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Editor, Casa Grande Dispatch:

About 35 years ago I was invited to be a community representative for a group of people discussing agricultural issues in Pinal County. I remember dignified farmers expressing their controlled rage over being duped into buying a new hybrid seed that was to be insect resistant and free them from the need to use pesticides. It sounded like a good idea at the time, but they failed to fully understand that one side effect of switching to that seed was they could never grow future planting seed from their crops. 

That seed is now banned in 36 countries but is still promoted and sold in the United States. And American farmers are losing their farms to legal fees as they sue over the GMO seed from neighboring fields contaminating their non-GMO crops. Organic farmers are charged extra fees to certify that their fields are not using GMO seed.

Much of the agriculture in our county has declined in 35 years. This deeply concerns me. It isn’t just cotton crops but also our entire food sources that are being threatened by the big industry that is manipulating the plants we need to survive.

David Cook is correct in asking that grazing be used for weed control to prevent fires. I suggested 35 years ago that our local farmers consider building bat hutches to control insects and reduce the need for pesticides. One bat eats between 6,000 and 8,000 insects per night. It seemed like a rational alternative to all the chemicals. They laughed and teased me, calling me bat woman.

I wonder how our agricultural environment would be now if they would have tried the bats instead of the genetically altered seed.

Yvonne Esther Johnson

Casa Grande

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