Recently I have been fielding many phone calls from customers and potential customers alike about genetically modified organisms(GMOs). These are crops, plants, and/or grasses that scientists have altered in the hopes of making the plant better, more disease resistant, etc. GMOs are relatively recent phenomena.
The first genetically modified crop was tobacco in 1982. In 1994, the United States allowed the sale of a genetically modified tomato. Since then more and more crops were genetically modified and now almost 16.56% of the United States agricultural lands are used producing GM crops.
The top ten most common GM crops today are salmon, animal feed, canola and cottonseed oil, golden rice, squash, tomato, corn, potato, sugar beets. As producers of grass fed beef, we took for granted that our cattle were raised without any GMOs, which fits into our all-natural as God intended philosophy.
To me that is what is worrisome about GMOs. God created everything and called it good. Now people are “improving” on His creation by altering the genetic makeup of plants and crops. There are countless websites on which you can read about the concerns of consuming GMOs. On the other hand, there are others that sing the praises. You have to do the research and decide for yourself. This article is not meant to be exhaustive on the topic.
Unfortunately scientists were not happy genetically altering only plants and crops. They are genetically modifying grasses. Alfalfa is one of top GM grasses as scientists seek to make this type of grass more pest resistant. This fact greatly concerns us and our customers because we do supplement with alfalfa. Alfalfa is so high in protein and nutritious, which is why we use it in our grass fed beef program. It will not grow in our climate; therefore, we buy it dehydrated in cube and pellet forms.
I have contacted the producers of our alfalfa in Colorado. Their alfalfa is non-GMO as are the block of producers in the area. Cross-contamination is a huge problem in keeping your crop pure. The company is diligently seeking ways to keep their alfalfa non-GMO as they know their product goes to natural or organic farms like our own. If their seed was ever compromised, she said they would announce it to their customers.
Then I began thinking about the rye and oats that we plant for winter grazing. I contacted that company as well and received the good news that the varieties we planted are non-GMO. We are relieved at the news.
It just goes to show that you have to stay informed and proactive. I would not have thought that grasses were not safe from genetic alteration or that alfalfa producers were struggling against companies like Monsanto. The introduction of GM alfalfa alone impacts natural or organic milk and/or beef producers as well as the natural or organic honey producers.
Some of you might not care about GMOs. Some of you might care so much about them that you get frustrated at the grocery store trying to make the right choices for your family. You have high ideals and don’t want to compromise them. Regardless of your opinion of GMO products, the fact is that the grass fed beef at Cross Creek Cattle Company is raised on non-GMO grasses.