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March 21, 2013     Tri-County News
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Thursday, March21,2013 atlh D, 10 Tri-Coun News www.tricountynews.mn Ji: G l,41,1bll .i[ q .L Genetically modified foods ByKatelynAsfeld, UofMIntern developing countries do not get The big scare and the big myths When people hear the term "genetically modified," most associate it with negative health and environmental effects with- out fully understanding what it means. A lack of understanding about genetically modified organ- isms (GMOs) can create a fear of them. When an organism is geneti- cally modified (GM), its DNA is altered through genetic engineer- ing to allow it to become resis- tant to certain weeds, pests, or environmental conditions. Sci- entists and agriculturalists use genetically engineered (GE) crops to produce a higher grain yield, reduce the amount of labor and field maintenance costs, as well as help grow crops in poor environ- mental conditions. The United States started using genetically modified foods in 1996, and since then 165 million acres of GE crops are produced each year. These GE foods have the potential to save the lives of people who would otherwise die of starvation or suffer from some type of deficiency. For example, in 1999, Professor Ingo Potrykus and Peter Beyer began working on Golden Rice, a type of rice that contains g-Carotene which is an organic compound that Vitamin A derives from. Vitamin A is an essential vitamin that children in enough of when eating regular rice alone, which is a staple food item in much of the world. Vitamin A deficiency causes blindness, dis- ease, and death for many of these children. Because of strong GMO opposition by activist groups such as the Organic Consumers Asso- ciation, Potrykus and Beyer and other researchers have not been able to introduce Golden Rice in areas of the world where it is most needed. One fear is that GMOs are unsafe to eat, yet according to Greg Jaffe from The Atlantic, the FDA and the National Academy of Sciences never identified any health risks associated with eating GMOs. In fact, 70 percent of the food found at most grocery stores contain at least one GM product. Consumers have been eating GM foods for several years without even knowing it. Some people fear that the DNA inserted into GM foods will be absorbed into "their system and negatively affect them. In reality, the DNA inserted in GM foods ends up getting destroyed through the digestive process. Another concern is an activity known as gene escape and genetic pollution. For example, the GE canola produced in North Dakota is escaping farmers' fields and moving into other places, such as road ditches. People worry that the GE canola will eventually choke Benton County Master Gardeners Spring Gardening Seminars ByJanelleDaberkow, missioners Room, in Foley. The UofMExtension . Benton County Master Gard, eners ..... :The university~ of Minnesota will be 16resenting 0ffthe topic of Extension Master Gardeners of , Benton County would like to invite you to attend an upcoming Spring Gardening Seminar. There is no charge to attend this seminar, and it is open for any interested indi- viduals to attend. The seminar will be beginning at 7 p.m,~clonday, March 25, at the Benton CountyCourthouse, Com- L "Starting Seeds Indoors." Follow- ing this demonstration, the Master Gardeners invite attendees to par- ticipate in an open forum to dis- cuss general gardening questions. No pre-registration is necessary to attend seminars. Any questions on the seminars can be directed to (320) 255-6169. Feedlot air emissions treatment cost calculator available By Bill Lazarus, O of M Extension Owners and operators of live- stock and poultry operations have a new tool.to calculate the costs and benefits of installing tech- nologies to treat odors and gases emitted from the facilities: a feed- lot air emissions treatment cost calculator. The calculator comes with three how-to videos. Animal feeding operator own- ers and managers can use several techniques to manage odors and gas emissions; each has different costs and benefits. The feedlot air emissions treatment cost calcula- of swine, poultry and dairy oper- ations, equipment manufacturers and suppliers, human medicine, veterinary medicine, local and state regulators, local and county elected officials, Extension and Natural Resource Conservation Service. The videos build on an earlier project through which fact sheets described several practices for mitigating airborne emissions. One goal of the project was to pro- vide information to help animal feeding operations manage odors and gas emissions. "Bill's calculator is a great way tor can be used to compare alter-forlivestockowners and managers native technologies and designs to compare techniques they are with different costs and bene~ considering to manage odors and fits. The calculator has informa- - reduce gas emissions," lanni said. tion on biofilters, covers, scrub- bers, manure belts, vegetative buf- fer and anaerobic digesters. The calculator was developed by University of Minnesota Exten- sion economist Bill Lazarus, who is also a professor in the Univer- sity's applied economics depart- ment. It was part of a multi-state, USDA-funded research project. The calculator was suggested by stakeholders for the project led by Kevin Janni, professor and Extension engineer. The group included producers and managers "They need to fit into the overall operation and management Of the operation; they all cost money." The calculator and videos are available online at www.extension. org/67055. The website includes links to factsheets, archived webi- nars and additional videos about good neighbor relat!ons, odor pol- icy considerations, Odor setback tools, biofilters and covers. For more information on manure management and air quality, visit www.extension.umn. edu/go/1134/. out the native plants. While it may spread to new areas, like many plants do, Geoffrey Brumfiel from NPR explained that GE canola cannot survive where it has to compete with other plants. There is no evidence that canola is over- taking native plants, and being genetically modified does not give the canola a competitive edge over other plants. The only advantage given to the canola through GE is the resistance to two herbicides. While many people see GMOs as being a hazard to the environ- ment and human health, these foods are, in most cases, safe for consumption. With the human population continuing to grow, it is important for us to look at better ways of producing enough food to sustain our global population. 'eOm" appFms dmioDIde wmit 0NLY Malttl 18, 2013 - Ma~122, 2013 You Are Invited to the en Valletj Area I-lout m, h E D E N 9:00-10:.00 am. VALLEY t3 AREA Fea q... F..,gg I4unt 720 HWY 55 WEST WATKINS, MN 55389 {320} 764-5310 0D74CUBD0802-O03882~3 ~h~R