

Re: The big money behind buying organic or "NO GMO"

Part of ag's image  and success is based on how/whether  they  provide products the consumer wants. As I recall from my marketing days, trying to force someone to buy your producet is the type of marketing that dissappeared  from the textbook years ago because the companies that pushed that type of marketing dissappeared as well.

 

Whether we like it or not, we are all better off when we acknowledge that the consumer determines what they want, how they want it, and where they want it. That means vilifying organic producers  just comes back to bite us somewhere, somehow.

 

My approach is that we are all in this together.

 

 

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Veteran Advisor

Re: The big money behind buying organic or "NO GMO"

While I agree with you regarding the needed market respect for consumer preferences, generally speaking, we should recognize that much of the non-GMO or organic market has been created by those dissiminating faulty information and partial truths, causing fear in the minds of the otherwise uninformed public, while creating sufficient demand based on greatly influenced consumer perceptions to justify charging premium prices for "better"  or "safer" products.  However, it is not anti-organic to desire to inform the public with "the rest of the story", or at least an alternate viewpoint or perception; and if there are any lies or partial truths to be addressed, it is not anti-organic to expose those lies or partial truths.  Who knows, maybe HSUS, PETA, Greenpeace, the Environmental Working Group, Al Gore, the First Lady, Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, etc.,  are 100% honest, truthful, and have no agenda other than our best interests and good health.

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Veteran Contributor

Re: The big money behind buying organic or "NO GMO"

The faulty truths and fear go both ways. The market will eventually decide all of this and it seems to be leaning toward the side of those concerned about where food comes from, who produces it, and  how it impacts  diets.

 

 

However the frustration level, which is understandable given the path and the technology investment we all have in agriculture,  might be pushing us away from consumers. Here are examples: AG GAG bills do not win  friends who like liberty and free speech and these bills are now starting to be proven unconstitutional. COOL, on the other hand,  has many friends and is now starting to be  undermined before it really has a chance to start. Further, obesity trends are growing  because kids and others  opt away from fresh foods toward processed foods (lack of exercise too). And food taste is an issue when foods need to be transported long distances over time. Example: Fresh local garden grown tomatoes vs. store tomatoes/ local peaches vs store peaches, etc.  No wonder the "buy fresh, local, and natural  (or organic)" is a growing consumer trend.

 

All the pushback against those such as Pelosi, Gore, Hillary, EWG, Greenpeace, does not pertain that much and may be more of a vested interest tool that sweeps some of us up in another industry's  self-interest.

 

Finally, I suspect  "foodies" may be a  more "informed public" about many of these issues than most of the  other publics. These are the market consumers who are driving the debate we are having (chefs, grandmothers who like and remember fresh food, mothers of children who want ttheir kids to eat vegetables and fruits, and nice restauarants.

 

I am a strong supporter and participant in convetional ag, but I see grave mistakes happen when we forget what marketing is all about. The Know-GMO campaign is well done, but buried within it are some of the same past mistakes that will essentially cause many consumers to disbelieve it.

 

Essentially we have two types of agriculture: One opts toward consumers and local fresh tasty foods. The other opts toward global and feeding the world. They can both co-exist for a while as the market sorts this all out. 

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Honored Advisor

Re: The big money behind buying organic or "NO GMO"

I don`t get too worked up over this stuff, water kind of finds it`s own level.  I know enough about organics having once tried it, it`s very much the real deal you are inspected, tested and documented.   The organic farmer has a pure product when it leaves his farm, after that it`s purity is dependent upon the company that buys it. The premiums paid, I can`t imagine that the company would contaminate it.  I quit because paperwork isn`t my strong point.

 

I planted a conventional corn last year and came in with RR beans and the Roundup did not by far kill all of the volunteer corn.  So whether it was pollen drift or impure seed, I don`t see how 100 or 99% nonGMO corn could be guaranteed in this day and age.

