The Real Story on “Agent Orange Corn”

A new buzzword aimed at skewing long-established farming practice has popped up, this time causing people to question the safety of the corn now growing in fields across America.

CBS’s morning news show aired a segment this morning on “Agent Orange Corn,” a new herbicide produced by Dow Chemical intended to kill the “super weeds” that have taken over corn fields across the country. Other media sources have also covered the issue.

The controversy was started and has been stoked by Vietnam War veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange, which contains 2, 4-D, while serving in the country in the mid 1960s. The herbicide was used to kills grasses and leaves that covered much of the Vietnam countryside, exposing people and places on the ground.

Many Vietnam veterans have attempted to link their exposure to Agent Orange to cancer, birth defects and skin rashes. A definite link has never been proven and according to the American Cancer Society, “in most cases, neither type of study provides definitive evidence on its own.”

Now the powerful 2, 4-D chemical is being used in herbicides to kill weeds that have grown tolerant to other types of weed control systems. These weeds are often referred to “super weeds,” and invade fields, reducing yields and drawing valuable nutrients and moisture from the soil.

Dow, who produces the 2,4-D herbicide, has also announced its intentions to develop a corn variety that would be resistant to 2,4-D, allowing farmers to spray their corn fields at all points in the growing cycle, without damaging their crops. Currently the 2,4-D herbicide can only be used at the start or very end of the growing cycle.

As media outlets have begun reporting on the new herbicide, people have begun questioning the safety of their food. Sadly, no accurate answers are provided and people are forming their own, inaccurate opinions. So let me bring you the accurate facts, straight from the corn fields of Central Kansas.

– All herbicides and seed varieties used in our fields MUST be approved by the Food and Drug Administration before it can be sold for public use. That is the same rule that covers any other food and beverage released for public consumption. If it’s not safe, it doesn’t hit the store shelves.

– Farmers across the country currently use similar forms of herbicide and herbicide-resistant seeds – such as Round Up and Round-Up Ready Corn to defeat weeds. The 2,4-D herbicide is no different in technology and use. We, like most farmers, have used herbicides and herbicide-resistant seed for several years and been able to substantially improve our yields, producing more food for fewer dollars – that is vital as people demand affordable food sources.

– To date, no deaths have been linked to herbicide use on plants. In fact, many backyard farmers use the same practice to keep their produce and vegetables safe from bugs and invasive weeds.

– Weeds are unwanted trespassers in our fields. They pull valuable moisture from the soil and can stunt the growth of crops. Traditional farmers, such as my husband and his father, do not only rely on herbicides to remove weeds but also use the tractor and disc to till under the weeds and manually pull them from the ground – like a gardener would do with his rototiller or hoe. Ask my husband and he will tell you that uncontrolled weeds in a corn field would have a “major” effect on yields for that corn. That means less food for both people and our animals.

– As the population of the U.S. and entire world grows, it remains vital that farmers have access to the tools and resources that allow them to produce more food using fewer acres and inputs. That means new advances in seed technology, pesticide and herbicide use, irrigation and harvest practices.

– We, as farmers and ranchers, aim to provide a safe and healthy food supply. We would never use a product or produce a crop that was not safe for human consumption. If you have questions or want to see for yourself, make your way to our farm. We are glad to show you around!

5 thoughts on “The Real Story on “Agent Orange Corn”

  1. Good start, but misses the point. The real danger lies in how the GM corn affects the inside of our intestines. (See below)


    Dow has developed a genetically modified corn called “Enlist,” which is resistant to 2,4-D.

    Controversy flares over “Agent Orange corn”
    By Sharyl Attkisson

  2. And let’s not forget Napalm, another Dow product and one of the most quoted passages of a U.S.Army source:

    ‘We sure are pleased with those backroom boys at Dow. The original product wasn’t so hot – if the gooks were quick they could scrape it off. So the boys started adding polystyrene – now it sticks like shit to a blanket. But if the gooks jumped under water it stopped burning, so they started adding Willie Peter (white phosphorous ) so’s to make it burn better. And just one drop is enough, it’ll keep on burning right down to the bone so they die anyway from phosphorus poisoning.’

    “The Vietnam war memorial in Washington is 492 feet long. If a similar war memorial had been made for the Vietnamese who died, with the same density of names, it would be nine miles long.”

  3. Reblogged this on MommyDoctorFarmer and commented:
    Well written blog about the need for herbicides (chemical sprays that kill weeds in our fields) and why we as farmers need to utilizes these products. This was written by a new friend from the American Farm Bureau Women’s Communications Boot Camp.

  4. I quote from the article: “All herbicides and seed varieties used in our fields MUST be approved by the Food and Drug Administration before it can be sold for public use. That is the same rule that covers any other food and beverage released for public consumption. If it’s not safe, it doesn’t hit the store shelves.”

    It should be noted that the head of FDA is an ex-employee of Monsanto who is along with Dow Chemical the major companies dealing in GMO seeds and both, along with 34 other US companies, were responsible for Agent Orange used over a ten-year period on Vietnam resulting in the deaths of many thounsands of Vietnamese and leaving today in Vietnam 4.8 million suffering from its effects.

    Neither the US Govt or Monsanto or Dow etc will acceot responsibilty nor will they pay one cent to those affected in Vietnam. If the readers wish to know of the dangers of 2, 4.D let them ask the US Vietnam Veterans who are suffering from the effects of Agent Orange.

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