A Mother Allows Her Children To Walk Into A GMO Field Sprayed With Glyphosate. You’ll Never Guess What Happened Next. 

It was a beautiful summer day, the perfect day for a family road trip to the lake cabin. A mother and her two children had packed the car, and hit the road for a weekend of fun. Along the way, they stopped on a quiet country road to picnic beside a field of beautiful yellow flowers. They snacked and frolicked without a care in the world. 

For those of you who know about Canadian agriculture, you will know that these yellow flowers are a crop called Canola, grown for it’s oil, much of which is GMO (Genetically Modified Organism), and sprayed with Glyphosate. 

So, as the children played, and smelled the beautiful flowers, and their mother looked on, what happened? 


Well, the simple answer is – absolutely nothing. 

You see, as a farmer herself, the mother understood that GMO plants held no risk to her children. Her university education and science background taught her that a field previously sprayed with Glyphosate held no more toxicity for her children than a field sprayed with salt water, which actually has a higher toxicity level. 

That mother knew that Glyphosate and GMO are scary sounding words, but science and research hold far more weight than any fearful scare tactic or headline she may see online. 

That mother, who loves her children more than anything on this planet, allowed them to smell those flowers with confidence in agriculture, confidence in science, and confidence in the farmer responsible for that particular field.

I am that mother. Those are my children. And I am thankful every single day for the science that allows farmers to grow bountiful, nutritious and delicious food that I can feed my children. 

Important Note: Never, ever enter a farmers field without permission. Not only are the crops in those fields their livelihoods, but only the farmer can tell you if it is safe to be in that particular field at that particular time. 

Earth Day on the Ranch

At first, I thought Earth Day here on the ranch was just like every other day. After all, every day we provide habitat for misplaced wildlife, everyday we sequester carbon in our vast acres of grassland, everyday we aim to improve the soil structure and health. 

But when I thought a little harder, and looked a little deeper, I realized that although we have the earth’s health in the back of our mind all year round, Earth Day is a reminder of so much more. 

A Time Of New Beginnings 

April is when our heifers calve.  By Earth Day (April 22nd) we are just into calving. This year we have 12 calves on the ground (1088 to go!). The birth of new calves is always a wonderful thing, but the first few born each year are extra special. 

  

When these calves are born from the heifers that were raised in our own herd, it is a full circle moment to see them start out so healthy and strong. 

Beyond the obvious new beginnings of calving, spring is full of new beginnings all over the ranch, you just need to look a little closer to see them. 

  

Delicate new shoots of grass are bursting up from amid the old dead leaves. The sound of croaking frogs is a constant song in the background of every cow-checking trip. Pussy Willows have erupted their incredibly soft buds, begging to be picked and displayed in the house.  In spring, even the most old things seem new again. 

A Moment of Reflection 

Earth Day reminds us to take the time to have a closer look at our impact on the world around us. As much as we believe we are doing a great job at being Stewards of the Earth, there is always more to be done. Can we tweek our grazing plan to improve the longevity of our grassland, reducing the need for rejuvenation (and all the fossil fuel and chemical use that goes with it)? Can we change our herd health program to better keep the animals in our care in the best health possible? Can we manage and reduce the drainage on our land to have minimal impact on the land down the road? 

Earth Day is a reminder that of all the answers we have found over the years, sometimes you still need to ask some hard questions. If I have ever learned one hard final answer in Agriculture, it is that no one has all the answers. So we will takes these new beginnings, and be grateful for them. After all, I hope that someday our great-great grandchildren have the opportunity to ask hard questions of themselves on Earth Day.