Site Meter

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Tradition in Southland - letter

(Published today in The Southland Times)

Restoring Southland's heritage apple collection has taught me the value of the traditional crops of our region. Those old tried-and-true varieties are healthier, stronger and better tasting than the few slick, modern varieties that were touted as "better" and "easier" than those apples our grandparents grew to feed their families. I respect the farmers that planted the apples that kept their settler families served with fruit. Traditional is best and natural is safer.

Today in Southland, we are witnessing a serious change to how we grow crops and farm animals. The traditional ways are disappearing fast. New crops, like the swedes that are at the centre of the poisoned cow issue, have been developed using "clever" modern methods and matched-up with the use of powerful herbicides that knock out everything but the engineered swedes. Thousands of hectares of Southland land is being hit with these chemicals and planted with the modified seeds. The results of that have made it to the front page of our newspapers and not for a good reason.

But it gets worse. In the latest edition of NZFarmer, our local Federated Farmers' president, Russell MacPherson, describes his visit to a Monsanto Corporation farm in America, where his mind was changed in favour of genetic modification and now he has returned to Southland enthusiastically promoting the practice.

It seems, sadly, that Southland farmers are rejecting the good work of their grandparents and are choosing instead to farm according to the chemical and genetic scientists.

No comments: