[Market-farming] GMO'S

Richard Stewart rstewart at zoomtown.com
Wed Jun 10 08:11:07 EDT 2009


Have you ever grown on a flood plain?  That is, a location that,  
during late autumn, winter, and sometimes very early spring that is  
often under water for a period of three or four days?  Most of the  
floods are slow, depositing mineral rich soils and sands on the  
property.  They also replenish the weed bank.  The weeds here tend to  
be Johnson Grass and what we call Horse Weeds along with a diverse  
cast of others.

Cultivating is nearly impossible once corn and beans get to a certain  
age, other crops, especially certain cereal crops would be difficult  
at best.   Hay and forage crops are gone in two years, filled with  
weeds and unsellable and filled with crap that takes years to  
breakdown in composting.

All of this is because of poor development planning and water runoff  
controls from both other farms and residential and commercial  
development along the Great Miami watershed.   We never used to flood  
unless the Ohio River overflowed its banks, which is rare, given the  
amount of of flood and navigation control we have these days.  Now we  
flood three or four times a year.

But not during corn and bean seasons.

Add to that the fact that growing corn and soybean, which are by their  
nature (unfortunately) in demand and easy to sell in a society that  
refuses to pay good money for good food and expect everything "Chinese  
Cheap" and throws up road blocks and hurdles every step of the way to  
sell produce off the farm and it makes very good sense.  If I wanted  
to grow switch grass for bio-fuels who do I sell it to?  There is no  
infrastructure supporting it.

I do not grow any BT corn or beans and no study that I seen suggests  
that Round-Up ready corn or beans impacts the health of our bee  

I talk with farmers at the local grain elevator when we haul to market  
and those that do not use GMO corn still spray, they simply spray MORE  
and use more diesel fuel.  Just like the no-till guys use more spray,  
use more diesel and get lower yields.

As beekeeper that is interested in working with Ohio Ag and local  
fruit and vegetable farmers I try to learn all I can about how folks  
use pesticides to protect me bees AND to provide alternatives.  As a  
grower I use NO pesticides or herbicides on my grapes or other fruit  
trees...AT ALL, even proscribed "organic" sprays, which can still  
impact my honey bees.  I know LOTS of non-GMO sweet corn and pumpkin  
and melon growers and let me tell you, for being non-GMO I'd never  
take my bees near their land.  Its a death zone.  Most sweet corn (non- 
GMO) is sprayed about every four days for ear worm and root  
protection, apples and oranges and are sprayed with a whole cocktail  
of stuff.  Vine crops are sprayed continuously as well.

GMO is a red herring though I do agree that specific types of GMO seed  
types (BTs and Terminators are a major threat).  Not all GMOs are  
created equal or are evil.  The problem is monoculture and resource  
use that, in the end, will be our undoing (be it organic or not).

Which is more dangerous to a region?  The use of a herbicide, or  
triple the amount of diesel fuel usage to cultivate, then four times  
the amount of water to irrigate weed seeds, followed by more  
irrigation because humans are trying to establish a crop in an arid or  
semi-arid region?

I'd love to go complete non-GMO just because people ARE uneducated  
when it comes to GMO vs non-GMO and it gets us slapped with  
nonsensical stereotype.  Non-GMO is our situation would mean we would  
increase our herbicide spray regimen and increased diesel fuel useage  
to cultivate at the early stages.

Much like large scale organic produce production it is not the perfect  
answer to our food problems.  You get Americans to pay 8.00 apound for  
good healthy heirloom tomatoes and I'll be more than happy to stop  
growing corn.  I plant switch grass and sell that to the local bio- 
fuel producer...if there was one.

I have a farm that is 300 acres.  Its been in the family since 1855.   
You get what you get and you make it work.

I tried not to turn that into a rant and really explain our position.   
You'll see folks like Mary condemn me and claim that she is glad that  
I am not her neighbor, but I know, roughly where she is,  
geographically, and trust me, I am a GOOD neighbor to have.  She has  
LOTS of GMO crops up there, and lots of spraying going on and lots of  
chemical fertilizers as well.  I make attempts to actually control how  
we do it, make sure that every field is ringed in by a dense stand of  
trees and that the GMO property is lower than the non-GMO/organic/ 
forage property.  I manage wildlife and encourage diversity.  We  
rotate crops rather than plant year after year of corn till we HAVE to  
amend or plant beans or plow under a crop of wheat to add organic  

It is simply one part of a puzzle that works for us.  We have a  
profitable farm and the money made from those crops allows me to build  
up our produce and beekeeping business.

Have a good day!

Richard Stewart
Carriage House Farm
North Bend, Ohio

An Ohio Century Farm Est. 1855

(513) 967-1106
rstewart at zoomtown.com

On Jun 9, 2009, at 10:49 PM, <clearviewfarm at bluefrog.com> wrote:

> Richard,
> Why would it "be impossible for us to farm this land without GMO  
> seed types"?  That is difficult for me to imagine.  Your land is  
> that chemically dependent?  Perhaps I have something to learn here.   
> Please enlighten me.
> Thanks,
> Kurt Forman
> Clearview Farm
> Palmyra, NY 14522
> --- sunmoonriver at windstream.net wrote:
> From: "courtney mcleod" <sunmoonriver at windstream.net>
> To: "Market farming" <market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Subject: [Market-farming] GMO'S
> Date: Tue, 9 Jun 2009 17:40:36 -0400
> I am glad we do not farm anywhere near each other…my crops and  
> honeybee’s would be contaminated with your GMO pollen.  That would  
> not be good for my land…my business or our bee’s!  GMO’s are what  
> are going to wreck the environment and natural farming all together  
> if not eradicated!
> Nothing against you personally, just your choice of farming
> Courtney
> Herb Thyme
> Middlefield, Oh
> I will argue that some GMO crops DO have their place.  I have 160  
> acres of bottom lands that I know till.  Every year the weed base is  
> replenished.  A GMO corn or soybean does allow me to make use of  
> this land. I could cultivate the weeds or try to choke it with a  
> cover crop.  All of it has been tried.  We do a single herbicide  
> spray to kill competing plants and that is it.  No pesticides and no  
> other fertilizers.
> In other areas we do not use the same seed and do Non-GMO.
> I would, literally, be impossible for us to farm this land without  
> GMO seed types.
> We use a fraction of the fuel that most large scale organic  
> production uses too farm the same number of acres and do not  
> irrigate at all.  Both of which are a massive drain on resources,  
> are polluters, and wreck the environment.  Which is the lesser of  
> two evils?  I do not have the answer to that.
> Richard Stewart
> Carriage House Farm
> North Bend, Ohio
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