A Rebuttal To the Monsanto Protestors

Prairie Gleanings

Folks love to hate on biotech crops. But, are they offering any of their own solutions?

Published on: May 28, 2013

Last weekend, GMO haters decided to protest Monsanto. On Twitter, Monsanto sent out a Tweet that included my blog on the “research” that says glyphosate is to blame for every disease/health condition known to man.

Since the headline was “Let’s Blame Monsanto’s Glyphosate for Everything! (or not),” I got a few hate Tweets. Apparently anti-GMO protestors in the midst of blaming Monsanto for everything didn’t appreciate the irony of such a blog.

In this blog, I’d like to speak directly to the protestors. I don’t expect to change your opinion of GMOs. But, perhaps some folks on the fence won’t take your anti-GMO stance as the gospel after reading this.

How dare biotech companies produce such large, beautiful ears of corn? Its like theyre trying to feed the world or something.
How dare biotech companies produce such large, beautiful ears of corn? It's like they're trying to feed the world or something.
  1. First off, I can think of five large agribusiness companies off the top of my head that are producing biotech crops. Continually singling out Monsanto only reaffirms they are the market leader. Did you know DuPont (Pioneer’s parent company) had a total revenue three times higher than Monsanto in 2012?
  2. The U.S. population has been consuming GMO crops since the mid-1990s. Despite your links to pseudo studies, I do not think these crops have caused any significant health problems. Any study linking the health conditions with food in the U.S. has to tip-toe around an 800 lb gorilla called the fast food epidemic. I just don’t buy that genetically modified corn, not America’s reliance on cheeseburgers, fries and a Coke as a square meal, is causing obesity.
  3. Regardless of what you think, you cannot grow a crop without pest pressure. Be it bugs, weeds or disease, they all rob yield. Sure, you can hand weed a tomato plot and sprinkle it with magic dust composed of cayenne pepper and deer urine, but that just isn’t feasible for a 100+ acre field. At least not if you want food to remain affordable for everyone.
  4. Howard Buffett made a terrific point in a recent speech. He said the anti-GMO crowd is terrific at protesting genetically modified crops. However, they aren’t bringing any new ideas to the table on how to feed the world’s growing population. I agree completely.
  5. And, yes, GMO crops yield better and feed more people. As Holly Spangler pointed out, farmers aren’t stupid on this matter. They are willing to pay more for GMO seed because it yields better and has built-in insurance. I know it’s a crazy idea, but maybe the folks growing the food actually know what they’re doing. It’s almost as if Samsung and Apple know how to build smartphones. What a shocking idea! 

And now, to the person who asked if I’m on Monsanto’s payroll. No, I am not.

Yes, Prairie Farmer is a trade publication with which Monsanto advertises. However, I do not receive any sort of payments or compensation from Monsanto or other advertisers.

It may be hard to believe, but I think GMOs provide a scientifically-viable way to feed the world’s growing population. I do not think placing naturally-occurring bacteria in crops as a way to fend off pests is causing cancer, heart disease or obesity.

I do think Americans are excellent at playing the blame game. Just look at the folks who sued McDonald’s for their weight problem.

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  9. OligarchyNot says:

    The reason Monsanto genetically modifies corn is so that the plant can withstand large quantities of RoundUp being used on it, not because they are trying to produce a superior ear of corn. People have a right to know what they are putting into their bodies and GMO crops should be labeled as such. That way people can make an informed choice as to whether or not to consume large quantities of RoundUp. If given a choice between cheap GMO corn or expensive non-GMO or organic corn, most people will choose non-GMO corn because no one wants to consume large quantities of RoundUp. No farmer (especially organic farmers) wants their crops to be tainted with Monsanto’s GMO corn. No farmer is intentionally violating Monsanto’s patent on GMO corn, especially organic farmers. I believe Monsanto intentionally cross-pollinates small farmers’ crops so that we eventually only have GMO corn. Then they add insult to injury by suing these small farmers for patent infringement. Why would Monsanto want to do this? Because if all corn is GMO corn and Monsanto owns the patent, the world will have to pay Monsanto every time they want to grow corn instead of using the seeds they get from their own crops. If they can’t afford to buy seeds from Monsanto for every growing season, they can’t grow corn without risking Monsanto suing them. People in some counties have starved because of this. There is something inherently EVIL about a corporation that wants to control our food supply, and wants us all to consume it not knowing how toxic it may be. They want this so badly that they have infiltrated our political system by having corrupt politicians appoint a former Monsanto executive as head of the FDA just so they can successfully fight any legislation to label GMO crops or to control any research into the safety of GMO crops. My solution as to how to keep bugs off crops is to do what small farmers do – hand pick the bugs off. If Monsanto is too big to do that, then they should get out of the corporate farming business and just stick with making horribly toxic, lethal chemicals such as Agent Orange or DDT, and kill us all honestly.

  10. Jonathan Mooney of WWW.spiralcultcircus.com says:

    I support research in genetic engineering. GM offers many solutions to global problems of growing populations, shrinking hydrological resources, and exploration into new frontiers for medical and industrial research. Golden Rice has been developed and tested to fight vitamin A deficiency in the Philippines, and there has already been successes in the creation of cancer and HIV treatments using genetic technologies. But to say that detractors of genetic engineering are not offering other solutions is simply untrue. The market doesn't lie, and profitability of organic farming has long been on par with that of conventional farming. Organic produce does often command a premium price, but not always, and rarely is it a significant premium compared to conventional. Now, of course, we live in a free society and farmers should be free to farm as they will, and consumers free to spend as they will. It is the producer's prerogative to speak to the desires of the consumer. Ultimately, however, most people are indeed opposed to genetically modified crops, whether this opinion is based on scientifically sound evidence or not. So it is the responsibility of the producer to provide them with sound and convincing evidence that their product is not only safe, but superior? After all, Samsung cannot pass legislation leveraging the market in their favor if they believe their product is superior to Apple's smartphone, right? Well, not exactly. Some 93% of consumers in the US support labelling of GM products. Biotech firms have fought long and hard to prevent such laws from passing in our country, while attempting to pass laws allowing modified products to be labelled 'organic'. Not only that, but pollen from GM crops has a nasty habit of contaminating non-GMO plants, as shown in Oaxaca maize, Manitoba canola, and Oregon wheat. The issue is not the choice between GMO or non, the core issue is that consumers are NOT being given a choice, and genetically modified products are replacing conventional options with a disregard for the market's desire for transparency in this matter. Dishonest tactics are not going to win the hearts and minds of consumers.

