Propaganda Agent Against Agricultural Progress

“Agent Orange Corn” is the worst sort of propoganda:

If your friend was drinking too many glasses of Jack and Coke, what would you do? Take away the Coke?

That’s the crazy logic behind the smear campaign against a crop that anti-biotech activists have mislabeled “Agent Orange corn.” What they’re really trying to do is ban a safe product that you probably used on your lawn this spring.

These professional protestors would like you to think that farmers are about to cover their cornfields with Agent Orange, the infamous defoliant from the Vietnam War.

The reality is utterly different. Agent Orange won’t touch my crops or your food, now or ever.

Researchers have developed a new variety of biotech corn that carries a natural resistance to a herbicide whose abbreviated name is “2,4-D.” It promises to become an increasingly useful tool for crop protection, especially as weeds develop greater resistance to other herbicides, such as glyphosate, also known as Roundup.

Before the rise of Roundup, in fact, 2,4-D was the American farmer’s herbicide of choice. When I was growing up, we used it on our farm. Its comeback brings to mind the familiar adage: everything old is new again.

It remains the most commonly used herbicide in the world—registered in more than 60 countries – controlling unwanted broadleaf weeds around the globe. It’s a key ingredient of the weed and feed that homeowners spread in their yards and recreational gardeners put between their vegetable rows.

It was also one part of the cocktail that went into Agent Orange. But if Agent Orange was a Jack and Coke, then 2,4-D was the Coke. The other major component was the Jack Daniels–it was the ingredient that made Agent Orange a potential threat to human health.

A corn plant that carries a natural resistance to 2,4-D is nothing to fear–but the scaremongering enemies of biotechnology, in their ceaseless campaign of misinformation, have let their anti-scientific political agenda trump the truth. They’ve decided to defame this innovation by dubbing it “Agent Orange corn.”

I’ll give them credit for one thing: The term has a nice ring to it. An English professor would note the assonance, which is a fancy literary word for a repeated vowel sound, in this case the “o” in “orange” and “corn.”

Yet it’s a piece of propaganda–a catchy phrase whose slickness aims to cover up a lie.


Read the whole thing.

1 thought on “Propaganda Agent Against Agricultural Progress

  1. Corn (and other plants in the grass family) is already naturally resistant to 2,4-D. That is why this broadload herbicide was in use long before the modern era of genetic manipulation. Sounds like a simple tweak to the natural resistance.

    Agent Orange was designed to kill everything, including grasses. Corn would have not chance against Agent Orange with or without the tweak.

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