GMOs discussed at Northeast agriculture forum

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by jamesc  12/15/2016 12:51:39 PM --  NORFOLK - The public had an opportunity to learn more about where their food comes from during a recent information session at Northeast Community College.

Matt Dolch, of Syngenta, spoke at a Food for Thought forum, “The Truth About GMOs,” sponsored by the Nebraska Corn Board. It was held in conjunction with the Eighth Annual AG-ceptional Women’s Conference at Northeast the following day.

In his presentation, Dolch addressed concerns while revealing the truth about genetically modified organisms and the food supply. He said it takes approximately 13-years of research before any GMO is released. He said research has found no harmful links of GMO use in humans or livestock.

Dolch spoke about the need for increased yields for a growing world population and the necessity to keep the cost of food down.

“Without GMO technology, there would be an enormous cost in soybean production just in the labor force to remove weeds from fields. GMO’s have enabled producers to increase their yields using less inputs and keeping the cost of food down for the consumer,” he said.

The nine GMO crops available in the United States today are corn, soybeans, cotton, canola, alfalfa, sugar beets, papaya, squash, and potato.

Dolch said the U.S. is blessed with an abundance of food, but mortality caused by malnutrition in developing countries is real in addition to the fact that nearly 50-percent of the world’s population lives on less than $2
a day.

“Now more than ever, we need to improve productivity in agriculture to combat these issues.”

Rice is the main source of food for many starving populations. Dolch said Golden Rice has been genetically modified to produce and accumulate vitamin A. He said it is important to make the rice from these plants valuable in decreasing the Vitamin A deficiency in millions of people whose main diet is rice. For humanitarian purposes, Syngenta spent its research dollars on this technology and has worked to put it in the hands of breeding institutions in developing countries free of charge.              

Dolch’s leadership career has been highlighted through his service to the Iowa FFA Association as the southwest state vice president and state president, while serving as a student advisor to the 2008 Farm Bill with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns. 

Dolch was born and raised on a family farming operation in southwest Iowa, near the town of Villisca. The family raises corn, soybeans as well as run a cow-calf and feedlot operation. He developed a strong appreciation for production agriculture at a very young age, farming several hundred square feet of carpet in the family living room with his one-sixteenth scale John Deere tractors.

Dolch is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural education. He has gained work experience with DuPont Pioneer, KRVN and the Rural Radio Network, and his current employer, Syngenta. 

“The AG-ceptional Women’s Conference Committee has taken an active role in providing meaningful education surrounding the agricultural issues related to crop and livestock production,” said Corinne Morris, dean of agriculture, math and science and conference director. “Society is often faced with confusing rhetoric regarding agricultural technology and production methods. Creating opportunities to host conversations about the truth in agricultural practices promotes good will and leads to greater understanding among consumers.




                 PHOTO CUTLINE 


Matt Dolch, of Syngenta, speaks on the use of genetically modified organisms at a Food for Thought Forum recently at Northeast Community College. The forum, sponsored by the Nebraska Corn Board, was held in conjunction with the Eighth Annual AG-ceptional Women’s Conference at Northeast the following day.

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