  11. Mac says:

    It is amazing to me Monsanto and Dupont representatives in business, farming and the media would openly admit the American public has been unwittingly used as guinea pigs by pesticide companies. The argument is: we all haven’t died after 20 years of consumption, so it must be okay. We’re not dead, but are we well? Why aren’t there more studies on the dramatic increases in food allergies, inflammatory diseases, IBS, infertility, and resultant infant mortality, diabetes, unusual tumors, cancers, etc. The increase in occurrence corresponds to the gradual introduction of GMOs into the food supply. The illnesses in humans mirror illnesses in animals who underwent recent, long term, independent animal testing of GMO foods. Like these test animals, many Americans are reactive to GMO foods. I am allergic to GMO soy. When I eat even a small amount of GMO soy, my tissue swells and I get pancake sized hives. Tests for soy allergies were negative. However, the doctor didn’t know if the test allergin was GMO soy. Nobody seems to know. Would Monsanto give permission to use patented GMO soy and other GMO organisms in allergy testing? Not likely. But the medical community is sending up red flags. Doctors tell patients with abdominal pain to stop eating processed foods. Dr. Oz does a show on the dangers of GMOs and then apologizes. American hospitals suddenly stop distributing soy based baby formulas and encourage breast feeding. So, why are doctors afraid to openly admit the current epidemic of digestive health problems and increases in infant mortality rates might be due to GMO consumption? Monsanto is incredibly aggressive, using lawsuits and leveraging the media, funding agencies and governments to strong-arm opposition? Companies such as Monsanto and Dupont now have so much money and power they have achieved an effective stranglehold on worldwide scientific research and infiltrated the American educational and political systems. Wake up! We have let the fox into the henhouse. Farmers in the Midwest are not folding because they are accepting Monsanto’s false promise of ending world hunger. Farmers are being bullied into giving up conventional farming for expensive, unsustainable farming practices and a GMO monoculture. Why? Not to save the poor. As Henry Kissinger said, “Who controls the food supply controls the people; who controls the energy can control whole continents; who controls money can control the world. “ So, last question. Why are Bill Gates and his cronies stockpiling heritage seeds and investing in organic hydroponic farming and gigantic greenhouse systems. They want to survive the world crisis their think tanks tell them is coming in the next 20 years. But let the poor eat GMO…maybe it will “solve” the population problem.

  12. Ross says:

    ""A new peer-reviewed study published in the International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability examined those claims and found that conventional plant breeding, not genetic engineering, is responsible for yield increases in major U.S. crops. Additionally, GM crops, also known as genetically engineered (GE) crops, can’t even take credit for reductions in pesticide use. The study’s lead author, Jack Heinemann, is not an anti-biotechnology activist, as Monsanto might want you to believe. “I'm a genetic engineer." The study compared major crop yields and pesticide use in North America, which relies heavily on GE crops, and Western Europe, which grows conventionally bred non-GE crops. "Heinemann’s group found that between 1985 and 2010, Western Europe has experienced yield gains at a faster rate than North America for all three crops measured. That means that the U.S., which grows mostly GE corn, and Canada, which grows mostly GE canola, are not doing as well as Europe, which grows non-GE corn and canola. The increases in corn yields in the U.S. have remained relatively consistent both before and after the introduction of GE corn." “There’s no evidence that [GE crops] have given us higher yields,” says Heinemann. “The evidence points exclusively to breeding as the input that has increased yields over time." In addition to increasing crop yields faster, European nations have also reduced pesticides more than we have. “The US and US industry have been crowing about the reduction in chemical insecticide use with the introduction of Bt crops [GE crops that produce their own pesticide],” says Heinemann. “And at face value, that's true. They've gone to about 85 percent of the levels that they used in the pre-GE era. But what they don't tell you is that France went down to 12 percent of its previous levels. France is the fourth biggest exporter of corn in the world, one of the biggest exporters of wheat, and it's only 11 percent of the size of the U.S."" http://www.alternet.org/food/why-monsanto-wrong-about-gm-crop-promises?page=0%2C3&paging=off

  13. Gail says:

    Josh, you are way out in left field on this one. As a producer in Kansas I can tell you farming without GMO’s, can, and is, being done. I have basically been 100% non-GMO on my farm for 2 years (if 1600 acres is big enough for you) I agree that cayenne and deer urine are not the answer. Intensity, and diversity are. I follow all of my cash crops with covers, never till and put an emphasis on soil health as it ties directly to healthier food, and yes, we are proving that with science. I am not sure where you got your data on GMO’s out yielding non-GMOs, but it is a scientific fact that GMO soybeans do not nodulate as well as non-GMO. Oops, they forgot to mention that when they were released. Another reason for me to plant non-GMO, (as if healthier food isn’t enough) There are premiums being paid for non GMO, and that tells me the consumer is demanding it.

    • Josh Flint of www.farmprogress.com says:

      I realize that non-GMO yields can be on par, if not better, than GMO crops. But, as more corporate seed sources marry the best germplasm with biotechnology, I’m not sure that will always be the case. Additionally, you are putting in a lot of effort on your 1,600 acre farm. That’s awesome! I wish more farmers were willing to work that hard. GMOs do typically make farming easier. Lastly, I would point out you enjoy a premium for non-GMO grain because GMO grain is so prevalent. Take away GMOs, and you’re not producing non-GMO grain anymore. You’re just growing grain.

  14. Michele says:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/bethhoffman/2012/10/26/the-myth-of-feeding-the-world/ http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/agriculture/problem/genetic-engineering/feeding-the-world-facts-vers/

    • Josh Flint of www.farmprogress.com says:

      I watched the 6 min Forbes video. Curious that labor wasn’t mentioned once in the sustainable farm plan. We can’t get enough folks to pick tomatoes in the U.S. Where are all the ag workers going to come from? Also, sure we have a lot of excess calories in developed countries. So, everyone is just going to stop eating meat? Does that seem realistic? There were a lot of flashy graphics in that 6.5 minute video. Unfortunately, there were even more unanswered questions. I didn’t go to the GreenPeace link. I consider them a very poor source of information.

