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Science is Allowing this Bible Verse to Come to Fruition

Ezekiel 36:29-30 -- "I will also save you from all your uncleanliness: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you. And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen."

While exiled in Babylon, the prophet Ezekiel had much to say about the future of Israel and its neighboring states. Towards the end of his book, he details future hope and salvation for the Holy Land. 

Since this scripture was purportedly written, famine has indeed occurred in many places around the globe, but science has been quickly working to make the idea of famine obsolete. Between agriculture management, the engineering of the genetic code and fertilization, famine is likely a thing of the past.

Controlling your farm from the comfort of your living room
As an internationally recognized brand, Deere & Company  (NYSE: DE  ) has been providing farmers with the most advance equipment available since its first cast-steel plow in 1837. Since that time, Deere's innovation and consistency have been staples that farmers the world over have grown to rely on. 

As part of its latest product line-up, Deere & Co has begun offering its FarmSight suite that promises "Intelligent, automated equipment brings more precision, convenience and uptime to your operation." This setup takes the "Internet of Things" to a whole new level by connecting entire farms wirelessly. By increasing machine uptime and ensuring reliable, uniform methods of tillage, planting and harvesting, farmers are essentially guaranteed to be as efficient as humanly -- and mechanically -- possible. All of this helps maximize yields and cost effective operations. 

From the ground up
Aside from the manpower and machinery necessary to plant and harvest the payload, fertilizer is arguably the most important factor in maximizing yield available for consumption. While not undisputed, PotashCorp of Saskatchewan (NYSE: POT  ) is a leader in all three major fertilizers used by farmers on nearly every acre of arable land. While its bread and butter is its namesake potash, PotashCorp also produces a meaningful amount of nitrogen and phosphate supplements. 

According to the company and multiple other sources, fertilizers account for greater than "40% of the world's total crop yield." Without this advantage, not only would a greater percentage of the global population go hungry, but those that are lucky enough to have access would be required to dedicate a greater portion of their income towards maintaining a healthy diet. 

Unfortunately, things are only going to get more complicated moving forward than they have been in the recent past. Experts the world over expect the global population to reach 9 billion by 2050. While that may seem like a distant horizon, time has never seemed to move at a quicker pace. In just the next six years alone, arable land available for agriculture could be half the acreage we had at our disposal in 1950. The importance of maximizing yield is far from its zenith.

The building blocks of life
Regardless of your stance on genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, they appear to be a necessary evil. Seeds are the foundation of pretty much everything we eat or drink -- aside from water. Unfortunately, overpopulation has created a situation where crop failure on a massive scale could be simultaneously catastrophic to any number of geographic regions around the world.

Resistance to drought, infestation or disease can now be baked directly into a seed's genetic structure, and a large population isn't happy about it. In the grand scheme of things though, this population pales in comparison to the one that would suffer if this practice wasn't spearheaded by companies like Monsanto (NYSE: MOS  ) and E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (NYSE: DD  ) , or DuPont as it is more commonly known.

Together, these two companies are working towards a more sustainable agriculture landscape geared towards providing a rapidly growing population with a diet of necessary nutrients. Monsanto, for instance, began its quest to double the yield of crops like corn, soybeans, cotton, and "spring-planted canola" within the next 16 years.

On the same token, DuPont has resigned itself to dedicate 60% of its research & development budget towards methods of "ensuring that the world’s growing population has enough to eat." Based on the company's R&D budget of $2.1 billion in 2012, that equates to a single company spending $1.26 billion to ensure the world has enough square meals each and every day.

It take a village...
Together, these companies and their peers are working hard to feed a population of seven billion and growing. By all accounts, these seven billion are becoming wealthier and more accustomed to western diets full of protein and grains. While current developments appear to be making headway towards ending world hunger, myriad challenges remain, especially given the near-30% increase in global population by the year 2050. So while, Ezekiel's promise is much closer to being kept, there is certainly work to be done, regardless of how controversial it might be.

From the "Internet of Farming" to the "Internet of Things," we have you covered

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Read/Post Comments (7) | Recommend This Article (2)

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  • Report this Comment On January 26, 2014, at 7:15 PM, typicalGeek wrote:


    King James (I assume) translation fail. All other versions I checked all say "grain".

    FACT: Corn was unknown to anyone mentioned in the Bible, and certainly not to Ezekiel c. 600 BCE. In fact, it was most likely unknown outside of the Americas until European settlers started invading what we now call North America about 2,100 years later.

  • Report this Comment On January 27, 2014, at 12:58 AM, DevonShire123 wrote:

    First of all, this verse was God speaking only to Israel, so to cite it in your article is retarded. Second, GMO food is poison, so it really makes true any Bible verse about worldwide pestilence and starvation. So, way to be stupid from every angle.

