The Free Market is Solving the GMO Problem
By Philippe Gastonne - April 23, 2015

When Justin Dammann enters his southwestern Iowa cornfield this month, the 35-year-old farmer will sow something these 2,400 acres have not seen in more than a decade — plants grown without genetically modified seeds.

The corn, which will head to a processor 20 miles down the road this fall, will likely make its way into tortilla shells, corn chips and other consumable products made by companies taking advantage of growing consumer demand for food without biotech ingredients.

For Dammann and other Midwest farmers, the burgeoning interest in non-GMO foods has increased how much they get paid to grow crops in fields once populated exclusively with genetically modified corns and soybeans. The revenue hike is a welcome benefit at a time when lower commodity prices are pushing farm income down to what's expected to be the lowest level in six years.

"We never really thought we would go back to (non-GMO). But the consumer, in my opinion, has sent a clear message that a certain percentage of our customers are willing to pay more for the non-GMO lines," Dammann said. "This non-GMO thing has seemed to take hold and gain a lot of traction." – Des Moines Register, April 18, 2015

This story is a marvelous example of consumer preferences encouraging producers to change their behavior, without any government intervention. Markets work – when we let them.

Monsanto and the other genetically modified seed companies insist their products are safe. A substantial number of consumers have their doubts. The number is large enough to have enticed GMO-free food companies to step up their offerings. Alternatives are often more expensive than the GMO versions, but they're available.

Consumers in some states have tried to force labeling requirements on GMO products. As we wrote a few weeks ago, the effort is facing fierce industry and political resistance. If the trends in this article continue, it won't matter. Consumers will eventually get what they want.

Mandatory labeling would have been a blunt instrument. If it had solved the problem, there would still have been other harmful side effects. This is how government interventions usually work, however well-intentioned they are.

The market may move slowly but it is far more precise. Look what is happening. A significant number of consumers want foods made from GMO-free grains. Food companies provided them.

The article mentions some examples. General Mills will no longer use GMO cornstarch in Cheerios. Chipotle Mexican Grill wants to eliminate GMOs from all its ingredients. Whole Foods will require GMO labeling by 2018.

All this is happening without any state intervention. The businesses are responding to their customers.

With demand growing but the supply of non-GMO grains relatively tight, prices for those grains have gone up. The higher prices enticed farmers like the one quoted in the Des Moines Register. His concluding comment ought to send a chill up Monsanto spines.

"Hopefully we deliver the right product and people are passionate to buy (GMO free) — because that is the direction we are moving," he said.

Oddly, the GMO industry does not seem to be getting the market's message, still spending enormous amounts of money on campaigns to convince the public GMO crops are safe.

They are missing the point. In marketing, perception is far more important than truth. Whether the bioengineered products are safe is irrelevant. Consumers rule. If they decide they don't want your seeds in their Cheerios, it does not matter if science is on your side.

Time will tell how the battle turns out. Maybe GMO and non-GMO products can coexist peacefully and each serve their own consumers. The companies and consumers will find out quickly – if they let the market show them.

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  • Bill Ross

    exec summary: Smith’s “unseen hand” (of collective choice) is NOT just for economists. Its for EVERYONE, every minute of every day, navigating the seas of life.

    Don’t LET THEM control YOUR CHOICE:

  • Akzent

    “…The Free Market is Solving the GMO Problem…”
    As there will never by a free market the GMO problem will never be solved.
    GMO is no alternative to GMO-free food and was never meant to be. Such things believe only ignorants.
    The GMO problem is that the Zionist gangsters want to rule the world – a world of only cira 500 million people! – and GMO is one of their choices to reach that goal.
    Besides, the free market is not the solution, the solution would be a society without property thinking – together instead of against each other – and having no Zionist mass murderers with One World Government ambitions. It’s the property thinking in essence that is our real problem. But most people are not able or do not want to think it to the end. Money is only half of the truth, but it helped the mass murderers of God to rob nearly the whole world. But what will they have if the peoples of the world don’t accept property thinking anymore? This will probably not happen, because the people are to absolutely stupid (due to GMO) and because there are so much weapons on the banksters side there has to happen a wonder.

