For Local Farmer, Non-GMO Gamble Pays Off
EFFINGHAM, ILLINOIS – March 7, 2016: Local farmer Mark Goldstein has been growing genetically modified corn on his family farm in Effingham for a long time - like most everyone else in the area.
However, his brother, Bob Goldstein, President and Co-owner of Hodgson Mill, (headquartered just miles from the farm where they both grew up) had been talking for several seasons about consumer demand for Non-GMO products and the difficulty of sourcing Non-GMO ingredients -- especially corn, which is considered a ‘high-risk’ ingredient.
“I told him Non-GMO corn gets a better price, but Mark argued it wouldn’t yield as well,” Bob remembers. “I told him, ’You don’t know that!’”
Now, Mark says, “corn prices are down. Not even break-even price.” The idea of growing non-GMO corn suddenly made financial sense.
It was a little bit of a gamble. Mark might do everything right: cleaning equipment, sacrificing border rows, and processing separately to prevent cross-contamination. But the moment of truth was an expensive lab test - if his corn tested positive for modified genes, the crop would only be worth the regular rate, and extra effort and lab fees would be for nothing.
The Goldstein farm took plenty of precautions. “We had to clean the combine out,” Mark explained. “Then I did all the Non-GMO corn first. We took 24 rows off of the edge next to a neighbor’s field just to be safe--Bob said we only had to take 12 but I took 24. I wasn’t gonna spend the money on the test unless I was sure it was gonna work.”
It almost didn’t. Mark submitted samples, but an initial test in Hodgson Mill’s lab came out close to borderline. “We did a test first to check if it was likely to pass,” explains Hope Yingst, Quality Assurance Manager at Hodgson Mill, “It was close. Mark decided to go ahead and send it along.”
Fortunately, the official results were within acceptable limits, and Mark was able to schedule his delivery of about 50,000 pounds of corn – which he was able to deliver himself, just across town with his own tractor and grain wagons.
All in all, Mark found the experience of growing Non-GMO corn “ . . pretty painless, outside of having to get it tested. I thought it yielded a little better than the other corn we had. But it was a challenging year last year with all that rain.”
More images available upon request. Interviews with Bob Goldstein, (President) Hope Yingst (Quality Assurance) or others may be arranged; Mark Goldstein may be available to comment at his discretion. Contact Hodgson Mill at 217-347-0105 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Proudly located in the heart of the Midwest, Hodgson Mill stone-grinds whole grains the old-fashioned way with North Carolina pink granite millstone and create flours, corn meals, baking mixes, hot cereals, whole grain pastas, and sides.