Oregon's Transgenic Wheat Finds Just A Fluke

Western Ag Vignettes

Critics jump in where angels fear to tread.

Published on: June 4, 2013

Here we go again. The transgen thrashers have leaped on the incidental find of some escaped experimental seeds of Roundup resistant wheat in Oregon with a frenzy press feeding. That is to be expected in this unfortunate event, and our guards should be up already to such attacks.

We need to continue to respond to these charges with the facts on the importance and safety of trans genetics, and let the critics rant and rave until the day when world population grows to such proportions that the number of hungry people who clamor for bread will drown out their voices.

We are somewhat prepared for the coming global population explosion with the transgenics we already have, but we need far more technology to help ag meet the expanded demand. In my travels and talking with those who are running our variety and farming efficiencies, I am convinced substantial help is in the wings of the lab.

Let's hope, enough.

What I have trouble imagining is these hard-working scientists edging through wonder-science breakthroughs like herbicide resistance, only to know they are the villains in the eyes of many people.  What the researchers are doing is probably some of the most pivotal science of our generation, and we should remember to tip our hat when we meet them.

These are difficult times indeed. It seems we are at historic junctures in society, its government and the economy. It appears that there are some earthshaking new world paradigms afoot that the next generation must face. It is nice to know that the matter of feeding people appears to be in hand, unless foolish regulations tie the hands of our lab technicians. That threat is real when you look at the impressive money behind environmentalists who oppose transgenics.


If green flags fly, they should be in the name of the farmers who have been steadfast in their determination to succeed in yielding sustenance. The real green is in the fields of alfalfa and grains across that fruited plain.

I am getting older – 72 on Memorial Day (I get a flag, too!) – and I say more often to friends and neighbors that I probably will not see it, but that vast changes are in the wind that will alter the fabric of civilization.

Changes that will be wrenching, relentless and blast the icons of our comfort zones. It appears nothing short of such a tsunami-like revolution will be able to build new pathways to tomorrow.

Consider: Good, middle-aged professional people who have been unable to find jobs are quitting the search.

Consider: New technology, always a double-edged sword, is paving the way to more robots to replace man and woman.

Consider: The  American political system has shut down and no longer is forging effective change to address these issues.

Consider: More people are being born that ever before.

Consider:  All farmable land is already planted.

Consider: The fear factor linked to terrorism has us all under constant stress.

I could go on illustrating why I feel we'll need some substantial, riveting alterations in our lives if we want to build a stronger future, but I think you get the picture.

We cannot, as F.Scott said in The Great Gatsby, paddle incessantly into the past.