Nebraska farmer talks with Smithsonian audience

Zach Hunnicutt, a Nebraskan popcorn and soybean farmer, joined a panel at the Smithsonian Intuition’s National Museum of American History this weekend as a part of the Food History Weekend.

Some topics of the program were water use, farming in urban areas, opportunities for beginning farmers and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Hunnicutt said he used cover crops, saying, “We’re looking to the past for innovation.” 

Hunnicutt was the only conventional farmer on the panel that also included Nikiko Masumoto and David Mas Masumoto, a father and daughter who farm in Fresno, California; Malik Yakini, founder and executive director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network; and Kathleen Merrigan, executive director of sustainability at George Washington University.

"GMOs gave us a way to control weeds using few chemicals, but we didn't do a good job explaining this, Hunnicutt said as he shared some of the benefits of biotechnology. He also said letting fear over GMOs win the discussion could hurt farmers in difficult growing conditions and affect consumers worldwide.

The Smithsonian’s Food History weekend also includes a screening of the movie “Farmland” at the Warner Bros. Theater on Saturday followed by questions and answers with Randy Krotz and film subject Leighton Cooley.

Organizations in this story

American Farm Bureau Federation 600 Maryland Ave SW Suite 1000 Washington, DC - 20024

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