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04.02.2018 |

GMO Corn to Blame for Soaring Pesticide Use

VTDigger Editor’s note: This commentary is by Michael Colby, who is a writer and maple syrup producer living in Walden. the former editor of the Food & Water Journal, and the co-founder, along with Will Allen and Kate Duesterberg, of Regeneration Vermont.

Ending its three-year stall on publishing statewide pesticide usage data, Vermont’s Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets finally released the information in January in response to a public records request. The newly released data covers the years 2014-2016, and it shows a dramatic increase in pesticide use on Vermont’s dairy farms, particularly when it comes to managing GMO cornfields. The use of glyphosate, for example, more than doubled in those three years, while overall corn-related pesticide use rose 27 percent.

GMO corn is now grown on more than 92,000 acres in Vermont, making it – by far – the state’s number one crop. And all of it is being grown for the state’s 135,000 cows, mostly now confined as the large, mega-dairy model increasingly takes over, seen most dramatically in Franklin and Addison counties, where “farms” are now warehousing thousands of cows.

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