  15. GMO Positives says:

    GMOs in medicine and research Table of Contents Introduction GMOs in agriculture GMOs in medicine and research Role of GMOs in environmental management Sociopolitical relevance of GMOs Related Contributors & Bibliography GMOs have emerged as one of the mainstays of biomedical research since the 1980s. For example, GM animal models of human genetic diseases enabled researchers to test novel therapies and to explore the roles of candidate risk factors and modifiers of disease outcome. GM microbes, plants, and animals also revolutionized the production of complex pharmaceuticals by enabling the generation of safer and cheaper vaccines and therapeutics. Pharmaceutical products range from recombinant hepatitis B vaccine produced by GM baker’s yeast to injectable insulin (for diabetics) produced in GM Escherichia coli bacteria and to factor VIII (for hemophiliacs) and tissue plasminogen activator (tPA, for heart attack or stroke patients), both of which are produced in GM mammalian cells grown in laboratory culture. Furthermore, GM plants that produce “edible vaccines” are under development. Such plants, which are engineered to express antigens derived from microbes or parasites that infect the digestive tract, might someday offer a safe, cheap, and painless way to provide vaccines worldwide, without concern for the availability of refrigeration or sterile needles. Novel DNA vaccines may be useful in the struggle to prevent diseases that have proved resistant to traditional vaccination approaches, including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and cancer. The anti GMO crowd better watch what you wish for, as it may be to your own undoing.

  16. GMO says:

    Lets ask these people about GMO's http://scienceblogs.com/erv/2012/12/11/gmo-virus-cures-kid-of-cancer-mainstream-media-finally-interested/ http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/cancer-halted-in-five-patients-after-treatment-with-own-genetically-modified-cells-8544693.html

  17. First GMO says:

    It's apparent that a majority of the public doesn't know what a GMO is. Here are the first GMO's. 1980 The U.S. Supreme Court in Diamond v. Chakrabarty rules that genetically altered life forms can be patented. The decision allows the Exxon Oil Company to patent an oil-eating microorganism. 1982 The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves the first genetically engineered drug, Genentech's Humulin, a form of human insulin produced by bacteria. This is the first consumer product developed through modern bioengineering. Having coffee with my fellow farmers, and we've come to the conclusion that they are several dumb people out there and this is the dumbing down of America and we cannot reason with any of you.

    • Josh Flint of www.farmprogress.com says:

      I agree. So many hear the word GMO and they automatically toss every scary myth about ag into the pot. Someone just Tweeted me a meme about staying out of a field because pesticides were recently applied with the hashtag #notoGMO. Ummm...pesticides are used in the production of non-GMO crops. In fact, they typically require even more pesticides.

  18. Iowa Farmer says:

    Who there are a lot of people out there who don't even know what GMO's are. They are misinformed, mislead, and believe the hype from some radicals rather than real science. I have seen great increases in yield from my BT/RW/ RR corn and am using less chemicals, and very little insecticides compared to the past. Just what I want to do is go back to the days of more Atrazine, more residual herbicides,more Aztec, more Lorsban, etc. Some of you people better watch what you wish for.

  19. Bob C. says:

    I raise organic row crops and cattle in eastern Nebraska. I live at the center of this controversy. I’ve read many of the authors referenced here with much enthusiasm (Skow, Albrect, Kinsey, Brunetti, et al). I’ve also attended my share of conferences and heard them speak (save for Albrect). What strikes me most about this conversation is the level of affluence we have attained to be arguing about this subject at all. A close second is the level of ignorance about the true difficulty of making a living as a farmer by the general public. It is extremely easy to gather information to prove nearly any point that one would like to make. It is extremely hard to make a living farming over long periods of time. Most of the farmers in the area that I live are farming land that has been in their family for 100 years or more. This means they have survived several periods of extremely hard times. They are extremely practical, smart and independent (with emphasis) men and women. I would caution any well fed verbal bomb throwers – it is very easy to be wrong while seeing the logic in one’s line of thought and it is very easy to make proscriptions and miss subtle (but extremely important) underlying facts. To paraphrase the aforementioned Dr. Albrect: “Read books, but objectively observe. If observation conflicts with reading, go with observation.” If he were alive today he may add, “. . . and be careful about what you watch on YouTube.”

  20. Tejas says:

    "I just don’t buy that genetically modified corn, not America’s reliance on cheeseburgers, fries and a Coke as a square meal, is causing obesity." Well, Josh let us know right away he has no idea how many GMO corn ingredients are included in those "cheeseburgers, fries" AND "a Coke". Any thinking person can read through this and see he's just another blowhard without any proper sense. And feeding the world is wonderful! But why are we putting a monopolistic price on the world's hungry? This nutrient-deficient muck is a hindrance, not a help, to this planet.

    • thabe331 says:

      Well someone missed the point completely

    • biojunky says:

      The French fries are made of corn?

      • ron jeremy says:

        maybe the oil used to fry those delicious fries you eat with the big kahoona burger

      • dana says:

        GM potatoes fried in GM corn,and canola oil. You're right, you can't fix stupid

      • J J says:

        You can cure hunger with GMO, but you can't cure stupid.

  21. Bob says:

    If you have not heard or seen real solutions or alternative then you have been looking with with your eyes closed and hands over your ears. There are very real solutions that do not involve GMOs or magic deer urine, or whatever you called it. Here's a hint: Google Dave Brandt, Gabe Brown, Jill Clapperton, Ray Archuleta, Dwayne Beck, Gail Fuller, Collin Seis - just for starters. You should have done this research for yourself already and maybe you wouldn't have embarrassed yourself with this. BTW, as others have already said, we do NOT have a food shortage problem, we have political power and greed problem(s). Food, much like money, is power. And corrupt people use it. And no, I didn't protest Monsanto, but this "article" almost makes me wish I had. Incredible! I could go on.

    • Tejas says:

      Absolutely. HEY! Let's say the GMO creations really do turn out to be safe (despite loads upon loads of reports that say otherwise, where health is being effected everywhere these are legal) - the other question is this: Are we comfortable allowing our food, the very essence of our lives, to be owned as a property that we must work to pay a corporate giant for? Is it a slave system, under a small dictate of Kingship, where they are apparently doing us the "favor" of letting us live at all?

