Mexico proposes ban on genetically modified corn
HARLAN – Mexico has proposed a ban on genetically modified corn from the U.S., as local experts explore the possible impact. According to an article on Fox Business, Mexico purchased more than $10 million worth of yellow and white U.S. corn last season.
Kevin Mills of Prairie Rose Ag said it’s more of a political play than anything.
“I’ve been in the agronomy business and sold fertilizer, chemicals, seed and farmed myself for 34 years. There’s always a lot of wrangling,” he said. “People will always say GMOs are terrible for you and I ask them what they are and they really don’t know what they are. They don’t understand the concepts.”
Mills said he personally believes they are completely safe.
“I think there needs to be a market for non-GMO/GMO,” he said. “I think the ethanol market will continue to thrive. I don’t know how you can cut that out.”
Mills said Mexico has been using GMO for several years with no problem.
“Non-GMO does not mean organic,” he said. “It’s just corn that doesn’t have herbicide trait put into it or insecticides trait. We still use chemicals on it. The difference is what traits are expressed in it.”
“It’s not the Frankenstein thing they make it sound like,” Mills said.
Mills said if people want a non-GMO corn it doesn’t change a lot of how it is raised. Organic corn is a different ballgame,” he said.
Miller said GMO corn is used for everything and non-GMOs mostly go for feed and ethanol.
Michael Witt, an agronomist for the Iowa State Extension and Outreach, said the impact of Mexico’s proposed ban on genetically modified corn would have a small impact in Shelby County.
“Mexico produces 26.8 million tons of corn, the U.S. produces around 400 million tons,” he said. “The U.S. exports only about 8% to Mexico. There’s some that goes there, but it’s not that much in the grand scheme of the world.”
Witt said locally, farmers would be able to send it to ethanol plants.
“I don’t think you’ll see that much localized price difference,” he said. “In reality a lot of the corn we are exporting to Mexico is for livestock feed. Mexico grows more white corn, which is food grade corn.”
Witt said if that corn doesn’t go to Mexico it will be shipped somewhere else.
“It’s not like it would sit,” he said. “It would be utilized in a different marketplace.”