Dr. Oz’s Enlist Experts . . . Debunked

I think I’ll start a blog series titled Dr. Oz . . . Debunked, because TV’s infamous doctor is at it again, prescribing fear over fact in regards to farming and food. His latest attack posed as outrage over the potential approval of a new pesticide, but his real motives are a) ratings and b) eliminating farmers’ ability to raise crops in an efficient, environmentally sound and sustainable manner.

It was just Wednesday (September 17) that the USDA approved Dow Chemical Company’s Enlist Duo, a combination pesticide including glyphosate and 2,4-D. The Farmer’s Daughter USA did a great job explaining the what and why of Enlist Duo, so I won’t repeat that here, but would encourage everyone to read it for background.

The Dr. Oz Show must keep close tabs on agriculture, because in a few short days they had crafted a segment designed to incite a frenzied movement to block the approval of Enlist Duo and hinder farming practices on family farms. Really, this is tantamount to crying fire in a crowded theater.

I did watch the segment, and after peeling away the dramatics (wide eyes, lowered voices, prolonged pauses) and the amazing use of apocalyptic language (massive experiment, catastrophe), it isn’t hard to see that Dr. Oz needs all the smoke and mirrors he can get to hide his lack of agriculture knowledge.  We’ve heard all his accusations before when he attempted to uncover the global conspiracy around GMOs.

So, here’s a short list of just some of the claims made by Dr. Oz and his panel of “experts”.

Oz Fact 1: The promotion of this show included the words “GMO pesticide”.

Clarification: A pesticide is a chemical composed of elements which make compounds. Pesticides do not have DNA, genes, chromosomes, or alleles; therefore they cannot be genetically modified. That’s junior high chemistry/biology. GMO pesticides do not exist.

Oz Fact 2: Seventy to 170 million pounds of additional pesticides will be used because of Enlist Duo.

Clarification: I’m really not sure where to begin on this. Dr. Oz didn’t offer a source for this claim and I searched quite a bit and couldn’t find one. My assumption is projections are approximately 70 to 170 million pounds of Enlist Duo will be purchased.  Here’s the thing, it is just another herbicide, another option to use for weed control, another mode of action. A farmer may still choose to apply Round-Up OR will switch to Enlist Duo, but will not apply Round-Up AND Enlist Duo at the same time.  It wouldn’t make sense to spend the time, money or resources to duplicate weed control efforts.

Oz Fact 3: On the same topic, one of the “experts”, New York Times food writer Mark Bittman declared that GMOs have not delivered on their promise – increased yields and reduced pesticide use.

Clarification: Genetically modified seed was never intended to increase yields. The purpose is to protect the yield. Increased yields (and they are increasing) are the result of better hybrids developed from traditional breeding efforts, precise application of fertilizers and crop protection tools, and continued understanding of soil, fertility, plants and weather. According to the Corn Farmers’ Coalition, farmers are growing five times more corn on 20 percent less land. Proving the more tools farmers have available in the fields, the better farmers they are.

On our farm, My Farmer estimates we have reduced pesticide use by half. A search of the popular science-based site The Genetic Literacy Project brings up pages of articles refuting the claim that more pesticides are being used than before the advent of GMOs.  This particular post speaks directly to one of Dr. Oz’s favorite claims, ‘farmers are drowning their crop in chemicals.’

Oz Fact 4: The climax of the whole Enlist Duo segment came when Dr. Oz asked his “expert”, the founder of the website breastcancer.org about drift of pesticides near schools and our children.

I’ll let you read that again.

. . .

So, the founder of a breast cancer website is an expert on applying pesticides? Hmm.

Clarification: My Farmer attends a class and takes a four-hour test every three years to be certified to purchase AND apply pesticides on our farm.  If he ever wanted to go into business and apply pesticides for other farmers, he would take an additional test.  This regulatory process comes to our farmers through the EPA and is issued and administrated by the state departments of agriculture.  Who is the expert?

Note: Homeowners who buy Round-Up and 2,4-D in spray bottles at Wal-Mart to banish dandelions and crabgrass from their yards and sidewalks do not need to be certified. No controls. No follow-up. No nothin’. Again, who is the expert?

Oz Fact 5: Just to make sure parents were thoroughly panicked, Dr. Oz says he is particularly frightened for our elementary school children at risk playing outside at recess in proximity to chemical drift.

Clarification: Pesticides are applied in a variety of ways and thus controlled in a variety of ways. Jenny blogs at Prairie Californian and masterfully breaks down crop protection in this easy to read list.

Applying pesticides is a science, literally. The chemistry of pesticides responds to temperature, wind and humidity in specific ways. Some are heavier than others. Some are effective for a short time and others for a longer time.  Some affect certain types of weeds and others all weeds.  Some, like Enlist Duo, include a special drift technology that mitigates the risk.

My Farmer applies a pre-emergent herbicide before planting this spring. That's not spray you see, but dust from the field.

My Farmer applies a pre-emerge herbicide before planting this spring. That’s not spray you see, but dust from the field.

Applying pesticides is a wonder of technology too. With data plugged into the sprayer’s computer, we can adjust the rate of application, where it is applied and even shut off specific nozzles all while moving across the field. Certain nozzles are designed for certain applications.

