One More Whammy in a Harvest of Surprises?

By Cocheo, Steve | ABA Banking Journal, November 1999 | Go to article overview

One More Whammy in a Harvest of Surprises?


Cocheo, Steve, ABA Banking Journal


It's mid-September and the 1999 harvest is just beginning in Clarkfield, Minn. Richard Kvols has been out and about the area and seen half a dozen combines in the fields already. The farmers, pushing the season just a tad, are after early soybeans and just starting on the corn.

The corn isn't the top priority, notes Kvols (pronounced "Coals") because it can stand some drying time yet. Farmers can even save a bit of money "by letting Mother Nature dry it down," says Kvols. The corn, wrapped in its tough husks, is relatively sheltered by now from any bad weather, whereas the soy crop is at its most vulnerable. At this stage, too much drying or too heavy a rainfall or a dose of hail can cause the beans to "shell out," popping the ripe beans right out of their pods onto the ground, rendering a crop into compost material in minutes. Only a few days earlier, a corner of Clarkfield saw some soy-damaging hail.

It's Kvols' business to know these things. At 53, he has spent virtually his entire life in the vicinity of Clarkfield, Minn., area. He still farms the family's 160-acre spread--"big enough to keep my fingernails dirty and my wife unhappy"--raising a rotation crop of corn, soybeans, alfalfa, and wheat, but his chief occupation for the last 15 years has been as county extension agent for Minnesota's Yellow Medicine County and four other adjacent counties.

It's early yet for predictions for Clarkfield's harvest, but Kvols is already sure of one thing: "There's no way we'll have yields like we had last year. This year we had three weeks of weather above 90 degrees." Farmers had been hoping for big yields to offset poor prices for most grains. On top of that there's now a third negative element facing many farmers in the area: the growing bias in both foreign as well as domestic markets against crops grown with genetically modified organisms (GMOs), that is, seeds developed through genetic tinkering.

Kvols points to the late August announcement by Archer Daniels Midland, the giant food processor, that the world is getting picker--and that therefore it would, too. Farmers, farm bankers, and others are still assessing the impact of this and similar developments.

Late-summer bombshell

The ADM announcement ran only three paragraphs under the neutral headline, "ADM statement to suppliers regarding genetically enhanced crops." Here's how the cryptic advisory read:

"During recent months there have been a series of news reports addressing the issues surrounding crops enhanced through biotechnology. As your trading partner, we want to alert you to a change we are experiencing in consumer demand.

"While ADM remains supportive of the science and safety of both biotech development and traditional plant breeding methods to improve crops and benefit consumers, ADM's processing business is driven by the consumer's desire to have choices. As a key link in the food supply system, we must produce products that our customers will purchase. Some of our customers are requesting and making their purchases based upon the genetic origin of the crops used to manufacture their products. if we are unable to satisfy their requests, they do have alternative sources for their ingredients.

"We encourage you as our supplier to segregate nongenetically enhanced crops to preserve their identity." [Italics adc ed.]

While farmers have been aggravated over Freedom to Farm and related affairs for some time, it is harder to be angry at a law or even an entire Congress than to be mad at individual parties.

"Until this GMO thing came to light," says Kvols, "there wasn't a scapegoat for us to vent our frustrations on."

It's not just ADM that farmers are mad at, points out Kvols. Three baby food maker--H.J. Heinz, Healthy Time Natural Foods, and Gerber--have announced that they will cease using crops enhanced through genetic technology. Kvols says farmers find the last company's presence on that list ironic, if not hypo-critical; Gerber is owned by Novartis AG, which counts, among its other business lines, the development and sale of genetically enhanced seed. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

One More Whammy in a Harvest of Surprises?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.