LETTER: Farmer presents other side of GMO debate

Dear editor,

I am the son of first-generation Ukrainian Canadian parents who homesteaded bush land in the Peace River Country of northwest Alberta in 1943.

I grew up on the family mixed farm, obtained a post-secondary education and worked for others. I then purchased a rundown farm that was polluted with weeds and the soil structure was abysmal. With proper agronomic practices, crop rotations, utilization of commercial fertilizer and judicious use of herbicides, I struggled for some time then prospered as the land responded to my management.

When I retired after 35 years the land was virtually clean of weeds, had high organic matter content, a healthy earthworm population and very good soil tilth.

I am proud that I left this farm in much better condition than what it was when I took it over and I feel that I was a good steward of the land.

Due to my education and experience I try to base my opinions and views on science. Science does not support assertions that food grown organically is healthier and more nutritious nor that “GMO’d” foods are unsafe.

There is no difference between a plant taking up nitrogen (or other nutrients) from commercial fertilizer versus obtaining their nutrition from composted garden waste or cow manure. Anyone that has taken basic chemistry knows that N (nitrogen) is N, no matter where it came from. The term “chemical” to describe commercial fertilizer is a huge misnomer for the nutrients that plants take up from all sources are “chemical.”

There is much debate on whether or not organic food production is sustainable and can produce enough to feed our burgeoning global population. I believe that many innovative practices will evolve in the future, combining selected organic applications, genetic manipulation of plants, new farming procedures (eg. no-till crop production has come into the forefront in last decade) etc. resulting in enhanced food production more in tune with our environment. Our farmers are a very adaptive and resourceful breed.

Len Paulovich

Courtenay

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