(Conrad) Good morning and welcome to Farm Factor on AGam in Kansas. I’m your host Conrad Kabus. The Kansas Farm Bureau is a strong organization in the state of Kansas and just had their annual meeting in Manhattan to discuss hot button issues like GMOs, agricultural advocacy in urban populations and public policies. Mary Mertz is part of a farm family in Riley County. (Mary) My name is Mary Mertz and I am married to a fourth generation farmer, Bob Mertz. And we farm in Riley County, rural Manhattan. I feel like it’s very, very important for us as farmers to tell our story. Not to be afraid of delving into issues, and really learning about them and being able to dialogue with people who may be from an urban background or that are hearing things that are not true about farm food production. And we have an opportunity to correct the myth and debunk the myths that are out there. (Conrad) Mary’s presentation was about many issues facing Kansas farmers including genetically modified organisms. GMOs are any organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering technologies. There is a controversy over GMOs, especially with regard to their use in producing food. The dispute involves consumers, bio technology companies, governmental regulators, non-governmental organizations, and scientists. (Mary) So, we did a presentation today and I spoke a little bit about GMOs, genetic engineering. And was really glad to have an opportunity to share some of the advocacy types of methods that I am involved with, in terms of sharing what I know to be some of the truths and realities of growing GMO crops. And so that basically was what we talked about… and Stacy talked about antibiotic use. (Conrad) Good morning and welcome to Farm Factor on AGam in Kansas. I’m your host Conrad Kabus. The Kansas Farm Bureau is a strong organization in the state of Kansas and just had their annual meeting in Manhattan. Mary Mertz was a speaker at the annual meeting and discussed controversies and misconceptions with GMOs. (Mary) Since the introduction of GMOs, the farmers are now using a lot more pesticides and that simply is incorrect. Well once we used pounds per acre of chemical, we now use just mere ounces per acre. And so it also is much better for the environment because we do less tillage of the ground. And there’s less release of carbon dioxide into the air. And so we’re able to just apply the chemicals once and allow the crop to grow and provide a canopy which will reduce the weeds. And so, yea, we are using much less chemical than we ever have in the past. There’s health issues that need to be debunked. There was a study that was out a while back about GMOs causing cancer and that research has since been retracted from the publications, and yet the myth still exists out there. And people still refer to it all the time. And so… and I feel like it’s very important that people understand that almost every credible health organization in this country and in the world have deemed genetic engineering to be a safe and healthy method of food production. I think it’s up to all of us to get out of our comfort zone and learn about the issues that people are struggling with out there and be able to just get on a level and talk with them on a personal level. Talk about your family, talk about what you do, what you grow. And I think that each one of us can do that in our own way. Sometimes people are comfortable writing. Sometimes people are comfortable tweeting and blogging, using social media. But there’s other ways too, you know, even just personal dialogue with people you come across, Strangers, neighbors.
All the time there’s an opportunity to just kind of share what you do and why you do it.