GMOs Under Scrutiny at Upcoming PASA Conference

January 28, 2014

Intensive Track to Investigate Use of Genetically Modified Crops and
Associated Agrichemicals in the Field

MILLHEIM, PA January 23, 2014 – Iowa farmer Howard Vlieger and Penn State agroecologist Dave Mortensen are set to lead “Glyphosate and Genetically Modified Crops: Implications and Remediations,” a day-long intensive track to be held Feb. 6 at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel in State College, PA. The track is hosted by the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) as part of its 23rd Annual Farming for the Future Conference.

Eaters’ concerns about genetically modified (GM) foods have taken up residence in the headlines, from news about proposed food labeling laws in several states to General Mills' recent announcement that it will no longer include GM ingredients its original Cheerios cereal. Vlieger and Mortensen will approach the topic from the perspective of a farmer in the field, exploring the science behind GM crops and their associated agrichemicals—glyphosate in particular—and investigating the implications of their use on farms.

"[Glyphosate] is the active chemical ingredient in the most widely used herbicides in the world, and...it's being used in ways are very, very detrimental,” Vlieger said in an interview with Food Sleuth Radio last August. “The damage to the biological community in the soil is significant, and now we have science that is further documenting that damage going up the food chain."

Participants in the day-long track will learn about the modes of action of broad-spectrum herbicides and other agricultural chemicals, as well as the resultant effects on microbial, plant, animal and human systems. Drawing on Vlieger’s experience as a third generation family farmer and independent crop nutrition advisor and Mortensen’s research on land use practices and the dynamics of pest and beneficial organisms on farms, the track will also cover strategies for remediation of soil and other ecosystems impacted by the proliferation of GM crops.

“It is imperative that farmers and eaters alike examine the growing influence of genetic engineering in farming,” says Brian Snyder, PASA’s Executive Director, “and this pre-conference track presents a much needed opportunity for in-depth scrutiny.”

Now in its third decade, Farming for the Future has grown into one of the largest and most respected gatherings on sustainable agriculture in the country, a multi-day affair comprising intensive pre-conference tracks, two plenary sessions and over 100 main conference workshops. The Farming for the Future Conference is made possible in part by Opening Keynote sponsor Lady Moon Farms and PASAbilities Sponsor Kimberton Whole Foods.

Registration is open to the public. To register, and to view a full schedule of conference programming, visit pasafarming.org/conference.

Contacts:

Kristin Hoy, Conference Manager
kristin@pasafarming.org

(814) 349-9856, ext. 11

Towns: