Maybe Neil Young’s record The Monsanto Years had a bigger impact than we thought.
The anti-GMO crowd – Mr. Young included – got something to celebrate this week with news that, in 2015, for the first time ever the acreage of genetically modified crops grown worldwide and in the US dropped. But before hemp-wearing hippies everywhere declare victory, there are some possible caveats.
The report – which comes from a non-profit called the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (don’t blame me; I didn’t name it) and gets funding from a broad spectrum of sources, including Monsanto – states the drop, which was only about 1 percent globally, stems more from lower prices on common genetically modified crops than from anything else. Reportedly, the value of crops like corn, soybeans and canola were all down in 2015, meaning many farmers simply shifted to something else – something that was less likely to be a GM product.
But according to the New York Times, other factors are involved as well including a saturated market and, of course, opposition to GMOs in multiple forms including from consumers, environmental groups and regulators. One analyst at the Center for Food Safety went so far as to call the recent GMO report “just total boosterism” – which I’m pretty sure is meanest thing one policy analyst can say to another policy analyst.
Still, regardless of the complex factors at play, if you’re anti-GMO, the results are probably more important than the reasons behind them. Consider it a small victory for Neil Young fans everywhere.