No financial benefits from GM say Canadian grain farmers

23 Feb, 2012 01:00 AM
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ALBERTA grains and livestock farmer Peter Eggers, Canada, said GM wheat would contaminate conventional seed, once introduced to Australia, no matter what kind of segregation strategies were put in place.
ALBERTA grains and livestock farmer Peter Eggers, Canada, said GM wheat would contaminate conventional seed, once introduced to Australia, no matter what kind of segregation strategies were put in place.

WA grain growers will lose international markets if they embrace genetically-modified (GM) wheat.

That's the opinion of two Canadian farmers who spoke at last Sunday's Canadian National Farmers Union (NFU) meeting in Merredin.

Saskatchewan wheat grower Matt Gehl and Alberta-based grain and livestock producer Peter Eggers joined Julie Newman from the Network of Concerned Farmers to warn of the detrimental impact the potential commercialisation of genetically modified (GM) wheat could have on WA wheat exports, the lifeblood of the State's agricultural industry.

The Greenpeace-backed delegation said Australia would not only struggle to find a market for the product but also lose its existing markets due to contamination fears.

Young farmer Matt Gehl urged growers to look at the debate from yet another point of view.

He said despite what the National Farmers Federation (NFF) and WAFarmers' policy director Alan Hill had said about GM technology providing choice for growers, in the long-term, the potential loss of large portions of WA's international wheat-buying customers could spell the end of the State's grain export industry.

And that would spell disaster for all Wheatbelt grain growers.

"Aside from contamination, weed and potential health issues, international market options should be the leading consideration when we talk about the impact of the potential introduction of GM wheat to WA," Mr Gehl said.

Mr Gehl's family grew Roundup Ready (RR) canola when it was first introduced to Canada.

He said it was sold to farmers as a silver bullet solution to all numbers of paddock enemies including unpredictable weather patterns and weeds.

But after considering the affect continuous Roundup use would have on their farming system, and the restriction of on-farm choice resulting from being locked into grower agreements with the seed company Monsanto, RR canola was pulled from the rotation.

"Getting locked into grower agreements just cuts against the grain," Mr Gehl said.

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READER COMMENTS

Fairsnotfair
23/02/2012 8:55:04 AM, on Farm Weekly

Congratulations! Mt Gehl. It's not often we see a man of moral standing & integrity. We too, have had it with the restrictions & constrictions placed on producing food. Grower agreements do nothing but erode the return price to growers & reduce the agronomic options available. Monsanto is an overpowering influence on the world's food production: not always in good ways.
X A Socialist
24/02/2012 6:46:11 AM, on Farm Weekly

So two Canadian farmers are concerned that we may lose market share, and have come all this way to warn us. Thanks Guy"s and enjoy your Aussie holiday courtesy of Greenpeace.

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Livestock and cropping have always reduce the income risk for farming. My understanding having
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“.. if the science is fairly clear that something is safe, to make it mandatory to label that
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About your proven science, how many of those studies included a gold standard immunological