A GMO -Free Ranch

Genetically-Modified Organisms are industry’s attempt at feeding the masses, through altering the genetic codes of certain foods- Soybeans, corn, wheat are the most common items involved- and some tomatoes, potatoes and rice are affected as well.  The idea is to make big bucks, while fending off microorganisms and other pests.  It has had mixed results, in that regard.  Pests are rather clever at finding a way around the ruse, using their own genetic engineering.

In the meantime, we now look at the first long-term results of the tinkering.  Allergies, cancer levels and secondary mutations among farm animals are being traced to the GMO’s. GMO-free movements are cropping up, in many places being closely tied to the Slow Food movement, which, as one might guess, is a reaction to convenience foods and drive-through burger joints.  Locavores and farmers’ markets are the most common manifestation of the blend.

I had the pleasure, last Saturday, of visiting Orme Ranch, a pesticide-free, hormone-free cattle ranch, about forty miles east-northeast of Prescott.  The establishment has been around for about two decades now, and, while having its struggles with the agricultural establishment, may well represent the most promising future for meat production in this country.  The cost of treating diet-related diseases is not going to decrease, and the cost to our economy of health-related absences from work and school is far greater than any of the powers that be want us to recognize.

This is where “streamlining” and “efficiency” are falling off the tracks.  The Orme Ranch is, among other things, by following conscientious soil management, careful grazing policies, crop rotation and humane treatment of cattle, managing to keep soil erosion to a minimum and is actually restoring the water table- no small feat in our semi-arid grassland and chaparral- covered environment.  The larger operations, pretending to be “too big to fail”, may very well be bringing catastrophic failure on themselves, through practices that look good on the balance sheet, but are Pyrrhic in the successes they present.

The ranch wife pointed out something very humbling:  “The only true wealth comes from the earth.  It is grown, mined or hunted.”  All else, then, is wealth that exists on paper.                                                    

It may look desolate, but Orme Ranch is surprisingly productive.  I wonder, when I go to Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas next month, how many heartfelt farm and ranch folks will I encounter?

6 thoughts on “A GMO -Free Ranch

  1. I think that any rancher or farmer who opens up his place for people to visit is one who is certain that he is doing what’s right and that other people will appreciate it. I wish that we could all have “slow” food and “natural” food, but it isn’t possible and probably won’t be unless the Earth’s population falls off a great deal. Think of all the people who will not have access to such food nor be able to afford it. It’s my belief that the terror some people have of GMO’s amounts to a fear of the unknown. I’m always amazed by the number of people who have no idea where their food comes from or what’s in it. They hear “chemicals” and are afraid; they hear “genetically altered” and are afraid. As you know, almost everything we eat has been genetically modified over time by selective breeding. I wonder how many people know that? I realize that lab-modifying is a bit different and there is the problem with the producers of the seeds having patents, but it seems like that could be ironed out eventually.
    I’m sorry that I used your post to give my rant. I guess I should take the time to make my own argument on my own blog!

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