Unprofitable GMOs

Some farmers back off for financial reasons

February 15, 2013

You can make many an argument against genetically modified seeds, including health, the environment, and concerns about agribusiness monopolies. But good ol’ capitalism may turn out to be the real GMO nemesis.

As Farmers Weekly recently reported, some U.S. farmers are rethinking GM seeds, given their high cost and dwindling yields:

“It’s all about cost benefit analysis,” said economist Dan Basse, president of American agricultural research company AgResource. “Farmers are paying extra for the technology but have seen yields which are no better than 10 years ago. They’re starting to wonder why they’re spending extra money on the technology.”

The ice-cream company Ben & Jerry's is making a similar calculation. According to Food Navigator, the company studied recent research and concluded that not only are GM seeds more expensive than conventional seeds, but the problem of pesticide resistance means greater herbicide use and lower yields. So B&J’s has announced that, by the end of 2013, it will phase out all GM products.

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