We never feed any of our organic cage-free birds any GMO grain; this is not allowed. (In case you don’t know, GMO means Genetically Modified Organisms.) However most of our other birds are fed corn and soybean meal that was grown using genetically modified technology used to increase production by preventing a variety of problems such as insect damage and disease tolerance. You may be interested to know that according to 2009 data from the USDA, 85% of corn, and 91% of soybeans grown in the U.S. are from GMO seeds. Crops grown organically often yield less than conventionally grown crops.
This seems to be another big gray area because there are significant environmental and crop production advantages to genetically modified seeds. The first area referred to above is the yield potential of organic compared to conventionally produced crops. We have grown some commercial organic grains on our own farm land and know that most organically produced crop yields are less than conventionally grown crop yields. Because of this well-known yield reduction on many commercially produced grains, the country would have to plant many, many more acres of crops to produce the same yields as conventionally grown crops. Could we do it? Yes, we could, but at what cost? Where would this acreage come from? In both the U.S. and throughout the world, human population continues grow, but the amount of land to produce the food to feed those people does not; in fact, farmable land is decreasing as more people need more places to live. Farmers could plant more acreage, but doing so would require planting on environmentally sensitive land such as: hillsides that could cause soil erosion, the windy and arid flatland areas of the country that need continuous vegetation to prevent wind erosion or another Dust Bowl, or near waterways that could become contaminated with run-off fertilizers or pesticides. We certainly don’t want to cut down our forests either. Wherever we would expand planting would very likely invade some environmentally sensitive or endangered plant or wildlife habitat. Is it worth doing this when there may be other alternatives? You will have to decide this yourself, but it seems the careful use of proven genetically modified crops may be a way to help avoid this issue while helping to protect our environment.
Since the beginning of time, mankind has been involved in a continuous effort to improve crop yields. Historically, this has been done through conventional plant breeding: plant a crop one year, select the best seeds it produced and plant them the next year. Repeat, repeat, and repeat. Each cycle takes a full year.
Beginning in earnest during the late 1980’s researchers found a way to accelerate and enhance the conventional plant breeding method by genetically selecting specific desirable genes and inserting them into a plant at the laboratory level. Without expanding planted acreage, some of the genes that have been inserted can likely help address our world’s increased food needs by doing such things as adding drought tolerance, freeze resistance, herbicide resistance, nutritional enhancement, and insect resistance, all without the need for pesticides.
For example the ability to insert insect prevention into seeds has reduced insecticide use on crops grown throughout the world. Some of those insecticides were extremely toxic to both the target and non-target pests as they carried the most extreme “Danger” warning on their label accompanied with a skull and cross bones signal. How did they do this? Did they insert the dangerous insecticide in the plant seed? No, one way was to insert a very safe-to-humans, bad-to-insects gene called bacillus thuringiensis (or “BT” for short) into the seed. Most environmentally conscious home gardeners use this on a regular basis because of its safety and effectiveness.
In summary, the safe and judicious use of proven pesticides and GMO grains may play a key role in providing a growing population with economical, high quality food as less land becomes available to produce food. Whatever eggs you buy is up to you and we are happy to provide whichever option you choose.