    • Bill Ross

      so, curl up and kiss your a$$ goodbye is “your solution”?

      everything good about the dregs of civilization previously did not exist until clear thinkers “fought for” it. The bad is also fought for and maintained by criminals (predators, those who cause harm). And, you opine the “good” cannot win? The good is peace and collective survival. YOU willing to give this up?

      your defeatist “opinion” is THE PROBLEM

      • Akzent

        “…The good is peace and collective survival…”
        I know, and I fight for it, every day, I don’t want to give up, and I will never give up, but the masses are so stupid and ignorant, that’s our catastrophe. They will drag us all into hell by understanding nothing, doing all said to them and obay 24/7. I see me as a clear thinker, too, but it’s hard to fight in this world of today.

        • Bill Ross

          “the masses are so stupid and ignorant”

          a “meme”. They have the wit to “want to survive”, but are propagandized to “believe” the falsity of “at someone else’s expense” (requiring arbitrary power of the state as “neccessary”). WRONG and, “natural law” and school of hard knocks is AGAIN beating this FACT OF LIFE into very thick skulls. Those who do not heed “will not survive” (unfit).

    • Webforager

      If complete control is the goal, a lower population is not advantageous. A denser population makes the world smaller.

  • Our weaponized, elitist controlled Feral government created the trifecta of Carbon LIES to promote further energy and food system monopolies. There is NO Carbon climate forcing, NO ‘sustainable’ energy and NO ‘peak’ oil. Using this TRIFECTA of FRAUD, the rabid EPA has forced biofuels as ‘sustainable’ solution. It takes 100,000 BTU/gallon of planting, irrigating, fertilizing, harvesting, processing and distributing to produce one, 80,000 gallon of Ethanol that you add to your 110,000 BTU gasoline to reduce your mileage by 15% and ruin you engine. Interesting that 15% less gas mileage, means MORE Feral government tax revenue, as more is consumed for the same mileage driven.

    This article, “The Four Known Scientific Ways Carbon Dioxide Cools Earth’s Climate”, by Dr Pierre Latour, PhD Chemical Engineering explains proven, century old properties of this benign, three atom, mandatory for life gas molecule. There is oil under every rock that you frack because Earth is a Hydrocarbon production planet, see “Fracturing the Fossil Fuel Fable” also at the Principia Scientific International website. With consumer pushback on monopolist Mon-SATAN-O GMO poison, the weaponized EPA is trying to force current 10% blend to 15% and manufacturers are announcing they will not honor engine warranties for this change. Since some autos are certified for E-85, this MANDATE would not hit ALL vehicles, and the EPA might be tempted to push this arbitrary ELITIST goal. The ONLY way to confront the profound EVIL in current control of our false paradigm reality is to confront the most vicious act of the 21st century….

    “9/11 Conspiracy Solved, Names, Connections, Details” on youtube. Forward this to your state Homeland “Security” Committees and….


    [for Texas, contact >]

    • BTW….the decades old, FAKE climate debate was exposed in “Lukewarm Lemmings and the Lysenko Larceny” at FSS, and > Climate Change & Thermodynamics, a two hour interview on +600 radio stations.

    • Bill Ross

      What do you expect from those who are motivated by a percentage, independent of (mutually agreed) value? They don’t give a crap whether the economic transaction has “value”, or is destructive. They get their “pound of flesh” from the corpse of western civilization, regardless.


      until the fact we have hit the economic singularity (Greed much greater than Productivity) overcomes idiotic / insane “trust, faith and hope”

  • dave jr

    I am highly critical of Monsanto et al because of the way they conduct themselves (basically bullies) in the market place. Personally I could care less if my food is GMO or not. Man has been genetically modifying crops for centuries through (un)natural selection, hybridization, splicing/grafting, etc. Only recently is it being done in the labs at the cellular level and called GMO. Only recently the modifications are to make crops tolerable/resistant to highly toxic synthetic pesticides and herbicides. This, to me, is the need for concern. I want to know what biohazard is present in my food, no matter the trace amount. Here, government has a chance to do something useful; but as always, falls down on the job, is inept or traitorous in favor of the lobby over the constituent. As consumers, we are better off looking for the ‘organic’ label, though this is no guarantee either. Toxins can lay in the soil for a long time and what is the potential for uptake in various crops later? So, for me; what is being sprayed is the issue. Not GMO. But hey, that’s just my opinion.

