We provide leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, and related issues based on sound public policy, the best available science, and efficient management.
We want to be recognized as a dynamic organization that is able to efficiently provide the integrated program delivery needed to lead a rapidly evolving food and agriculture system.
Strategic Plan Framework
USDA has created a strategic plan to implement its vision. The framework of this plan depends on these key activities: Expanding markets for agricultural products and support international economic development, further developing alternative markets for agricultural products and activities, providing financing needed to help expand job opportunities and improve housing, utilities and infrastructure in rural America, enhancing food safety by taking steps to reduce the prevalence of foodborne hazards from farm to table, improving nutrition and health by providing food assistance and nutrition education and promotion, and managing and protecting America’s public and private lands working cooperatively with other levels of government and the private sector.
What are GMO’s?
Genetically modified organism (GMO), refers to an organism, whose genetic material has been altered by genetic engineering techniques. In other words, they are organisms in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally. It allows selected individual genes to be transferred from one organism into another, including nonrelated species. Advancements in biotechnology allow for genetic modification to be used in both plants and animals. Essentially, genetic modification allows one to express the desired traits in an organism quickly and efficiently. Also, GM products offer traits such as enhanced nutritional content, taste, and shelf life. For example, one can cause a mustard plant to express for “Golden Mustard”. As a result, the seeds would express high levels of levels of beta-carotene, a precursor of Vitamin A, thus helping in treating Vitamin A deficiency.
History of Genetic Modification
Farmers and gardeners have been creating plant hybrids for as long as they’ve been growing plants via artificial selection. Biotechnology simply serves as a more technologically advanced method taking genetic engineering to the next level.
Pros of GMO’s & USDA’s policy?
As stated by the U.S. Census Bureau, the current world population is over 7 billion as of 2012, which is approximately double of what it what in the 1960’s. Out of those 7 billion worldwide, the U.S. constitutes over 3 billion. GMO have many benefits such as; increased production in quantities of food, lower pesticide use, and growing products with a specific desired trait. GM seeds allow farmers to produce bigger, more reliable crops. Plant breeding also results in crops better able to withstand the environmental challenges of drought, disease and insect infestations. This allows farmers to grow more food, and increase profitable crops for the marketplace. Nutrition-enhanced GM crops help to significantly decrease malnutrition. Ultimately, this also allows cheaper consumer prices for GM foods at the marketplace.
An Iowa State University study shows that without biotechnology, global prices would be nearly 10 percent higher for soybeans and 6 percent higher for corn. With the exponential growth of the human population, GM crops may be the only way to ensure that worldwide food production keeps up. Biotechnology also benefits the environment. A Center for Applied Special Technology report says biotech soy, corn and cotton have decreased soil erosion by 90 percent, preserving 37 million tons of topsoil. Biotech crops also provide a 70 percent reduction in herbicide runoff and an 85 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Research on potatoes, squash, tomatoes and other crops continues in a similar manner to provide resistance to diseases that otherwise are very difficult to control.
Every GM plant is examined by the FDA and EPA for potential health risks. Tests are done on plants before entering the food and animal feed supply. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that current foods containing biotech ingredients have passed human health risk assessments. In addition, the WHO says no effects on human health have been shown as a result of the consumption of biotech foods. According to the article “Breaking Chinese-style Fallacies and Rumors about GMOs”, most of the doubts about the safety of GM food are fallacious. It claimed that those rumors were due to the public’ s ignorance about biotechnology and the loss of confidence in government authority. In general, people fear the unknown or what they do not understand. To the general public, GMO is the nothing more this. GMO today is to what Y2K was in the year 2000.
Courtney from Study Moose
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