This isn’t as simple as spreading feathers across a field (i.e. Dr. Oz’s attempt at demonstrating drift with feathers and a fan).

The show’s segment ends with a call to action. Dr. Oz implores his audience to sign a petition asking the EPA and the President of the United States to deny approval of Enlist Duo. While the EPA is no longer accepting public comments about Enlist Duo, you could choose to support farmers instead of Dr. Oz and encourage the EPA to give farmers another option to control weed pressure in their fields.  If you the think the President has nothing going on, I suppose, you could bother him too.

Is there a petition we can sign to request that networks cancel The Dr. Oz Show? Or how about a simple request that Dr. Oz invites real experts to his stage?

<big sigh>

Until next time and there will be a next time, this is Dr. Oz . . . Debunked.

Other good posts:

From Applied Mythology: Don’t Beleive What Dr. Oz Is Saying About An Agricultural Herbicide

From Corn Corps: Dr. Oz Is At It Again: Should You Listen To Him?

I didn’t come close to explaining the details of Enlist Duo, the new genetically modified seed on which it can be used, the regulatory process or the safety of genetically modified seed and the pesticides (if used correctly) applied.  I really didn’t want to publish a book.  Please refer to the links offered for additional information.

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83 responses to “Dr. Oz’s Enlist Experts . . . Debunked

  1. What throws up a huge red flag regarding GMO’s is the insane amount of $$$ that Monsanto has spent fighting the various labeling bills throughout the country. If this stuff isn’t harmful, why do they spend millions of dollars to prevent us from knowing what foods it’s in?

    • Because Monsanto rely’s on GMO as their main source of business. Wouldn’t it be easier to just let the free market rule on this issue? If someone makes a product that is GMO free they put that on their label in bold rather than force the other 95% to put a label on them saying they do have GMOs in them?

      • The free market does rule though folks. It DOES! Monsanto sells seed that many farmers *want* for the traits that it has. Personally I raise heirloom/organic so come from a much different view, but there is nonGMO, organic, purchasing direct from places like mine – all options you can make. Do it! That is letting free market rule in your actions. When Cheerios switched the formula to source non GMO ingredients the free market said it didn’t matter – sales did not increase. So if it doesn’t matter to those buying it, and it doesn’t bring in people who claimed they would buy it if it wasn’t GMO then the free market, the majority, is indeed speaking.
        These things can be done without a label that says GMO on it.

    • I can’t speak for Monsanto on this, but I would foresee that having a patchwork of statewide labeling laws could be a nightmare for farmers and also for food processors. Not to mention adding to the cost of people’s food in the grocery store, adding a label that is redundant to me seems silly. If people want to eat GMO free and pay more for it, then just buy certified organic, which has no GMOs in it.

      • Most people have a hard time paying for organic but non GMO used to be standard ingredients. Now your saying people of low income have no choice if they can not afford organic? Why is organic so expensive? Because those farms have to pay lots of money to prove they are organic. Lots of regulations. But BIG AG can change the very genetic make up of our food which our body can’t recognize. I have had genetic testing done on myself (most people haven’t) and I have an autoimmune disease which causes my body to attack its self when anything foreign enters it. GMO’s are foreign to the human body. I can’t afford to eat completely organic. But I can eat regular non GMO food.

        • TMD, thank you for sharing your perspective. I think there are a few points being made . . . 1) If a person wants to avoid GMOs, then there are labels already out there – organic and non-GMO project verified are two that come to mind. 2) Organic is usually more expensive because the cost of production is certainly more expensive and as you pointed out farmers who choose to be certified organic do pay a pretty penny, not to mention the paperwork. To your other point about GMOs themselves. . .what plant scientists have been able to accomplish is change one trait in a DNA sequence and not the whole thing; therefore studies have shown no recognizable difference between a sugar derived from a gm-sugar beet or from a non-gm sugar beet. I am by no means discounting your personal health and food story and preferences (I have two family members who are living with autoimmune diseases), but did want to offer a few other facts.

    • I don’t know about Monsanto, but here’s my thought. The reason people want to label something perfectly safe is because they are freaked out by Oz and the rest of the liars that use fear for profits. Why should we as taxpayers build a new arm of state government, different in each state, to label, test, enforce, and litigate rules applied to perfectly safe food? Who is going to test each farmer’s corn when it gets to the elevator? The laws have labels targeting things like somatic hybrids that are not even rDNA, but then exempt GMO when it is in restaurants.

      Labeling is not scientific, it will be expensive, and at a time when we need more money for research, it is not my job to pay for your paranoia. No labels. They only give peace of mind to those that refuse to accept science.

    • The “insane amount of $$$” Monsanto and competitors spend to influence pubic relations and government regulation should be compared to the product R&D expenditure. Then you will understand Monsanto’s motive and learn to take it for what it is. The PR/GR is but a drop compared to a big R&D bucket.

      The R&D expenditure is direct result of the rigor imposed by the system (EPA/USDA) toward labeling crop protection products. Each step and test in the process costs the manufacturer money and adds to the R&D tally. I’m grateful for the system of knowledgeable experts that pour their lives and livelihoods into the process.

