One of the promises of GMO crops was that they would be more resistant to bugs and pests, however, it seems that the chemicals used on these crops, and the modifications that have been made to their basic structure, have actually created an explosion in pesticide resistant bugs. It was reported this week that genetically modified crops, corn specifically, has created a pesticide resistant rootworm, that is now stronger and more numerous than ever before. To make matters even worse, due to the growing over-infestation, farmers have been forced to use even more of the harmful pesticides that have been known to contribute to cancer, and are suspected of devastating the global honeybee population.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the United States Environmental Protection Agency has taken a recent interest in the rootworm problem, and they are expected to set limits on the amount of genetically modified corn that can be grown in the US.
Bill Jordan, the EPA’s deputy head of pesticide programs said that the problem is getting worse, and suggested that limits are needed to keep the rootworm in check.
“It is getting worse, what’s happened so far hasn’t prevented these problems from arising, so we see need for something more,” Jordan said.
However, the fact that the EPA wants to implement restrictions presents a very interesting problem because it is actually the US government that is responsible for the overproduction of corn in the first place, thanks to massive farm subsidies.
According to EWG farm subsidies, the United States government has put forward over $84 billion between the years of 1995 and 2012, encouraging farmers to plant corn, most of which is used for animal feed and junk food.
Over the past five years, the Farm Bill has distributed $42 billion of our tax dollars to farmers, mainly in the form of direct payments or subsidized crop insurance. Those that qualify for these payments are mostly big commodity firms that grow such crops as corn, wheat, soy, and cotton, and they are paid regardless of crop prices. A majority of these firms are large enough that with the recent rise in commodity prices and without a regulatory limit on how much they can produce, much of the government subsidy gets banked as extra profits. The subsidies not only add to the national debt, but incentivize the overproduction of crops that are the major ingredients in unhealthy foods.
Pesticide resistant rootworms are definitely a problem, and GMO crops are surely to blame, but instead of compounding the issue with more restrictions, it would make much more sense to simply end the billions in subsidies that encourage the production of corn each year.
John Vibes writes for True Activist and is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war.
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