By Brendan Hinchey
Corn Transformation Team
“Where do you work?”
Well it used to be an easy answer, but it just doesn’t feel that way any more, as you get rolled eyes or an earful at a kid’s soccer game about how awful Monsanto is or some crazy story from the internet.
It’s tough for me, as I just don’t get all the bad sentiment. And in New England, it’s pretty bad.
I have good intentions. I went to a small liberal arts school in the Northeast with a reputation for tree huggers even within that sub-culture. I was looking to major in environmental studies until my first plant physiology class steered me toward the botany department.
So at my core I’m an environmentalist. I see great applications of this technology; it drove me on the Corn Drought Team and it continues to drive me now on the Corn Transformation Team in Mystic, Connecticut.
Things seem to be so polarized now, with such extreme views in all aspects of our society. Issues seem to burn hotter and quicker now with social media, and GMOs are a classic example. And when you get those rolled eyes or an earful it can be tough to stand your ground. I ask myself, is it worth it?
The answer is yes. I’ve had some great discussions, and a large part of that is due to me being informed and comfortable talking about the issues myself. The issues can be complex and the opponents can be passionate. At times it can feel like a faith-based discussion, which is certainly a tough one. But if you’re informed, the conversation is much easier. And if you listen, you can often learn what’s bothering people.
Have I converted legions of opponents of biotech? No, not yet, but I’m out there and I’m an advocate of the technology, actively engaged in outreach. With so many resources out there, from websites, to colleagues and coaches, there is nothing to stop you, too. And when you talk with people, share your stories. It’s easy to demonize a giant company but tougher to do the same to a neighbor who’s trying to help farmers deal with insect pressure.
Where do I work?
I work for Monsanto. Have you heard of us? We’re trying to improve crops. Where do you work?
Be an advocate!