      • Josh Flint of www.farmprogress.com says:

        Despite what many believe, farmers still have a choice as to what seed they purchase. For evidence, read the above comment from "Gail." Monsanto is an enterprising company in a capitalistic country. So is Walmart, Ford, Apple, etc.

  22. RayChillA says:

    biodynamic farming. there's a solution. builds up the nutrients in the soil, thereby keeping the bugs away. also keeps desertification from happening, because it's actually building the topsoil. we need less monoculture.

  23. Peggy says:

    Even if GMOs are not unhealthy, pne of their reasons for existing is: they allow the additional use of pesticides. And pesticides are well-documented to cause health problems, as well as to kill all of the many beneficial organisms in the soil that make biology work. Return to healthy soil teeming with good bacteria and good bugs and the rest takes care of itself. Yes, weeding is a fact of organic farming, but nature builds in even weed control in a field where nature is allowed to take its course.

  24. sharon says:

    There is no shortage of food. We have always had more than enough food to fee the world. We waste tons of food each year. It doesnt get to those who need it. Studies have proved this, look it up!

  25. Kristin says:

    The only valid point the author makes here is that there are more companies besides Monsanto. The issue with "not enough food" for the world has more to do with politics and property rights than our ability to grow enough. How much Round Up Ready corn is being grown for ethanol production, a government subsidized effort that produces a poor quality fuel? How much per acre in subsidies from our tax dollars go into growing all this corn & soy? What about Monsanto's aggressive legal actions against innocent farmers that have had their own seed crops contaminated? There is more to this issue than just the questions of herbicide & pesticide use and the safety for human consumption.

    • Steph says:


  26. Bob says:

    Monsanto's Roundup herbicide found to destroy testosterone, male fertility... http://www.naturalnews.com/035135_Roundup_herbicide_testosterone.html

    • Ah, THAT must be why the world population is dropping so fast.

    • Thabe331 says:

      Post a reputable source

  27. Steph says:

    I do strongly agree with point #4 -- without offering other solutions for feeding the world and dealing with pests/crop failures/drought/etc, simply protesting GMOs is not going to stop them from widespread usage. Lots of small organizations and farmers are out there working on alternative, small scale, non-GMO, more biodiverse methods of farming -- they need all the research and market support they can get, in my opinion. The disparity of research funding that goes towards biotech vs organic permaculture is a major problem for developing viable alternatives to GMOs.

  28. Steph says:

    To Amy, who said: "Isn't RoundUp Ready corn called just that because it has the Round Up already in it? You don't spray it because it IS the insecticide. And then we are expected to eat it but not allowed to blame it for any health problems? This really makes no sense." RoundUp Ready crops are made to be able to withstand Roundup, so they can be sprayed a lot without problems. As for the stats on pesticide usage going down -- the VAST majority of GMO crops are Roundup Ready corn and soy and the usage of Roundup Ready crops has done nothing to reduce herbicide use.

  29. serendipity says:

    This is an informative article that helps people new to the subject or on the fence about GMOs...I'm hoping Josh will take the time to educate himself!! http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/exposing-truth-about-gmos

  30. Lauren says:

    As a 3rd generation farmer, I can see clearly that you have never had first-hand experience, on your own land, with GMO crops. If you had, you would know intimately the tragedy of big investment, poor yields, and constant chemical exposure. Once upon a time, farming did not require hazmat suits. Have you ever taken a drive down a dirt road in the midwest? Have you ever stopped and talked to some of these farmers over a cup of coffee? I have, and always hear some version of this story: "My wife died of breast cancer at the age of 40, my kid has ADHD and can't function without Ritalin, and now I have a tumor on my lung. I have to spend thousands of dollars on pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizer to get these damn crops to yield, and when they do, it's never like the company promised. I've taken a second job in town to keep the farm afloat, and year after year I find myself deeper in debt to these companies." Josh, open your eyes, man! Upon writing this article, YOU just became part of the problem. YOU just made a move that will undermine the future of farming, and the health and well-being of farmers. You have no business writing for a farm journal. You might as well go take that public relations job with Monsanto. I'm sure they will write you a nice, fat check. Oh, and speaking of fat, enjoy that cheeseburger, fries, and Coke. Those foods are all loaded with GMO ingredients and chemical residues. I'll stay over here and stick to my non-commodity organic veggies and pasture-raised meat, which, by the way, far out-produce any conventional ag growing system. Sorry, dude. Your 'facts' don't hold water. A cursory hour of research before publishing your article would have saved you a lot of grief.

    • Cheri says:

      Thank You Lauren. Very well said!

  31. Jon Lake says:

    You work for Prairie Farmer, Monsanto advertises with Prairie Farmer, therefore you are presumed to be controlled by Monsanto. If you write something that Monsanto doesn't like, they bring pressure on you through your own management to cease and desist. That is how the corporate world works. What the GMO protesters say is not gospel, but neither is what you say. Every intelligent person must examine available "facts" for themselves to determine what is fact and what is distortion or outright lies. Monsanto has a bad history of lying to the public. I choose not to trust what Monsanto says because of that.

  32. Kris says:

    As a small farmer, I know for a fact that crops can be grown without pesticides. The product contains many more nutrients since more nutrients are required in the soil to achieve this. The goal is quality, not quantity. It doesn't do any good to "feed the world" if you are feeding them junk. People should buy directly from farmers. You are dead wrong that GMO's produce more yield. They have also been found to cause reproductive problems in those populations that embrace them, like Argentina. Thousands of Indian farmers have committed suicide over poor GMO yields: http://www.naturalcuresnotmedicine.com/2013/05/why-thousands-of-indian-farmers-commit.html and here is Argentina: http://www.digitaljournal.com/blog/20835 Look at the farmers themselves, and then decide.

  33. Was corn "broken" that it needed to be "fixed?" Generally speaking, organic farming outproduces GMO monoculture. So GMO doesn't get the automatic win there. (Organic also tends to be more drought-resistant, and the leftover crops don't kill cattle eating it for fodder, as has been happening with spent cotton plants in India for many years now, leading to thousands of farmers committing suicide when, incidentally, their yields do NOT go up while their cattle are dying in the fields.) Corn prices started going up and corn availability for food started going down when we started growing corn for fuel instead of merely for food. Politics was the problem there, not scarcity. GMO doesn't win there either. The pesticides and herbicides used on GMO crops have created their own new "superbugs" and "superweeds" as organisms are becoming resistant to Roundup and BT toxins. GMO only got a temporary win there. (And if you want to open the Pandora's Box of what those chemicals are doing to the planet, be my guest; if it doesn't horrify you, you can't possibly have a heart.) Oh, and we already grow enough food to feed the whole planet and then some. It isn't the fault of non-GMO growers that HUGE piles of food are left on docks to rot, sometimes in view of the very people starving from their lack. Nobody needs to propose an alternative to a solution that wasn't needed in the first place. We HAD the solution, which was growing organic food. Or, as our grandparents (and some of our parents) called it, "food."

