The issue of pesticide migration from farms that use them onto farms that do not has become an important problem in modern agriculture. Equally important is the problem of drift or migration of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) from farms that utilize them, onto neighboring farms that do not. When farms were all spread out in the U.S. 50 years ago, this would not been so serious. However as you can see in this aerial photo above Illinois, farms are surrounded by other farms.
Due to the scarcity of land, especially good farm land, modern farms are typically located adjacent to and surrounded by their neighbors. The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) to which Seagate is a member is now addressing this issue of “agricultural coexistence” — There has been a lot of discussion about how farmers should be compensated if unwanted GMO material or pesticides end up on an organic or non-GMO farm. This tractor below was spraying pesticides on peach trees. Can you guess how far this spray might migrate or the contamination in the soil could spread during heavy rains?
Basically, the cost of prevention and the costs of damages to the farms that are affected by the contamination from their neighbors should be borne by the farms that allow their GMO materials and or pesticides to migrate onto their neighbors’ farms. The AHPA suggests “adequate measures, such as buffer zones or windbreaks, should be required on farms on which GMO crops are cultivated and that these farms should be responsible to ensure that such measures are sufficient to prevent unintended GMO drift beyond the farm’s boundaries”.
Easier said than done, especially when winds can pick up contaminated dust and dirt and deposit them miles away. Or even something so simple as a bee flying from plant to plant has no idea that it has crossed from one farm with GMO pollen into another that had been meticulously avoiding using GMO seed.
This also brings up the issue that the consumer has the right to know that the food they have purchased contains GMO or non-GMO ingredients. So far the large chemical companies have been successful in blocking GMO labeling requirements in every State in the U.S. when it has come up for vote. For example, this measure was voted on in California in November 2014. Monsanto and their GMO supporters waged a campaign to convince the voters that their annual cost of groceries would rise by ~$340 should GMO labeling become a requirement. The voters were more concerned with this scare tactic that their grocery bills would rise rather than worrying about the dangers of the unlabeled foods that they are eating. Remember that this was not a ban on GMOs. It was just a requirement that foods be labeled so that the consumer would have a choice.
Seagate operates its farm in a very remote location of Baja California, Mexico where there are no neighboring farms, no GMO pollen blowing in the air, and no pesticides in rainwater or being blown from neighboring farms …. because we do not have neighbors.
Okay, if this information is giving you a headache, it’s time for a turtle break. This pair was playing in shallow waters along a Belize reef. If you look closely at the top turtle, its coloring and spot pattern might make it look as if its head is on the left-hand side of the shell. However, this is an illusion by Nature, perhaps to fool predators. The head can be seen on the right side.