    • Bill Ross

      reconsider you agnostic opinion regarding GMO in light of FSS’s “fuel” post below, replacing BTU with “nutritional value”. By reducing it, we must buy more than natural foods provide.

      …and, if GMO ever achieves “a monopoly”, recall the seeds of GMO crops are are intentionally sterile. Really want a corporation to have a monopoly on seeds to starve us to servitude?

      • dave jr

        First, converting foodstuff to machine fuel, as FSS points out, isn’t economically viable; and probably wouldn’t happen without government subsidy. The use of GMO for this purpose doesn’t change the fact; and so this is a moot argument.
        Second, not all GMOs are ‘terminator’ seeds. This is a different topic, as is the patentability of seeds, rather than a production process.

        • Bill Ross

          you misinterpreted: was not speaking of biofuels fraud. Was speaking of “reduced nutrition” of GMO, forcing us to consume more.

          as to “not all GMOs are ‘terminator’ seeds”, perhaps not, to lull us into complicity. BUT, come the monopoly, they will be. The cynic in me believes that (wind / animal borne) fertile GMO seeds are just a means to sue hapless farmers where these seeds end up as thieves of the seeds / IP. Lot of lawsuits regarding this.

          • dave jr

            “forcing us to consume more.”
            Where is the forcing? Would you interfere with market choice? And I’d argue that most “reduced nutrition” comes from the processing in food factories.
            “Lot of lawsuits regarding this.”
            Ergo, my criticism of Monsanto as a “market bully” and a compliant government.
            So no. I’ll stand by my opinion that GMO is not my concern. But there are a lot of issues that circulate around it, that are.

          • Bill Ross

            Would you interfere with market choice?

            no, but the “labelling issue” (right to fully informed choice), fought “tooth and nail” by GMO camp IS market interference.

            Personally, I believe this is a consequence of big Ag, which is a consequence of big Gov monopolization favoring regulations. The “labelling issue” is a band-aid to compensate. Food is most economically produced and consumed locally, without major distribution overhead. Know your farmer is prudent, but, perverse dis / incentives oppose this.

          • dave jr

            “right to fully informed choice”
            Good luck with that.
            As consumers barking up the tree, the squirrels are not in that GMO tree…is all I’m suggesting. Perhaps the GMO controversy is one that Monsanto knows they can win, and serves as a distraction from many other of their sins? As I have argued so many times before in these DB threads; there would be little monopoly without favorable government regulation designed to create it.
            Your last paragraph, I agree 100%.

  • autonomous

    It will be better for the consumer to shop for foods labeled non-GMO than to avoid goods not labeled GMO. For, while I don’t necessarily trust marketers’ labeling, I absolutely don’t trust governmental consorts who might label GMO foods, by some bought and paid for legal lie, non-GMO. What Monsanto is doing in Maui, Hawaii under the protection of their governmental umbrella, experimenting on human beings in the name of science, is very much like Nazi experiments, literally, on steroids. The contamination of crops in the rest of America is very likely unavoidable already, with cross-pollination and over-spray from nearby fields beyond the control of ‘natural’ farmers. Even if the efforts of Monsanto and the rest of bio-tech were somehow halted, the damage they have inflicted on the ground and on seed stock will take years, if ever, to negate. Just as the changes they have already engineered to the human gene pool, whether intended or not might well be permanent, so might the earth and all that is therein be already permanently polluted by unaccountable hubristic scientists.

  • tom

    Interestingly enough, the Russian government has recently announced a new initiative to boost Russian food production – with a heavy emphasis of healthy organic foods. It would be really funny if more and more people in “the West” chose to import their food from Russia in order to prevent it killing them or making them sick.

  • Keith Liberty

    Until peer-reviewed scientific studies validate the safe long-term consumption of GMO foods…….they will always be FRANKEN-FOODS to me. I buy local organic and will keep it that way. I guess that is why I’m healthy and have “zero” chronic health problems.