    • Thabe331 says:

      well that sounded more bitchy than talk radio. WHY DO THINGS HAVE TO CHANGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  34. will hooker's FREE permaculture class, from north carolina state university. http://mediasite.online.ncsu.edu/online/Catalog/Full/f5a893e74b7c4b7980fd52dcd1ced71521

  35. Amber says:

    #1 true, however Monsanto's history of DEET, agent orange, etc make it a good target. #2 children of the 90s are not senior citizens yet. How many will make it there? Do you discredit other studies, simply because they weren't conducted by you? Or are yours more valid because you will profit from positive results? #3 ever hear of permaculture? Or maybe it's time for farms to start downsizing. #4 ever hear of Joel Salatin? I'm pretty sure you have. Also see point #3. #5 They may feed, but don't nourish. The soil has the added NPK but has been stripped of trace minerals. They certainly haven't shown to stand up to the stresses of drought, and have also caused the loss of many lives, our own to disease, but namely the husbands and fathers in India. Are 55+ countries overreacting? Or could trusting chemical companies to nourish us be bad?

  36. "The Russians Prove Small Scale Organic CAN Feed the World" Read more: http://naturalsociety.com/russians-prove-small-scale-organic-can-feed-world/#ixzz2UtlQCIVs Follow us: @naturalsociety on Twitter | NaturalSociety on Facebook http://naturalsociety.com/russians-prove-small-scale-organic-can-feed-world/?utm_source=Natural+Society&utm_campaign=43b65d962d-Email+170%3A+5%2F31%2F2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_f20e6f9c84-43b65d962d-323109373

    • Josh Flint of www.farmprogress.com says:

      Cuba is doing the same. When Russia collapsed, their sugar trade went down the tubes. They had to push a lot of folks into farming that had previously found jobs in urban sectors. Do you see this as a viable option in the U.S.?

  37. dan skow, now deceased, of international ag labs explains the problem in 2 minutes in 27 seconds. long story short - this $hit kills people. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bj4RnnUdM38

  38. jon of www.bionutrient.org says:

    a reporter making any effort at all to legitimately cover gmos/monsanto who doesn't come back with facts that will scare the $hit out of you, is suffering from a STAGGERING IGNORANCE, *OR* isn't being paid to flesh out truth or do the public any favors. period. "GMOs, Glyphosate, & Tomorrow" by Retired Colonel, Don Hubert Emeritus Professor of Plant Pathology Purdue University Former Head of the U.S. Biological Warfare Research program at Fort Deitrich in Maryland. http://farmandranchfreedom.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/don-huber-may2011-acres.pdf

  39. Retired Colonel, Don Hubert Emeritus Professor of Plant Pathology Purdue University Former Head of the U.S. Biological Warfare Research program at Fort Deitrich in Maryland. 10 page curriculum vitae: http://www.nvlv.nl/downloads/Dr_Huber_bio.pdf

  40. Laura says:

    Antibiotic Resistance is part of the process for making all GMOs. It's built into them in the lab. Why isn't anyone talking about that?

  41. jon of www.aglabs.com says:

    this guy knows absolutely NOTHING about current best practises in farming & market gardening. the fact is, when you get the soil right, the plants THRIVE & are ***highly*** resistant to weather extremes, disease, pest, & fungal pressure. listen to the 4 part audio series featuring jon kempf of "advancing eco-agriculture" from the january bionutrient food association conference. here is the direct link to the .mp3 for part one. i can't recommend this strongly enough: http://bionutrient.org/audio/2013_soil_nutrition_conference/a-01-31-2013-JohnKempf.mp3

  42. Shirley says:

    Here's an 11 year old that believes what biotech companies are wrong for the planet. I certainly agree with what he says. Besides, if you don't feed Mother Earth properly, she will come back and bite you in the proverbial butt! Here's the link: http://banoosh.com/blog/2013/05/29/video-11-year-old-takes-down-monsanto-in-ted-talk/

  43. Donna says:

    If GMOs are as wonderful as you claim, can you please explain why companies would not want to label their products as containing them, and why they are willing to spend billions of dollars to oppose labeling? Shouldn't the labeling help them sell more product? And the other part I can never grasp if GMOs are exactly like the real food, how can any company have a patent on them?

  44. PiratePhil says:

    Please watch this documentary all the way through before making any decisions about Monsanto or GMO foods: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VEZYQF9WlE

  45. E says:

    What a blowhard... and we shouldn't be trying to feed the whole world. Out-of-control population growth will be the biggest problem the world has ever faced, in the next 50 years. Stop it already. You're not doing the world any favors, so don't act like it.

    • Josh Flint of www.farmprogress.com says:

      Spoken like a person with plenty to eat. I'd wager the hungry folks in this world would disagree with you.

      • E says:

        Whether or not they disagree is irrelevant. The world cannot support a certain population level.

  46. William says:

    Your 5 points aren't very logical (or convincing), although I do agree with part of #4: " ...the anti-GMO crowd is terrific at protesting genetically modified crops". Yes, they are, and they're getting better and more sophisticated every day. Time to label GMO foods.

  47. Lisa says:

    Here's an alternative: Stop poisoning our food supply just to sell more insecticide.

    • Josh Flint of farmprogress.com says:

      Actually, insecticide use has been cut drastically since the release of GMO products. I'm not sure you fully understand how GMO seed fits in on the farm.

      • Amy says:

        Isn't RoundUp Ready corn called just that because it has the Round Up already in it? You don't spray it because it IS the insecticide. And then we are expected to eat it but not allowed to blame it for any health problems? This really makes no sense.