      To my health and welfare detriment, I tend to tune-out folks with the gift of gab that use their talents to stir up emotions over issues that they manipulate for their own publicity and profit. What I find offensive, is the effective acceptance of the EPA/USDA management of one pesticide/technology over another pesticide/technology.

      Where is the outrage over the use of Rotenone on certified organic crops? Rotenone is an naturally occurring pesticide that is used to protect organic produce from insect pests. It has an LD50 that is about 25 times lower (ie more toxic) than its alternative used on conventional produce. On the other hand, it readily breaks down into inert metabolites when applied to organic crops. Most likely, it is a reasonable trade-off and the EPA/USDA look at many more details than the 2 I just listed.

      To my way of thinking, the EPA/USDA have it about right. Research, testing, practice, out-come and review are the tools needed for a logical and sane regulatory process. When something comes up, they deal with it.

      We go viral over the pending unknown(s) (fear of our fears) of food and ag technology. It is manipulative media types that take us there.

      Hey, when was the last time you drove down the road and actually thought “I have to remain focused. That oncoming vehicle may hit me.” That is tens of thousands of times more likely that anything discussed here in relation to food.

  2. Great post! From one farm wife to another, thanks for sharing. I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch this episode yet…

  3. I think you are critical of the term GMO pesticide. He is most likely referring to this product being a pesticide that is applicable for a GMO plant. Also, not all farmers have the sophisticated equipment that you have mentioned in this post. Does this mean farmers that use an old pull type sprayer will not be permitted to use this product? Another point, are you implying that Glyphosate is not a harmful and dangerous substance? Are you not concerned with it in our groundwater?

    “Glyphosate may enter aquatic systems through accidental spraying, spray drift, or surface runoff. It
    dissipates rapidly from the water column as a result of adsorption and possibly biodegradation. The halflife
    in water is a few days. Sediment is the primary sink for glyphosate. After spraying, glyphosate levels in
    sediment rise and then decline to low levels in a few months. Due to its ionic state in water, glyphosate
    would not be expected to volatilize from water or soil”

    http://www.epa.gov/ogwdw/pdfs/factsheets/soc/tech/glyphosa.pdf

    The above quoted text is directly from this document found on the EPA.Gov website located above.

    I am a farmer from Indiana, a chiropractic physician, and functional medicine practitioner. I understand the importance of farming in America, but I also understand the importance of minimizing any toxic material in our ecosystem. The type of farming you are describing is not how this country was founded.

    • When our country was founded, it’s true agriculture was much different. I raised seeds this year much the same as was done in Monticello – same varieties. But our country isn’t the same as it was then either…our consumers aren’t the same. Many grow nothing for themselves…a luxury not afforded in the past. Today’s consumer often is not willing to cut off that bad spot and use the rest of the tomato – just toss the whole thing. The varieties grown at Monticello didn’t have to ship long distances, as crops do today in order to get to those they are to feed. I can pick and drive 200 miles to deliver and it’d be ok – but most consumers don’t want that, in action. They want convenient, familiar, pretty. There are still food choices for those wanting something else – if they use them.

    • If I’m worried about the ecosystem and water I’ll use glyphosate long before I use copper at 6 lbs/acre like they do in organic farming. That’s a heavy metal, it persists in the environment, and talk about disrupting aquatic environments! How about rotenone, another organic pesticide. That’s one of the world’s most toxic compounds to fish, that hammers bees too when used with pyrethrins.

      And Oz used the words “GMO pesticide” because he needs to stack the freak-out words in the same sentence. If he said, “2,4-D is a widely used herbicide with a record of 70 years of safe use” everyone changes the channel.

    • Trent, thank you for reading and sharing your comments. I don’t want to repeat what has already been said, but will add, I pointed out the use of “GMO Pesticide” as an prime example of how words, topics and subjects can be twisted to a point that we are engaging in conversations about GMO pesticides as if they are real things . . . and they are not.

      Farmers have choices on how to farm, what equipment to use, what seed to plant, etc. I think farmers – of all ages, farm sizes, etc. – need to look closely at the how of farming and learn new ways to minimize our footprint. On our farm, using “tractor technology” and seed technology is helping to do that. Thankfully, the how of farming is as diverse as American agriculture itself, and that is what makes this a great community to be a part of.

      • Thank you for this comment, and I do understand that scare tactics are how the entertainment/news business retains viewers. I also understand that Dr. Oz has a lot of mixed views. I practice a weight loss clinic in Indiana, I have a nick name called Dr. Moz, because I am constantly debunking his efforts to find the next weight loss miracle. Soil management is one thing, as far as erosion, but we also need to address the depletion affect of our farming methods. I am definitely no expert on the matter, but I am a well researched individual on the negative health affects of GE crops. BT toxins, etc are a very real part of our health decline.

  4. It is so easy to say glyphosate is “dangerous” without backing up facts. Mr. Mozingo only gave it’s mode of action. How dangerous is it?

    Mr. Kniss’s article on his site gives actual facts about the toxicity of glyphosate. Quoting the toxicity values.