    • dave jr

      ” peer-reviewed scientific studies”
      Can’t trust them either, nowadays. Kudos to your consumer choice!

      • Bill Ross

        yep, only “approved peers” need apply

  • William Scott

    When GMO, geoengineering, biotech, big pharma, et al. shares soon (?) start to seriously PLUMMET (as people are now ‘waking up,’ in DROVES) then I suspect Crown lackies like Gates and Buffet will AWAKEN to the ‘reality’ that so- called ‘consumers’ are NOT as foolish, as they are… The question IS… are we going to let the PTB TAKE OVER this planet? Or are we going to rather ‘collectively,’ round these perps UP and try, convict and be DONE with them all??? As frankly speaking… TIME… is definitely NOT on ‘our side.’

    • dave jr

      ‘Rounding them up for conviction’ is as futile as government ’rounding up’ their noncompliant. But natural law is on ‘our’ side and is expressed in the market and always ‘catches up’ to exact justice. All I can do, is what I can, in the ‘catching up’. I doubt that positives from GMO engineering will plummet any more than advances from any other kind of engineering. But the paralleled unsavory practices geared toward command and control? No bets.

    • Bill Ross

      all “seriously PLUMMET”

      since the stock market is a “crap shoot” with insider rigged roulette wheels. Not to mention the underlying (decree of man) fiat metric of “value” is inexorably headed for, to be kind a “crisis of confidence”, in this CONfidence game.

      • dave jr

        Yes, in that respect, I agree. The day of reckoning is the day of awakening to, exposure of… the ‘con’. Bit by bit, piece by piece, having been dammed up with the faux currency, will flow out like a tsunami. It is inevitable. Time will tell.

        • Bill Ross

          yep, sorta like the Gutenberg press woke up medieval Europe that the clergy were lying with respect to “God’s will”, a “bait and switch” to “their will”

          Ours will not be just a minor intellectual epiphany, it will be an “its either us or THEM” survival epiphany. And, it “won’t be pretty”. Luckily, we can just stand aside and let the “bait and switched” entitled do the heavy lifting and dirty work.

          • Or as TDB is known to say… The Internet Reformation is a process not an episode.

          • dave jr

            Except the Gutenberg press would have been useless to those ‘standing aside’. Leaving the battle up to ‘entitlement’, no matter the outcome, is a lose/lose proposition. I’ll notice, with your website, that you have done way more than stand aside. Thank you!

          • Bill Ross

            by “standing aside”, I mean take a page out of US WWI, WW2 military “tactics”. Let your enemies “duke it out”, weaken each other, then move in for “the kill” after they have softened each other up.

            Tho “point” of my website is to provide reason and, strategic / tactical knowledge for those who opt to “carpe diem”. And, to let those who are intelligent KNOW: you are NOT alone.

            Thanks for the “plug”

            should correct any implication that I respect the US. The tactics are straight from Sun Tzu, “The Art of War”.

  • NietzschesNephew

    Hey Keith, the peer review is a moot point as El Sevier has a special editorial desk/position that vets all biotech/GMO articles……. Dr. Richard E Goodman (I think), the man heading it up is a former monstanto exec. Nothing like the fox guarding the henhouse. DB, great to see this, thanks for pointing out examples of free market solving this problem, it would be great to see the other side too, a collection of legislation (for and against labeling) throughout the united states and other nation states.

  • Bill Ross
  • silversmith

    BS ! When the gmo Pollen drifts from nieghboring gmo fields onto the “non gmo” plants The producer will still have to pay royalties to the GMO Giants . The crop will be contaminated and not marketable as non gmo .

    • dave jr

      Perhaps, when provable in a court of law, the GMO fields would have to pay reparations to those neighboring fields affected, instead of vise-versa? End of GMO by market decree. Again, it is the shortcoming of a government that pretends to protect life, liberty and property. Lets not be distracted.