      • Donna says:

        But herbicide use has increased, causing the overall pesticide use to increase, as I am sure you know. Disingenuous comments and facts do not help your argument, they just discredit you. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/02/us-usa-study-pesticides-idUSBRE89100X20121002

      • Jeff says:

        They don't. We cannot expect man to tamper with the genetics of our food supply in unnatural ways, and expect that there will not be consequences. The fact that they will not openly promote their GMO products, the fact that they have SO MANY executives and formerly paid colleagues on the staff of the FDA, and the fact that they posed a bill, which was signed, that renders them not liable for any lawsuits that may arise from the use of their products... oh, and the fact that they sue small farmers, that dont use their products, but have their crops poisoned with pollen from those that do, tell me that these people, these Monsanto shills... are nothing less than monsters.

  48. Lisa says:

    I don't think it is an attack on farmers at all. I personally have not been in a grocery store for months, as I shop from my farmer. I buy seasonal produce, pastured beef, pork, chicken, eggs, raw milk etc. In fact the farmers have to turn people away because they are in such demand. I respect my farmers greatly and if they grow it, I will buy it and so will others. I am not an activist, just a Mom trying to raise a healthy family just like anyone. I don't have loads of money to pay the premium I do, but it is a priority to me, so I sacrifice on other things. You alluded that us Non GMO people are fanatics, we are not. We are concerned people, and I assure you I respect farmers. The solututions may involve turning things on their heads and doing things differently than it has always been done.

    • Sorry, Lisa. Any mother who feeds her children raw milk is guilty of child endangerment. Raw milk is actually dangerous. Pasteurization is one of the breakthroughs of the 20th century universally lauded for saving lives and improving health. You lost all credibility the instant I read "raw milk." Don't believe me? Ask your doctor. If you truly care about your family's health, pasteurize your milk.

    • Josh Flint of Farmprogress.com says:

      Nowhere in the blog did I say the anti-GMO crowd is attacking farmers. I'm not sure why you would assume that. I understand there are many folks who prefer to buy directly from a farmer. That's great! As far as doing things differently than they've always been done, GMOs are a relatively new phenomenon. The first GMO seed was released in 1996. The non-GMO production model has been around for centuries.

  49. Adham says:

    Very interesting and necessary feedback in order to find what's really better for agriculture in the future

  50. Ben Beyer says:

    Don't forget, the first GMO approved product was in the early 80's. It was modified E-Coli to produce human insulin so we no longer had to collect it from pigs.

  51. Westy says:

    Your final point was..."And, yes, GMO crops yield better and feed more people. As Holly Spangler pointed out, farmers aren’t stupid on this matter. They are willing to pay more for GMO seed because it yields better and has built-in insurance. I know it’s a crazy idea, but maybe the folks growing the food actually know what they’re doing. It’s almost as if Samsung and Apple know how to build smartphones. What a shocking idea! " MY ANSWER TO #5: Yield has to be considered in all aspects, the nutritional aspect, sustainable (how much needs to be added back into the soil each year, what are the potential health risks, etc.). Next, try asking farmer Percy Schmeizer from Canada about Monsanto's treatment of SMART farmers when their GMO seeds...Ask the farmers in the USA who Monsanto has sued when their GMO seeds drifted onto their land, cross-pollinating with their heirloom & hybrid seed plants.

    • Bob C. says:

      Sounds like you've done more reading than farming, Westy. . .

      • Donna says:

        "Better" is a subjective term that means different things to different farmers and consumers. http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2013/02/do-gmo-crops-have-lower-yields

      • Stephan says:

        Regardless of whether Wetsy has been doing more reading than farming, the comments are true.

  52. Westy says:

    Your point number 4 was..."Howard Buffett made a terrific point in a recent speech. He said the anti-GMO crowd is terrific at protesting genetically modified crops. However, they aren’t bringing any new ideas to the table on how to feed the world’s growing population. I agree completely." MY ANSWER TO #4: Howy Buffet was recently on 60 minutes and it was such a sweet piece they did on him...It almost made you want to cry...here's this 60 year old man on a mission to feed the world...Truth is, he Warren Buffet's son, he used to run ADM, and is heavily invested in the very companies at the heart of this issue including Monsanto. If I were Rush Limbaugh, I would say Howie is an industry whore! As to bringing new ideas to the table, there are a growing number of people involved in hydroponic, vertical farming, alternative fertalizing and pest control, and there's a company out of New Zealand called Acco Cover that can virtually eliminate pests and reduce water needs by 60 to 70%. The trouble is, the chemical companies are now also seed companies and also Supreme Court Justices and also FDA heads, so the chances of an honest alternative going up against the giants remains tough!

    • Josh Flint of farmprogress.com says:

      I'm quite familiar with who Howard Buffett is. I respect the man and think he's doing terrific things with his charity. He's also a farmer himself. A farmer who works hard to balance productivity with sustainability.

      • Courtney says:

        OK but you aren't address Westy's other points. Why has Europe banned GMOs mostly? Are they the stupid ones? What are your thoughts are former employees of seed companies being Supreme Court Justices and heads of the FDA. What are your thoughts on that? Why does it hurt to have GMOs labeled? You are welcome to eat them if you think they are safe. However some of us aren't so sure. Please refer us to studies completed independently that show they are safe. What about our bee population? What do you think about that?

  53. Westy says:

    Your point number 3 was..."Regardless of what you think, you cannot grow a crop without pest pressure. Be it bugs, weeds or disease, they all rob yield. Sure, you can hand weed a tomato plot and sprinkle it with magic dust composed of cayenne pepper and deer urine, but that just isn’t feasible for a 100+ acre field. At least not if you want food to remain affordable for everyone." MY ANSWER TO #3: How on earth did we make it before these companies came into being for all those thousands of years? The additional chemical, petroleum, and additional water usage will make this argument a mute point. PLUS they are making it very hard for organic farmers to comply with new rules and regulations. Makes me wonder why?

  54. Westy says:

    Your second point ..."The U.S. population has been consuming GMO crops since the mid-1990s. Despite your links to pseudo studies, I do not think these crops have caused any significant health problems. Any study linking the health conditions with food in the U.S. has to tip-toe around an 800 lb gorilla called the fast food epidemic. I just don’t buy that genetically modified corn, not America’s reliance on cheeseburgers, fries and a Coke as a square meal, is causing obesity." MY ANSWER TO #2: There are two answers to this...ONE it is arguable whether or not the increase of cancer, leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome, and the list goes on...is related to the ugly greedy Americans who just can't get enough junk food, or if in fact is related to the GMO foods used to produce said junk foods. If their crap is so safe, I would think they would have NO PROBLEM in labeling it. In fact, I would think they would be taking out full page ads and spending millions advertising the benefits of GMO's, wouldn't you? Instead they recently spent 40 million dollars to ensure that people will NOT know which foods contain GMO's WHY? Fast food giants were big players in blocking the CA proposition to label GMO's...Food for thought.

