You don’t see so many Monarch butterflies in the Midwest United States as you did a few years ago. Why? Their primary food source – milkweed– has all but disappeared. A recent study published in the journal Insect Conservation and Diversity cites the increased use of GM Roundup Ready corn and soybeans as the culprit.
For the past 17 years, butterfly populations have steadily declined as the usage of GM corn and soy crops has increased. In 2007, commercial farmers spread 185 million pounds of glyphosate herbicide over their crops – that’s 5 times the amount used in 1997.
How does a GM plant work? A genetically modified plant is actually classified and registered as a pesticide with the Environmental Protection Agency. Genes are inserted into the plant to change its molecular structure so that every cell of the plant produces a pesticide. Once an insect bites and swallows part of the GM plant, poison literally splits open its stomach and kills it.
Recent studies show that declining Monarch butterfly populations aren’t the only adverse effects of GM use. Malformations, birth defects in animals, cancer, genetic damage and other serious effects have been linked to low doses of glyphosate herbicide (AKA Roundup Ready) use.
Is there a better way? As a customer, you have more power than you realize. Of course, organic offers a better way. Every time you choose an organic product, you are saying “no, thank you” to genetically modified crops and “yes, please” to biodiversity.
Like all organic farms, Reedy Fork Organic Dairy Farm never relies on genetically modified anything. When you buy Reedy Fork organic dairy products or feed, you choose quality for yourself and a better world for the next generation. So drink your milk. Have another delicious serving of delicious yogurt or cheese. Organic choices add up and truly make a huge difference.
Photo courtesy of Emerging Birder and Flickr.