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GMO

Burkey Farms in southeast Nebraska looked into the future a couple of years ago and didn’t like what it saw — a continuation of depressed prices for conventional corn and soybeans. So, the families who run the farm together started discussing how the operation would make money if they couldn’t earn more from their crops.  

Their conversation took a turn toward organics, a $40 billion industry and growing, especially in Iowa and Colorado.

There’s a genetic technology that scientists are eager to apply to food, touting its possibilities for things like mushrooms that don’t brown and pigs that are resistant to deadly diseases.

And food industry groups, still reeling from widespread protests against genetically engineered corn and soybeans (aka GMOs) that have made it difficult to get genetically engineered food to grocery store shelves, are looking to influence public opinion.

Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

In a brightly-lit lab at the University of Nebraska Lincoln, workers with tweezers hunch over petri dishes scattered with sprouted sorghum seeds. Sorghum produces grain and also a sugary stalk.

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Genetically-engineered crops are generally safe to eat, but in the 20 years since the first commercial GMO crops hit the market, they haven't delivered on all their promises, according to a new analysis from a National Academy of Sciences panel released Tuesday.

Video: What are GMO Labels?

May 5, 2016
Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

There's a heated debate happening right now about GMOs and labels.  Big food companies such as General Mills, Mars, and Kellogg's say they plan to put labels on their products that tell consumers whether the food contains ingredients derived from genetically engineered plants.

Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

Hundreds of lawsuits against seed company Syngenta could develop into a major class-action potentially involving almost every corn farmer in the country.

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

GMOs, or more precisely, genetically-engineered crops, are lightning rods in discussions of our food. For the farmers who grow them and the scientists who create them, they're a wonder of technology. For those opposed, the plants represent all that's wrong with modern agriculture.

Alex Hanson/Flickr

Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Bernie Sanders said Tuesday that he opposes federal measures that would bar states from requiring labels on food containing genetically modified ingredients.

File: Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

The massive Trans Pacific Partnership, or TPP, trade deal could require some countries to accept more genetically engineered crops.

Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

Wheat is one of the world's staple foods and a big crop on the Great Plains, but it has been left in the dust. A corn farmer can grow 44%  more bushels per acre than 30 years ago, but only 16%  more wheat. That's led many farmers to make a switch.

The Woman Who Created GMOs

Jun 8, 2015
Syngenta

Mary-Dell Chilton pioneered the field of genetic engineering in agriculture.  She has spent most of her decades-long career working for Syngenta, where she founded the agribusiness company's research on genetically modified seeds.

Darrell Hoemann/Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting

To counter a “super weed” epidemic plaguing farmers, agribusiness giant Monsanto is steadily moving forward on the introduction of its next major wave of genetically engineered crops.

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

An effort to label genetically modified foods in Colorado has failed to garner enough support, following a national trend of statewide GMO labeling ballot measures facing uphill battles.