    • Josh Flint of farmprogress.com says:

      Ah, labeling GMO food. I'll be writing another blog entirely on that topic. In the meantime, many foods carry organic and "non-GMO" labels. If consumers really want to avoid GMO food, they can always purchase those products. And, do you really think slapping a "may contain GMO products" on a Big Mac wrapper will really slow McDonald's sales?

      • Ree says:

        It doesn't matter if it slows their sales or not. The point is for the info to be provided so people can make an informed decision.

  55. Westy says:

    Your first point number 1. was..."First off, I can think of five large agribusiness companies off the top of my head that are producing biotech crops. Continually singling out Monsanto only reaffirms they are the market leader. Did you know DuPont (Pioneer’s parent company) had a total revenue three times higher than Monsanto in 2012?" MY ANSWER TO #1: Yes there are other companies that are just as bad...But I wonder if he knew about the 250,000 people (farmers) in India who have committed suicide in the past 10 years after being forced to switch to Monsanto Cotton Seeds that cost hundreds of times what they were paying for heirloom seeds and after two years, they needed MORE water, more pesticide and fell prey to disease despite what they were told. They could no longer afford to make a living so a good number of them reportedly walked over to the Roundup tanks a nd drank the poison.

  56. Bruce says:

    I see, so this means nothing? http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691512005637

    • Kevin Folta says:

      Bruce, yes, it means nothing. Seralini again, the only guy that seems to find problems. I could pick it apart all day (many scientists have, we use it in class to demonstrate a crappy study). If you are going to look at one telling thing- look at the grotesque rats in Figure 3. Pretty scary, huh? One thing missing.... THE CONTROL! They forgot to show a control. Wait! There it is in Table 2.... and it got cancer also! I could go on for an hour, but all it takes is to see that one figure and it tells you exactly what the authors are trying to do... it worked !

  57. Jami Brown says:

    They have provided alternatives to GMOs. Hydoponics, Aguaponics, Permaculture use less chemicals and produce higher yields. Start paying attention and you can see how many other options are available.

    • Josh Flint of www.farmprogress.com says:

      Good ideas, but I don't know that these are feasible alternatives for feeding the world. Additionally, two of these practices require a lot of a very limited resource -- water.

  58. Paul says:

    If GMO crops are so great why haven't farmers yields reached 300 bushels for a standard yield yet? The region where I live if a farmer gets 200 bushels that's really good, most frames in my area average 130 to 200 bushels per acre! There are other limiting factors to yield other then weeds or pests or water! Zinc, copper, sulfur, Calcium, magnesium, Manganese! Most farmers don't realize they could get higher yields if they made sure their soils had these in trace minerals balanced out in their soil! Glyophsate the main ingredient in roundup herbicide is also a broad spectrum chelator which can tie up or bind with certain important trace minerals in the soil beneficial to maintain plant health! Roundup actually cause plants to age prematurely even if they are roundup ready! If you ever notice along the the edges of a RR soybean field in the fall time you will see all that most of the soybeans plants in the middle of the field are dead but the soybeans plants along the edge are still green and alive, that's because them soybeans received a smaller dose of roundup thus not causing them to age as fast! Also roundup herbicide is Non renewable and comes from limited resources! It foolish to think that supplies of roundup will last for another 200 years or longer! Just to develop GMO crops takes huge amounts of energy and lots of natural resources! From all the electricity they use in greenhouse to all the processes involved in Manufacturing all the chemicals that the GMO crops are made to resist!

    • Jennifer says:

      The soybeans are green at the edge of the field because of the artificial lighting often there from light posts. Soybean relies on the length of night to tell it when to flower and complete its life cycle. Artificial light from street lighting tells the plants in that area that the nights are much longer than they really are. I have actually seen more problems from spraying too much at the edge of fields than too little.

    • Indiana says:

      You (Paul) obviously have not taken the time to educate yourself on agriculture. Let me bring this issue down to your level for you. God blessed this planet with soil, but just like people, soil is not all the same. Crops grow better in some soils than others and that is one of the main factors in the difference of yields. A sandy soil will not produce a high yielding crop compared to a loamy, clay soil. Also weather plays a role into yields and there isn't anyone who can control that portion of agriculture. Yes you are correct that farmers need those minerals to enhance their soil to max capacity, but what I do not think you understand is that there is a little thing called the Law of Diminishing Returns. In case you are unfamiliar with that economic law, it basically states that there is a point that no matter how much input (like those minerals you are talking about) you put into a product, the results will not increase and you will lose the profits. That economic law also can be put into place for the chemicals and pesticides that farmers also use. Why would a farmer spray more of a chemical when they have already reached the point of the highest output? That is not logical. Farmers get soil tests, field scouts, and agronomic assistance to determine how much fertilizer to put on each and every one of their fields. You are very, very, very incorrect when you say that a farmer doesn’t realize what to do to make high yielding crops. Do you realize that farming is a job? This is how they survive. 97% of the farmers in the US are family owned, and most of those farms have been passed down from previous generations. People just don’t wake up one day and decide to switch their career be a farmer, like you can with other professions. Farmers are skilled to know the bumps, the low spots, the wet areas, and the high yielding spots in fields. It is like me coming into your office and saying you don’t know what you are doing, and I don’t even know what you do! You are also incorrect about the spraying methods. Have you ever watched a farmer spray a field?? First off, No farmers try their very best to not hit things with their booms. And do you know why? Well is because those sprayers cost more than people’s houses. They are expensive pieces of equipment. Second, Glyophsate does not age crops when sprayed. It can stun them, and put the crop under stress, however the aging process is something I disagree with you on. Your example of the edges of fields dying is also incorrect. I have lived in rural Indiana my entire live and grown up on a farm. We have to wait on the edges of our fields to turn the brown color. Or in your words we have to wait on our edges to die because the rest of our field is already at the point of being harvested. I’m not sure where you live and what fields you have been looking at, but what you described is not normal. Paul I would suggest a little more research into the agriculture sector before replying to articles like this again.

