Editor’s Note: Sponsored Content
Farmers face increasing challenges from climate change, the pressure to produce healthier products without herbicides, and the need to ship crops farther.
One of the most significant developments in farming in recent years has been the introduction of genetically modified crops. It is now possible to purchase hybrid maize varieties, as well as other products like genetically modified wheat and canola. Genetic engineering has even extended to livestock, reaching beyond crops to meat and dairy products.
Like many scientific advancements, there has been skepticism and concern about genetic modifications to food sources, with some warnings of potential risks. However, there are many significant benefits that come from using modified crops that are benefiting farmers and consumers alike.
Reduced chemical usage
Genetically engineered crops enable farmers to develop produce that does not need to be treated with chemicals to prevent destruction from bugs. This means that consumers do not need to worry about ingesting potentially dangerous chemicals in the food they eat.
Defense against climate change
Using genetically modified seeds to produce crops also helps farmers conserve water. These engineered crops are specifically bred to require less water, which means that they can withstand heat waves that regions are experiencing from climate change. And places around the world with chronic water shortages can now produce crops once again.
Diseases can kill crops, and a widespread infestation has the ability to destroy entire crop species. Genetically modified crops have enabled scientists and farmers to save entire crop species, such as the Hawaiian Rainbow papaya.
There are also benefits to the land. Farmers do not have to employ all of the same tasks when they deal with modified crops. For example, they don’t need to spray crops as often, or at all in some cases. This leads to less damage to the soil. The amount of tilling required has also reduced significantly, so in this sense, engineered crops are combating soil erosion.
Thanks to genetic engineering, fruits and vegetables can deliver increased amounts of vitamins to consumers. Thanks to this, people can easily reach ideal daily targets of essential nutrients without eating more. This technology can also reduce harmful components in foods such as trans fats. As research progresses, there will hopefully be crops in the future that are safe for people with serious food allergies, such as peanuts.
When you go to the store to buy produce, there are always fruits and vegetables you will avoid because they’re bruised or starting to go bad. A clear benefit from genetic modification is that the crops from genetically engineered seeds can be specifically developed to be hardier. They won’t bruise as easily, which means that they are in excellent quality when they reach store shelves. It’s even possible to keep fruits from oxidizing when exposed to the air.
When farmers are able to produce crops more consistently, they don’t need to turn to crop insurance or other assistance due to crop failure. This is one way of reducing overall farming costs.
Another consideration is that when crop volumes are reduced because of a production problem, it not only threatens the livelihood of farmers, but it raises the cost of produce for consumers. This leads to increased costs at grocery stores and restaurants, and with services that may include food. When production is stable, then consumers are not hit with increased costs due to low yield.