    “In both toxicity measures, acetic acid (vinegar) is more toxic than glyphosate. Salt is more toxic to rats compared to glyphosate when exposed orally. The dermal toxicity numbers are a little more difficult to interpret, since for both glyphosate and salt, the values are listed as greater than a value. This typically means that the experimenters did not kill enough of the test rabbits at the highest doses used in the studies; so we know that glyphosate is safe at least up to 2,000 mg/kg and salt is safe at least up to 10,000 mg/kg. But we can determine from this data that acetic acid is more toxic than both glyphosate or salt. Pound per pound, glyphosate actually appears to be less acutely toxic to the mammalian test organisms compared to acetic acid (vinegar) or salt.”
    full article: http://weedcontrolfreaks.com/2014/06/salt-vinegar-and-glyphosate/

    Dr. Oz is a performer. He only can keep his audience if he can scare them into listening to what he has to say next.

    Too bad there are so many people willing to fall for it.

  5. I saw this episode and as a farmer I was offended by the assumption that we would spray next to a school on a windy day… Really? The adjacent farm to us is organic practice (not certified) and planted to the property line, we had to plant a buffer because we would be responsible for drift from our spray. The rules are in place to make everyone safe, buffer zones, residue time holds for spray. It’s disappointing that we strive to feed the world only to be painted as monsters by Dr Oz.

    • Kauai is home ground for testing by GMO companies like Monsanto, and they do spray next to the Waimea school. Do a little research.

    • Sara, your experience with your neighboring farmer underscores the furor of this topic in media. I’ve often said, on the farm level, these things are worked out by TALKING to one another, agreeing to an arrangement and sharing responsibility. It may not be pretty all the time and arrangements might not also feel fair, but it works.

  6. nic farmer and son of ag pilot

    This is just dumb. I’m guessing Dr oz has never put on a pair of work boots in his life. People are trying to make it impossible to do our jobs. The world is demanding more food and farmers as a whole are answering that demand. Better yields and better practices. I don’t know how it is for other applicators but if we were spraying next to a school I guarantee it wouldn’t be during recess… Seems like anymore everybody is an expert on anything and everything. Both my children are farm raised and healthy.

  7. Applying pesticide is a science – truth. It has to be a science because pesticides are dangerous chemicals. Period. Thank you to those that are responsible and handle their pesticides as recommended, but there are also many that do not. I first hand have seen how many times, those that apply pesticides are not educated to read, let alone being educated to “safe” application procedure. I have seen pesticides applied in high wind and watched it drift. I have seen it broadcast when it should be spot applied. I have seen it applied in close proximity to peoples’ homes. This is where the problems lay. A company puts a dangerous product on the market and who knows who really uses it correctly. There is not strong and consistent enforcement of education and safety, mostly because people have been conditioned to believe that pesticides are safe. They simply are not. Pesticides are safer to use as recommended, but does this make them safe? No.

    • You are with out a doubt an idiot. But I do ask one question, what is your alternative to fighting weeds, and insects? And if you say organic, then you once again prove to be an idiot.

      • Dave – I appreciate your willingness to read the post and through the comments but would ask that further statements refrain from name-calling. That does nothing to further a conversation. Thank you.

    • Lindsey, thank you for making a great point. Products are only as good as the people who are using them. I would take this focus on drift and use it as a call to action for applicators everywhere. In agriculture, we do not have the luxury of making one mistake and saying I’m sorry. People are always watching. Do your best, by the book every day.

    • I don’t know how it’s set up in other states, but in Arkansas, we have a regulatory body, the Arkansas Plant Board, that educates and licenses farmers and commercial pesticide applicators before we can buy and use regulated pesticides. Continuing education is required every few years. Not only that, but we are legally liable to follow the label and prevent drifting onto someone else’s property. Not only can we be sued, but the plant board will fine us a nasty amount of money. Mistakes are occasionally made, but not nearly so many as some people would have you believe.

      Aside from that, we don’t particularly want to spend a lot of money on product and application and then watch it get blown all over the place rather than go where it’s supposed to. Drift and inversion cost us money, both in lost product and diminished yield.

    • I could not agree more. I am so sick of these stupid, illiterate people applying these dangerous GMO pesticides. Don’t they know they are killing us! Not a day goes by that I don’t drive through some nice subdivision and some MORON has had killed his whole yard because he sprayed roundup to kill his dandelions. I mean, come on! Can’t you read?! Wait, you are talking about anyone, I mean ANYONE, who can walk into WalMart and buy roundup and 24D, right?!

      • Wes – While I understand your frustration, I would encourage that future comments address the issue at hand vs. attacking individuals who because of their life experiences may not have a knowledge base regarding the use of crop protection tools from a homeowners perspective. I know my life experience hasn’t offered me a reason to know how to navigate New York’s subway system. I’m sure New Yorkers would have quite a bit to say about that as well.

  8. Thank you for taking your time to educate consumers! Keep up the good work!

  9. Thank you for your article on this important topic. I have a few questions for you:

    1) Is there any information on how much of this new herbicide is projected to be used on soybeans and corn that will are being produced for human consumption? For example, if this new herbicide is being sprayed on corn that will be used for ethanol production-then is the impact to human health really relevant?