      • Paul says:

        Excuse me sir but I am dairy farmer! Not just any farmer but an organic dairyfarmer who used to be a conventional farmer! I know all about farming! Have you ever heard of the Kinsey Albrect system? If you haven't then I Suggest you do your homework! When it comes to growing crops there are two laws to go by, one of the laws is called the law of the maximum & the law of the the minimum! The law of Maximum states that you can put to much of something on the soil or what the soils holding Capacity is of any given element! It is called the TEC ( total exchange capacity)! The other law, the law of the minimum states what is the minimal amount of any given element that it takes for a crop to grow! You can look this up on the Internet where it talks about a German scientist in the early 20th century who figured out the basic elements that it takes for a crop to grow which is nitrogen phosphorus and potassium, that is known as the law of the minimum! Most farmers don't realize that when there by synthetic fertilizers they are just throwing their money away because the fertilizer that they are buying is basically water-soluble fertilizer and only feeds the plant for the year and that's it! The fertilizer that we're using what's contains more than NP&K and has longer-lasting effects and feeds the soil which in return feeds the plants! Many of you conventional farmers forget that the soil is a living breathing organism and needs to be treated that way!

    • Iowa says:

      Imagine that, another organic trying to push their agenda. It doesn't work for everyone, and this march and misinformation is more anti-farmer than anti-Monsanto. We are getting fed up with this rhetoric. My best advice is don't eat or drink anything since it is so bad. Let me know how that works out for ya.

    • farmer says:

      I hate to tell you but the field edges are where we spray more roundup to control the weeds from creeping in from the fence line and field boarders. If everyone were to go super duper organic, can you imagine the resources it would take to produce a crop. More fuel, more time, more labor, more erosion from more tillage, and not to mention more hog, cattle, and chicken manure for fertilizer. If you want some pollution there you go.

      • Paul says:

        You don't worry about hitting the Fenceline posts with your sprayer booms? It takes a lot of natural resources to produce all the synthetic fertilizers that you put on your crops every year! In organic farm production we do have a certian code of ethics that we have to follow and I see more soil erosion on my conventional farmer neighbors land then our on our organic farm! We use natural sources of Nitrogen on our land, like cow manure and Legume crops which Come from renewable resources! The Roundup ready cropping system has drove more small farmers off the land! We need more farmers not less big farmers on the land! A little extra labor never hurts anyone and I will half to say if it weren't for organic farming we would not be in the dairying business anymore! Organic farming saved our farm and if you think we are nothing but polluters you are dead wrong at least we don't spray toxic poisonous chemicals on people's food! There are no government Regulations that says how much chemicals is too much to spray on crops where in organic farming we half to meet certain standards that the national organic standard progam sets for us! Plus we get Inspected every year by a Certified organic inspector and we are also to surprise inspections! If we get caught cheating once that's it we can't ever sell anything organic again! It's a system based on honesty and trust! It's all part of organic integrity and myself striving to do the very best at my job everyday!

  59. Carly says:

    #4 hits the nail on the head!! One cannot point fingers and depict problems without a solution, which protestors of GMO food do not provide. Of course consumers all want safe food, but in addition, they want CHEAP food! Sure, we can farm everything without modifying the plant, or applying an pesticides, herbicides, etc. but the food won't be cheap...then let's see what the complaints will be. Very well said, Josh!

  60. Stephanie says:

    Thank you, Josh! My daughter DOES work for Monsanto. :-) However, I agreed with your stance long before she was old enough to have a job, being as her father and I farmed several hundred acres of grain, including roundup ready beans & corn, as well as Bt corn. People forget farmers are people, too, and that the majority of US farms are family owned and operated. We eat what we produce and sure wouldn't be poisoning ourselves or anyone else. Thank you again for putting out an opposing view that is so often lost in the howl of protesters!

    • Josh Flint of www.farmprogress.com says:

      Thanks for the note. I agree, too often these protesters think they're hounding huge companies, not realizing thousands of family farmers make a conscious decision to plant GMO products because they believe in them. Not to mention, a reduced crop insurance premium for biotech seed is a massive economic endorsement. Again, that decision was based on science, not emotion.

      • This article is spot on. Those screaming the loudest that farmers are planting foods that hurt people wont take the time to come visit the fields and listen to the farmers. Farmers on the other had don’t have time to be activists so those with information that may be incorrect are heard instead of talking to each other. Boss Joe, from the new farm documentary Growing Season, talks about the positives of using GMO’s on his farm. He say’s that they are allowing the farmer to better work with mother nature to help improve the land and the health of the workers as well. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50y2nJEBGIA

      • Farmer says:

        I find this topics very interesting about anti GMO`s. I am a farmer that raises sheep, corn, soy and alfalfa. Wasn`t too long ago we had to employ the family and neighbors to walk our soybean fields to cut off button weeds as tall as your head or morning glories that tangle up your feet as you walk through the rows. Thank goodness for roundup ready products to make our farms more efficient and profitable. I ask staunch non GMO supporters if they ever had to walk soybeans on a hot 85 degree day cutting weeds or trying to pull a 7 foot tall button weed and I get no comment or blank stare to figure out what a button weed is. We had this before GMO crops and before RR system. I ask what is their solution? Organic… well folks we can`t feed everyone that way. I do support organic and I think it has it place just like our current farming system, but it’s not sustainable. We have bigger fish to fry in this country than these anti Monsanto agendas because we have people too fat to walk because they made themselves that way but not exercising and not eating right. And they have their hand out for welfare because they can`t get up to go to work. Lets quit the blame game and start coming up with ideas that can fix the whole GMO VS Anti GMO ordeal. Until someone comes up with something better I will continue to use antibiotics for my livestock to keep them healthy, RR, Liberty, Dicamba resistant crops on my farm. This is the best way and most profitable way for me to operate my farm. Folks that don`t understand this need to come to the farm for a couple days to see the “real” world, not one that someone has told them or they read in a book or on a face book group page. Let’s use our noodle a little and get the facts. There are people out there with an agenda that will do their best to persuade you to listen. They will lie and be deceitful to accomplish this task. Get on a farm somewhere for a couple days and you`ll find the truth.