By BILL TOMSON
Wall Street Journal
U.S. sugar production will be cut by about 20% if farmers are banned from planting genetically modified beets next year, according to data prepared for the U.S. Department of Agriculture as part of a court case over whether to continue allowing the practice.
Genetically modified beets have come to account for 95% of the U.S. sugar-beet crop in the five years since they were approved by the Agriculture Department. But in August, a judge threw out the USDA's initial approval for the use of genetically modified seeds, saying it hadn't done enough research into the environmental impact. The department says the studies the judge required will take about two years.
That triggered concerns there wouldn't be enough traditional sugar-beet seeds for next spring's planting season, as many seed producers had switched to genetically modified varieties. It takes about two years to produce seeds.
Sugar beets, from which sugar is processed, will account for about 60% of domestic U.S. production this year.
If farmers can't plant genetically modified seeds next spring, a shortage of traditional seeds would likely cut 1.6 million tons from next year's sugar-beet crop, according to a declaration by the USDA prepared by Daniel Colacicco, director of the department's dairy and sweetener analysis group. The government has forecast next year's crop at 8.1 million tons. Read More
This falls in line with the typical “shoot first, ask questions later” approach by anti-ag groups in their efforts to force agriculture to change without looking at the consequences. Many of these groups have a similar philosophy to roll ag back 100 years in it’s technology use. What they don’t realize is that these types of things reduce our ability to grow food at the exact time we need to be increasing our output. All of these efforts come from people that live very comfortably and don’t worry about being able to afford food. Those that live on a budget or don’t know where their next meal is coming from would certainly disagree with these elitist attacks on our food production system.