    2) Although human health is relevant, I am also concerned about the following and would like to know whether you believe it is important to address whether:
    -This new herbicide contributes to further depletion of soil health as well as soil erosion?
    -What are its potential impacts on local water resources-especially groundwater?

    • The new technology will help farmers continue to reduce tillage which reduces water runoff and improves soil structure. The herbicide is 30+ years old and has been used already on corn. Much is known about this product and farmers are required by law to used this and all herbicides within the stated limits…just like medicines are.

    • Natalie, great questions! I think Mike addressed them well so I won’t repeat his response. His statements echo what we have experienced on our farm using genetically modified seed and the crop protection tools that compliment that. Here are some other thoughts on your first question:

      Sometimes the end use of corn or soybeans will determine how a crop is raised in the field, but I think that is only the case if a farmer has contracted to grow something specific to a certain company. Our corn is used for ethanol, feed, and food. Herbicides do not affect the corn plant. Their purpose is to affect the weeds. By the time a kernel of corn is broken down into sugar, starches and oils, it is a long way from that initial early season herbicide application.

  10. I wish it was as simple as stating that vinegar is more harmful than glyphosate. It is not. You have to step away from the research funded by the USDA before you can find a genuine study.

    http://ec.europa.eu/food/plant/protection/evaluation/existactive/list1_glyphosate_en.pdf

    In Europe, they are currently going through a thorough re-evaluation of this chemical to shine some light on its actual affects. This final analysis should be complete by the end of 2014. This assessment is taking place to review if Glyphosate will even be allowed on the market in Europe and Germany.

    You have to see the negative health trends in our country. As a physician, I see them all to closely. As a farmer, I understand the causes all to well. The health crisis we suffer from starts with our food system. FEED THE WORLD is the farmer’s creed. I get it. But there is a price to be paid for feeding the world unhealthy material that simply lines the pockets of GM guru Monsanto and their continued corrupt antics.

    • Using “but they banned it in [x] country” is a terrible argument (and I am going to stay away from any and all comparisons to laws made by European fascist governments in the past 100 years). For example, Brazil had banned the use of electronic cigarettes, although they are demonstrably safer than still-legal cigarettes. As someone who lives in Germany, I can tell you that Germans are certifiable when it comes to organic/non-GMO food. And none of it is based on science; rather, it’s based on being trendy.

      Second of all, please show respect to every scientifically literate person here (particularly the woman to whom you’re replying) and step away from the conspiracy-theory headline. That is, just because the USDA provides information about something does not mean that the information is somehow nullified. The USDA only ever errs on the side of caution, so the science they use is not half-baked–it reflects the consensus of the scientific community. Moreover, what you’re doing is a popular form of evasion: “Oh, but I don’t accept your facts. I accept THESE facts!”

      I respect that you’re trying to be polite. But you’re also not employing scientific or logical modes of argument.

  11. Dr. Oz is a lot more Jerry Springer than he is Dr. on his daytime show. When he’s not groping female guests, he trying to create as much sensationalism as he can without letting facts get in the way. WHAT A FAKE!

  12. Are you trying to dispute the facts that he states, or are you searching to merely devalue anything Dr. Oz says. Has he states there are undeniable facts:
    1. 70-80% of our food contains GMO’s
    2. 1.1 billion lbs of pesticides are used annually
    The last here is a quesstamation
    3. EPA approval will lead to 70-170 million lbs of additional pesticides

    Can you not agree at all Farm Girl that pesticides degrade our environment to some extent?
    I’d like to see where you got your information from.
    Is there long term evidence to prove that it’s not harmful?

    Here’s a link to fact sheet on 2 4-D from NPIC (National Pesticide Information Center), a cooperative effort between Oregon State University and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CEUQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fnpic.orst.edu%2Ffactsheets%2F2%2C4-DTech.pdf&ei=fs4hVKTII9GvigL8o4HQDQ&usg=AFQjCNFzbBCjt6_lC64BqG2h7fAPWGiqxg&sig2=Lm3-UhcLa9PN8gNqV5QJVQ&bvm=bv.75775273,d.cGE

    To me this alone makes for a questionable argument.

    • The “facts” are a little flimsy. 70-80% of products contain products that come through a transgenic plant. That’s the fact. It does not “contain GMOs” which is a stupid statement. You cannot tell a difference between sugar from a GM sugar beet and sugar from organic sugar cane (if there was such a thing). Next, yes, pesticides (lumping fungicide, insecticides and herbicided into one pile for risk manufacture) are used, but the last decades have brought herbicides that are virtually harmless, plus equipment that applies them with precision. Next, GM crops cut insecticide use by at least 50%.

      The fact sheet is a good thing to post- thanks for that. If I had to use something, I’d want it to have this profile. If anyone has questions I’m glad to answer them. I know 2,4-D well, use it all the time in many ways.

    • Pix, thank you for reading and commenting. I think much of what you asked/posted has been answered by other posters. My information is coming from my personal experience living, making a living from a farm. Our families live here, play here. . . my children are in the fields with their dad and grandfather. It behooves me to know what is happening, how we farm and why. As kevinfolta has stated, today’s herbicides are far less toxic than in the past and the equipment and methods of application we use on farm allows us to precise and efficient. I think we’re are only getting better. But that’s just my experience from my farm. . .

