Why We Need GMOs

Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Why We Need GMOs for food

By: Kurt Boudonck, Plant Geneticist and Greenhouse Groupleader in RTP


A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to speak at an RTP 180° event focused on “AgBio.” As the Greenhouse Group Leader for Bayer CropScience in RTP, I was excited to share my passion for science and the benefits of GMOs when looking to solve problems like pests, disease, and weeds in a safe, effective way.


RTP 180° is a monthly event in North Carolina covering various topics by key speakers from Research Triangle Park’s three founding universities, local companies and its community.


After reading student essays for Youth Ag Summit, I was struck with a surprising realization about hunger not only across the globe, but in the United States. Did you know that 1 in 5 U.S. kids don’t get the food they need? That number really hit home for me, because I have five daughters.  Which one of my children would I send to bed hungry? That’s a decision no parent ever wants to make.


In order to teach my kids about the importance (and difficulties) of agriculture – we started a family vegetable garden in our backyard.  Unfortunately, it quickly became overrun with pests and weeds.  Sadly, this is not an isolated problem for our backyard.  For growers large and small, pests can be a huge challenge when trying to produce food to feed families and communities.   


Fortunately, on a very positive note, there are plenty of solutions in agriculture. Insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, biologics and biotechnology are options to improve crop yield and quality, and you don’t necessarily have to choose one method over another. You can use them all together as an integrated platform.  


One specific method for protecting plants against pests is using a type of biotechnology called genetically modified organisms (GMOs).  In simple terms, you make a GMO by the transfer of a useful trait from one organism to another (e.g. from a bacteria to a plant, or from plant to plant). You then end up with transgenic plants, also called GMO plants, which have certain beneficial traits that would protect growing seedlings from invasive pests.   


There are some questions about whether or not genetically modified organisms (or GMOs) are safe to eat.  My answer – absolutely yes! GMOs are the most researched food when it comes to safety. Regulatory agencies such as the FDA, EPA and USDA review them well before it reaches the consumer’s and grower’s hands. No other food on the market is tested as much as a GMO food.


If you want to learn more about GMOs and solutions they provide for agriculture, watch the full presentation from RTP 180° click below.   



For more information about GMOs below check out our “What is a GMO?” blog series or visit www.GMOAnswers.com. Connect with Kurt on Twitter at @kboudonck and with us at @Bayer4CropsUS to join the #GMO conversation!






  • David Hollinrake said:
    7/21/2015 10:09 AM

    Kurt, This is an outstanding article and it serves as a great way for our colleagues to connect with advocating on behalf of modern production agriculture. As you know, creating a safe and affordable food supply for everyone is a challenge and innovation (including biotechnology and other tools) is the key. Thanks for all you do to "agvocate"!

  • Alexis de Lespinay said:
    7/24/2015 9:56 AM

    Thanks for sharing your story with a practical, personal and simple approach: good job ! Look forward sharing more with you once in RTP.

  • Sterling said:
    10/8/2015 12:27 PM

    No doubt at all that GMO's are necessary long-term for human nutrition, but we also need to stop wasting so much food in this country! It is shameful how much Americans dispose of because it is nearing expiration, or just not quite pretty enough for the grocery store. France has the right idea about making it illegal for merchants to dispose of food, and instead are now required to donate it to the appropriate charities.

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