      • silversmith

        Speaking of being distracted , where have you been?
        monsanto forces nongmo farms to pay up – Google Search

        • dave jr

          Did Monsanto force them or did government force them to pay up…by threat of conviction, fines or loss of farm subsidy? If Monsanto went door to door as armed thugs, and without a government protected racket, who would continue to be their ‘customer’. How long would they last until a posse chased them down? And if not Monsanto, then how about Micro Soft or GE or …? We can swat at house flies all day long, but maybe someone should close the door. I am aware of the Monsanto tactics. I also think it is ludicrous that they can use the ‘law’ to stop farmers from saving Monsanto brand crop seed for next years planting. What do they believe is in natures growing/reproductive process that they own? This is not a GMO issue, but it is still a Monsanto issue. And with the door wide open, a legislative/regulation issue enabled by a faux currency issue. Distracted? Ah, what’s on the label? Ewww, its got them nasty gmos.

  • 2prickit

    “If the trends in this article continue” (hope) further on is quoted directly from one person, the farmer … who is he? who said “Hopefully
    we deliver…”? Has this Des Moines Registrar been investigated? It very well may be evidence of other a sham arguments set up to be defeated [straw man]. Most mid-west farm land is owned by corporate giants. Is there any evidence ownership of land is being subdivided as sold to non-MGO growers? If so, then that is a sign the corporate state is reversing trends.

    Too many what ifs and only one news article referenced to the big picture without investigating land ownership, be it private or corporate,
    and nutritional analysis of this corn as compared to wild corn grown in virgin soil, to support all this hope. The issue as usual will be determined by who pays for the advertising; and the motifs Madison Avenue artists present that successfully draws the larger share of crowds of health conscious consumers to market. However the corporate-state food stamp program may be the deciding factor.

  • davidnrobyn

    But if you think this lesson will be noted, much less learned, I’ve got a bridge to sell you…

  • UnwillingContributor

    When someone is using frankenfoods, full of glyphosate, as part of a soft kill, they don’t care what the market thinks, except inasmuch as they want to mollify, pacify and con, getting you to consume their toxins.

  • Joelg

    I am surprised by all the comments in support of Expanding the Nanny State beyond the IRS, schools, vaccinations, Obamacare, etc. Mandatory GMO-labeling proposals, below the surface, usually also include reciprocation: Mandatory Government-Certification as Non-GMO (for a host of “good” reasons). Most likely Non-GMO foods produced by small farmers would go unlabeled, as a result.

    These calls for the Nanny State to add more Police State functions would effectively put a percentage of small Non-GMO farmers out of business. In a world of Government Labeling Politburos and Czars, Monsanto would keep its competitive advantage, as Non-GMO crop production suffers an economic disincentive under labeling laws (having to pay for certification for growing what farmers have always grown for centuries).

    Naturally, the new Food Labeling Politburos would also be subject to regulatory capture; being political entities, with revolving doors for Government Labeling employees who would get rich Monsanto salaries (similar to DOD and military officers moving to military contractor jobs for big bucks).

    Monsanto will keep going, with or without labeling, for the simple the reason that it is profitable either way; perhaps even more so with labeling laws. The Free Market approach should be given a chance. Too early to give up and ask for Mother Government to intervene as the Food Nanny; which it no doubt will be eager to do. This is why we have Big Government, Higher Taxes. Popular Demand.

  • marcosanthonytoledo

    The problem is the GMO Agribusiness are like legal poisoners given their backers are eugenics backers. Who think they’re better than anybody else and think their entitled to everything. And besides they’re pseudo capitalist at best and criminals in million dollar suits at best who couldn’t run a lemonade stand

  • Elizabeth Martin

    Unfortunately,, TIME is against the consumer/population. While toxic GMOs contaminate the human and animal feed, they are also altering the health of both humans and animals. By altering/destroying necessary (to the immune system) gut bacteria, the GMOs, combined (alas, synergistically, according to current research) with glyphosate/RoundUp, health is being destroyed at a very rapid pace. It is not even safe to put “non-organic” manure on your garden, according to recent agricultural research. Consumers alone cannot possibly react fast enough to halt this destruction of health and soil, etc. Maybe a few dozen federal-level class actions suits might help – where are they? Cheers!