Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a conference titled “Cultivating Conversations” hosted at the Missouri State University Darr School of Agriculture. This conference was the first in a series of conferences hosted in conjunction with Northwest Missouri State University and University of Central Missouri. Each conference will have a different focus under the Cultivating Conversations theme.
Personally, I think this is a great idea. We need to be well versed and educated on the complex topics that present themselves in agriculture. The first conference was focused on Understanding Genetically Modified Organisms.
I am sure you are well aware of the controversy of GMOs. As farmers and as consumers we should be educated and ready to answer questions.
In college GMOs were a frequent topic in lectures among the ag school, so I am familiar with them. Note, I said familiar and not an expert. I understand the benefits of GMOs in producing a more profitable crop with higher yields.
However, it is easy to see why consumers are confused and reluctant to purchase food made from GMOs. An agronomist, animal scientist and biologist, who have done extensive research on the subject, gave the presentations. It is easy for them to use terms that the general public may not understand. Of course consumers are going to be hesitant when purchasing a product that they don’t understand the science behind. It is no wonder consumers are suspicious.
I do my best to check labels at the store for natural, wholesome ingredients. I am always a little suspicious when ingredients I am not familiar with show up in my food. So, I get consumer concerns on GMOs.
So what do we do to educate consumers? That’s the difficult part, I will admit and I am not sure anyone has the answer. I do know that factual, easy to understand information must be available to the public.
During the presentations Dr. Jeff Thornsberry, associate professor of biology, mentioned that there is a lot of consumer confusion. He explained that this state of confusion is brought on by contradictions of “scientific” findings, perception that science is for sale, the weight of the scientific establishment and political biases that influence interpretation. But most of all, there is a flood of misinformation available.
Do yourselves and the industry a favor and become educated on GMOs but be sure to check your sources to ensure they are a credible, non-bias source. I am challenging myself to learn more about it and will do my best to educate others.
Best wishes,    


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here