  13. Chemicals are highly regulated. You must be licensed to apply them and can only do so after a PCA has written a req can it be done, at least in California. Farmers don’t apply them when it is windy…not only for the protection of others and their crops, but cost wise, it would be a waste of money to apply it when it is blowing instead of sticking to the crop it is intended for. There are no better conservationists in the world than farmers. They try to grow the best production of the best quality with the least resources available. They do not do unnecessary things to their crops, soil or water. It would come right off of their bottom line first and if it harms the resources they need to be successful, it is defeating its purpose. Yes, chemical companies are in the business to make money….who isn’t? But, if they do harm, especially knowingly, it will not only cut off their profits, but they may lose everything in costly lawsuits. If you have a problem with production agriculture, then by all means buy certified organic. It is your choice.

  14. Glyphosate and 2,4,D are herbicides, they are not pesticides. Herbicides kill weeds, pesticides kill bugs. 2,4,D has been around for over 50 years and is the weed killer of choice in most of your lawn products like weed and feed, etc.
    GMO’s do reduce the amount of pesticides needed because they make the plant fight off the pests you would normally have to spray for. Crops are also modified to resist being killed off by certain kinds of herbicides. The weeds die and the plant continues to live.
    Millions on this earth die daily from starvation but no one has ever died from eating GMO food. Think about it.

  15. Pamela, I think you must have forgotten about The HR 933 Provision, or Monsanto Protection Act. This was clearly designed for Monsanto to be protected from litigation when the real truth about the harm of GE foods. It is one thing to earn a profit, it is another to earn a profit at the cost of our health with no penalties.

    • It’s called the Farmer Assurance Provision. If there are lawsuits filed AFTER the crop is planted, this allows farmers to finish the growing season, including selling what is produced without Monsanto going after them. The text: Sec. 735. In the event that a determination of non-regulated status made pursuant to section 411 of the Plant Protection Act is or has been invalidated or vacated, the Secretary of Agriculture shall, notwithstanding any other provision of law, upon request by a farmer, grower, farm operator, or producer, immediately grant temporary permit(s) or temporary deregulation in part, subject to necessary and appropriate conditions consistent with section 411(a) or 412(c) of the Plant Protection Act, which interim conditions shall authorize the movement, introduction, continued cultivation, commercialization and other specifically enumerated activities and requirements, including measures designed to mitigate or minimize potential adverse environmental effects, if any, relevant to the Secretary’s evaluation of the petition for non-regulated status, while ensuring that growers or other users are able to move, plant, cultivate, introduce into commerce and carry out other authorized activities in a timely manner: Provided, That all such conditions shall be applicable only for the interim period necessary for the Secretary to complete any required analyses or consultations related to the petition for non-regulated status: Provided further, That nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting the Secretary’s authority under section 411, 412 and 414 of the Plant Protection Act.[1]
      Without this provision we would have been forced to destroy the crop. It would then be only the farmer losing money.

      • Thank you, Joan, for explaining what that law is really about! By the time harvest rolls around, we are hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt on our family farm. The only way to pay the money back is to harvest and sell the crop. If we were suddenly forced to destroy it, or prevented from selling it, it would be devastating not only to ourselves personally, but to our entire community.

  16. I haven’t forgotten anything…if you took the time to read the language of the section instead of buying into the hype and slanted interpretations, you would see that there is nothing about GE foods mentioned. There is nothing specific to Monsanto. There is wording that gives some protection to real farmers, with nothing to hide…and the GMO farmers have a time limit. It extends those protections to the growers of heritage crops. It appears to be designed to restrict the spread of plant pests and noxious weeds. And….there is not a bill that is put before Congress that doesn’t have totally unrelated components tucked into it to get them passed. Sad but true.

  17. This show makes me so tired. I have it on when I’m cooking for my guys in the field because I have such few channels. In the year I have watched it, he has seesawed on every food I can think of. He usually claims that beef is awful, but has lately been promoting high protein diets, including beef. Don’t the people who religiously support him see his ambiguities? On top of that, he has been in lawsuits due to false information, yet I have friends who still like him. How sad. Perhaps it’s because he appears to offer easy solutions to difficult problems???

  18. I found a lot of informative stuff in your article.

  19. The job of educating the American public about current farming methods is an important one. Most people are too many generations removed from the farm to understand how it works. We are fighting a huge propaganda machine that grew from just a few folks. Ladies, we can do the same over time. I’ve taken to responding to the comments sections in news stories that come out full of propaganda. Since I took over the farm after my husband died, I decided that if I’m going to feed 155 people every year, I am going to try to educate the same number. In the last two weeks I was successful in getting 10 people to do some personal research on agricultural websites and to develop relationships with farmers so they can get their information straight from the source. We farm women may be few but we’re a resourceful, hearty breed that can do great things.

  20. I would simply like to thank you, Ms Illinois Farm Girl for having a website where people in all walks of life can have a discussion about important things that affect us all. While you and I may not agree on things, at least we DO understand how important the freedom to do so actually is – and is worth fighting for. Thanks….