 

If consumers buy organic and get eColi or Sam n`ella they will probably buy the chemical treated stuff after that. 

 

But I love seeing organic farmers, I know they aren`t going to raise +200 bu corn to compete with me, I know that on their 5 year plan they can only raise 2 years of beans 1 year of corn, then 2 years of hay, pasture or oats..so they don`t pick my pocket or break my leg.

 

And what`s the worst that could happen?  Consumers finally demand that we all farm organically? That`s okay with me, but with that lower production, they`d better be prepared to open up their pocketbooks at the supermarket.  Alot of this GMO products have lost their spunk anyway, as we are seeing more steel in the fields these days.

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Senior Contributor

Re: The big money behind buying organic or "NO GMO"

What is monsanto's responsibility if their GMO products are planted on neighboring fields and pollen drift contaminates adjoining fields? Or for that matter spray drift on organically grown crops?

 

I would think that seed buyers should have some assurance that genetic purity be preserved OR you should turn your bull in with the neighbors purebred cows. Or your jackass in with your neighbors thoroughbred mares.

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Veteran Advisor

Re: The big money behind buying organic or "NO GMO"

BA  -  iron down the rows  - get more interesting every year - traden the spray rig in for a cultivator - hooda thought   

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Senior Contributor

Re: The big money behind buying organic or "NO GMO"

Like selling tickets to Disney World or NFL games, shareholders and team owners care not a whit about their customer ideologies as long as they are willing (or compelled by government) to pay the price of admission. Needless to say, the exact same thing could also be said of providing Obamacare and a future of coal free energy.

 

In other words, if non GMO crop yields were to result in cuts of 75% and corn/bean prices were then to immediately quadruple overnight, let's all accept it and carry on.

 

In the words of H. L. Mencken, "Democracy is based on the principle that the common man knows what he wants and that he usually get's it...good & hard."

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Honored Advisor

Re: The big money behind buying organic or "NO GMO"

The thing that bothers me most about organics is the fear-based guilt approach used to peddle them. I go to Whole Foods a few times a year, and buy wonderful cheeses and charcuterie for supper for the two of us, and a few sacks of bulk dried fruits for dessert.

I know I am paying a lot for the products, but it is the taste and type of food we are willing to work to afford. I might grab some organic produce while there, but I won't drive 1-2 hours, depending upon which house we are at that day, to get to Whole Foods for griceries every week.

We have met our obligations, paid every debt, so don't owe anyone any explanations of how we eat what we choose to eat or why. If it is organic, fine...if not, I have already been poisoned enough times to figure what little residue might remain after withdrawal times, washing, and perhaps some processing, is minor by comparison.

If a mom with young kids on a more limited budget cannot make a completely organic choice, there is sometimes a lot of fear in her heart, that she is harming her kids in some way. That just makes me see red. Three-fourths of the labelling I see in meat priducts alone...take Panera Bread's claims on chicken, now Hardee's " All natural burger"..is scientifically undupported, and not in compliance with what I was taught I was allowed to say about antibiotics and hormones, fir starters.

Products are not tested...organics in America are really all about PROCESS certification. It is allabout the tecordkeeping, and that entire system is built solely on trust, that farmers do what they claim to do. Organices in America are really about what you don't do, more than they are about what you do.

Forbes Magazine recently published a scathing article, calling out Whole Foods in particular, and organics in general. The quote that most struck a chord in me was that " 99.9% of the antibiotics in any food are naturally occurring"... and that people are paying huge premiums in the belief that the other 0.1%...one 1/1000th of a part...makes a huge difference.

This is why analysis of the products would show no substantial difference between conventionally - grown produce and organically- grown produce. Yet,,the message that young mom is getting is that she is failing her babies. That is fundamentally wrong.

Don't get me started on the Raw Foods movement...and, I do have concerns about pesticides, hormones and antibiotics ending up in drinking water. I honestly don't see widespread use of organophosphates as a good thing.
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