  21. I cannot concur more with your article. As a turf expert i have “green”(read uneducated and delusional friends who cry Monsanto and poison at every turn. They dont even know how a simple product like glyphosate works on plants. I read an article the other day that claimed that the surfactant in all gly products is a separate toxin. I remember thinking that well yes, if you drink enough Dawn dish soap you will die. You will likewise die if you drink too much water. Some pesticides are highly toxic, but not applied at recommended rates diluted in water at a spray height of 16 inches on grass. This lunacy has to stop. Its like another red scare.

  22. As a farmer, this article is disgraceful. How can you defend the use of toxins on food. I’m absolutely baffled. Monsanto loves to spend their money on putting small farmers out of business everyday. If you choose to do the right thing (using organic, toxin free, and sustainable growing practices) often times your crops are left to be infected by the patented gmo crops growing nearby. Meanwhile companies like Monsanto send sneaky little agents in the dead of night to test your crops. After is it proven that their franken crops have infected yours, they spend untold amounts of money using you and ruining your family’s livelihood. You should be ashamed to be part of a system that is ruining farming in this country!

    • Bob, your comments aren’t ringing of much truth. I support all types of farming and farmers and believe that we all have a place at the table, so to speak, to farm in a manner that provides a marketplace, a family a livelihood, and a community stability. Agriculture in all its forms can do just that. My Farmer and I are young farmers raising the 8th generation of farmers. We seek ways to be sustainable, honor our family’s legacy and reduce our environmental footprint. What works for us may not work for another. And that’s okay.

    • Bob, you do not sound like you speak from experience. I am a farmer and I disagree with almost everything you have said. Monsanto is a company. I don’t love them I don’t hate them but the controversy surrounding them is just hype.

    • Bob, can you name a farmer Monsanto has sued for a non-GMO field being accidentally pollinated?

  23. Why Monsanto does not want you to ‘know’ there are GMOs in your food:
    Unless you work in agriculture, take lots of science courses, or are studying to do something with food, most of the population only understands what media tells us…GMOs=Bad. So now you go to the store, see GMO on your hamburger helper and all of the sudden you are ‘scared’ of it. While there are many reasons processed foods should scare you, GMOs aren’t among them. The genetic modifications are designed to affect the biology of insects, not humans. GMO does not equal more pesticide. Once further education is done, there would be no harm in labeling; however, at this point it would cause unnecessary damage.

  24. Having worked in agriculture industry, I remind myself that homeowners use and misuse pesticides also many wanting to be told how to use a product rather than read the label, the label is the law. Those in the ag sector and their families consume the end product. If we don’t have safe, reliable food, clean air and safe water, what else really matters? My greatest concern is food imported into this country, not produced according to US standards and not inspected prior to being purchased or consumed.

  25. Love the post! The wizard of OZ is all about the ratings, and the information on his show has lost all credibility. Of course he would fail to mention that this is just a tank mix of 2 already available chemicals. What we do not need is more uneducated and unwarranted fear surrounding agriculture. Keep up the good work!

  26. To all you organic milk drinkers out there. The organic milk dairies use tons and tons of copper sulfate, a heavy metal, on their dairies. Its like herpes in that when it ends up in the manure and the manure is spread onto their fields it builds up and builds up potentially sterilizing the soils. Nothing mines copper out of the soil. So you keep supporting that organic industry chief. All that copper sulfate sterilant is approved for organic dairy use.

    • So, I am an organic dairy farmer and we have used copper sulfate for footcare. However, I think it is extreme to say it is like herpes or that we use tons and tons. We have our soils sampled every year and we have an 8% organic matter(which is very high) and all our components are right on for very healthy soil. We do have other tools as well. Have you worked on an organic dairy to see how they are using copper sulfate and in what quanities? Conventional dairies use it as well for the same reason and I’m guessing their soil is healthy as well.

  27. I find it interesting that some folks, I maintain a small% of the population, yell and scream a lot about agriculture and farming yet never have valid, real, workable alternatives to Real problems that farmers have. It is my humble opinion these folks actually hate Monsanto not because of GMOs but because they hate corporations more and free market capitalism just as much.

  28. Concerned consumer

    Nothing here to convince me (a consumer) that pesticides are safe:
    http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/2,4-DTech.pdf
    I don’t disagree that farmer’s need tools, but humans need a safe food source too.

  29. Dr. Oz is a tool, alarmist and a ratings whore, but he makes some valid points at times. I didn’t watch that show, I don’t need to. The issue here is the economics affecting the food we eat and the environment we live in. I like this Wired article for what I feel is a fair view from the other side. If anyone cares to read it they will discover the other real alternatives to the train wreck that is chemical dependency. http://www.wired.com/2014/09/new-gm-crops/?mbid=social_twitter

  30. Why would I spend 7-15 bucks an acre to let it drift on to school children and women? I need that chemical on the weeds and bugs! I’m not made of money or have the time to go back and respray or spot spray a 250 acre field. Let me be the first to tell you farmers are using every precaution to spray in good conditions. The drift in the windiest conditions I’d spray in might be 10-15 yards at most

  31. Of course a farmer is going to deny the claims made my Dr. Oz, Dr.’s, and scientists..after all its their lively hood. I have been in the health food industry for years and have kept up with the science and studies. I believe GMO products and pesticides are a definite contributing factor to autism, cancer, parkinsons, etc.

    • Gina, hopefully, you read through some of the comments to the post. If so you will have found some farmers who also agree with some of Dr. Oz’s assertions. Regardless, sharing information based on fear and not fact does not help farmers, consumers or our collective health and well-being. If you have any thing to support your stated opinion, please feel free to share. The folks over at Biofortified are collecting studies regarding GMOs. Check out http://genera.biofortified.org/.

  32. You are dead wrong, Farm girl, on a couple of points. Crops have indeed been modified to increase yield…USA 1960’s, wheat, at least. You getting this wrong troubles me about your other conclusions. Second, its also YOUR living that you are protecting; possibly at the cost of human lives.

    • David, yes crops have been bred through conventional means with the end goal of increased yields. In many conversations (i.e. this particular Dr. Oz episode), hybrids are not considered genetically modified crops. I would contend otherwise, but that’s my opinion. In most cases, the assumed definition of a genetically modified organism is a seed to which a gene has been introduced in order that the plant can resist certain herbicides or insecticides or fight off an insect itself. This process is NOT meant to expressly increase yields but meant to protect the yield. These introduced genes help protect the crop from pressures that would otherwise reduce yield.

      And yes, I am fighting to protect my living, the one that is seven generations strong, in this family; a living which provides my family, my community, my country and my world with food, feed, fuel and fiber. I have a vested interest in pursing safe and science based practices because my family’s lives depend upon that.

  33. Farmer's Daughter

    I think it is understood by most people that the commonly used term “GMO pesticide” does not mean a genetically modified pesticide. It means a pesticide – more accurately, a herbicide – that can used on GMO crops that have been engineered to withstand the herbicide. That attempt to debunk Dr. Oz is feeble at best. It makes one wonder how civilization ever survived without herbicides to kill weeds. The timeless method proven to promote crop growth while inhibiting the growth of weeds has been to plow. I think the real motive for GMO crops that resist Roundup is not to “feed the world” at all, but an effort to cut costs, both manpower and fuel, of plowing. Just my opinion. Also, 2, 4 D is closer akin to Weed-B-Gone than it is to Agent Orange. It was the dioxin and close components of – but not the same thing as 2, 4 D – that were in Agent Orange. Revardless, I’m eating organic whenever possible, to avoid the chemicals and also because organic foods simply taste better.

    • The abundance of photo shopped images portraying GMOs as tomatoes with syringes hanging from them, or a field of wheat with a sign “GMOs Here” or my recent conversation with a woman who thought the seeds of corn came from the tassel of the plant, leads me to believe that most people do not have the basic understanding of what is genetically modified organism, let alone what a GMO pesticide would or would not be.

      While plowing is one way to control weeds, it is also one way to increase soil erosion and decrease soil health. Thus the move to minimum till and no-till farming practices which reduces soil erosion and increase organic matter in soil leading to improved soil health. On our farm, we’ve been able to adopt these practices more, because we can control weed pressure in one or two applications of herbicide, which means one or two passes over the field. Prior to, we were in the field cultivating, plowing, and applying a variety of herbicides at various times throughout the growing season to eliminate weed pressure. A picture of a farmer on a plow is a romantic vision of days of yore, but probably not the best for our soils. Finally, biotechnology does give farmers an option to cut costs, reduce inputs (fuel included) and protect their yield. These days farmers can feed 155 people versus 25 in 1960. This isn’t because of gm-crops, but because farmers are better, hybrids are better, knowledge is better, etc.

      And because farmers have all these choices on how to raise food, you as a consumer have choices on what to purchase and eat.

  34. What you ” believe ” are causes doesn’t make it so. There is absolutely no facts to back up your assursion just fear mongering.

  35. You Americans can be the experiment, when you all die from all the crap you allow them to spray on your food , we can see the results and learn from your mistakes, so keep going the worrld is watching

  36. Many times, it takes a performer to over-act, to reach out to many people, to take action. Too often many tend to be apathetic when it comes to issues of food source/chemicals/pesticides and health issues. I respect the farmer’s contribution on a daily basis, and when it comes to pesticides/herbicides/fungicides I do not want these chemicals in my body, which is why I support organic farmers. Whatever it takes to motivate people to sign a petition to address the health issues with pesticides, which has a deadline of 10/22/14 – I’m for it…
    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/demand-president-step-oppose-epa%E2%80%99s-approval-new-24-d-resistant-genetically-engineered-crops/sy38Vm0s

    • I’m for people having choices as well, and would hope that individuals would do their research to be comfortable and confident in those choices for themselves and their families. You have the choice of organic food because farmers have the choice to produce that way. Enlist Duo is another choice for farmers, like me, who have chosen to farm conventionally. If people want to sign a petition, they can. I just hope they sign it knowing the facts according to reality and not the facts as found in the land of Oz.

  37. Was just wondering – Does Dr. Oz ever respond with an episode based on the comments opposing his view point?
    Especially this particular topic.

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