  • Report this Comment On January 27, 2014, at 1:36 AM, DickHamilton wrote:

    typicalGeek - check what you say before you say it - all over Britain (and Holland and the old Low Germany/Friesland, Scandinavia, and Denmark, give or take slight changes of pronunciation), farmers talk of cornfields, but they don't grow maize. For more than a thousand years, the anglic word 'corn' has been used to refer to ANY grain crop (barley, oats, wheat. rye...). It's a generic term for a grain. When my Dad fed the hens, he gave them a handful of what he called 'corn', but there wasn't any maize in it.

    When English -and German- people got to America, and started to grow crops, they naturally used the term they were already familiar with to refer also to the new crop they found when the interacted with the natives and further west, the Spanish, and eventually they began to differentiate 'corn' from the other crops they knew. But in Britain and Northern Europe today, corn still means what it did hundreds of years ago.

    So, you're wrong. Plain and simple.

  • Report this Comment On January 27, 2014, at 1:44 AM, DickHamilton wrote:

    oh, and by the way, typicalGeek - the source of the word 'corn' is germanic/old Saxon, and the root word is pronounced more like 'kern', the same root as 'kernel', get it? It's a VERY OLD word, and did not originate in America.

  • Report this Comment On January 27, 2014, at 6:23 AM, Gralin wrote:

    Look up Lysine, Barnase and Bt-Toxins in Brazillian research.

    "It is surprising that the European authorities, after implementing biosafety legislation which is based on the precautionary principle and demands scientifically robust ecological risk research and assessment for two decades, still rely on the systematically flawed protocols and on data developed and promoted by the biotechnology industry and their cooperating scientists," said Professor Brian Wynne, of the UK Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics (Cesagen) at Lancaster University. Prof Wynne continued:"

    From another open source:

    "It has been reported that Cry toxins exert their toxicity when activated at alkaline pH of the digestive tract of susceptible larvae, and, because the physiology of the mammalian digestive system does not allow their activation, and no known specific receptors in mammalian intestinal cells have been reported, the toxicity these MCAs to mammals would negligible [8,22,23]. However, our study demonstrated that Bt spore-crystals genetically modified to express individually Cry1Aa, Cry1Ab, Cry1Ac or Cry2A induced hematotoxicity, particularly to the erythroid lineage. This finding corroborates literature that demonstrated that alkali-solubilized Bt spore-crystals caused in vitro hemolysis in cell lines of rat, mouse, sheep, horse, and human erythrocytes and suggested that the plasma membrane of susceptible cells (erythrocytes, in this case) may be the primary target for these toxins [33]

    The study also found:

    1) That Cry toxins are capable of exerting their adverse effects when suspended in distilled water, not requiring alkalinization via insect physiology to become activated as formerly believed.

    2) That a dose of Cry1Ab as low as 27 mg/kg, their lowest tested dose, was capable of inducing hypochromic anemia in mice – the very toxin has been detected in blood of non-pregnant women, pregnant women and their fetuses in Canada, supposedly exposed through diet.

    3) Whereas past reports have found that Bt toxins are generally nontoxic and do not bioaccumulate in fatty tissue or persist in the environment, the new study demonstrated that all Cry toxins tested had a more pronounced effect from 72 hours of exposure onwards, indicating the opposite is true."

  • Report this Comment On January 27, 2014, at 6:25 AM, Gralin wrote:

    For further websearching:

    "Hematotoxicity of Bacillus thuringiensis as Spore-crystal Strains Cry1Aa, Cry1Ab, Cry1Ac or Cry2Aa in Swiss Albino Mice

    Bélin Poletto Mezzomo, Ana Luisa Miranda-Vilela*, Ingrid de Souza Freire, Lilian Carla Pereira Barbosa, Flávia Arruda Portilho, Zulmira Guerrero Marques Lacava and Cesar Koppe Grisolia*

    Department of Genetics and Morphology, Institute of Biological Sciences, University of Brasilia, Brasilia/DF, Brazil"

    So, yeah, there's more than one biblical verse being effected by Bt-toxin dense foods.

  • Report this Comment On January 27, 2014, at 4:37 PM, Jason1 wrote:


    C'mon... that study was conducted using the entire bacteria concentrated in very high doses in water. The only way we're ever going to ingest Bt bacteria is through organic farming. Bt corn does not express the bacteria. It only expresses a protein. So, you're trying to claim that gmo cops are hazardous because Bt bacteria might be? They're not the same thing!!

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Taylor Muckerman

Taylor is an Associate GM in our Fool International operations. Prior to that he covered all things Energy + Materials as an analyst. Over the years, he has built an investing skill set to rely on when evaluating companies inside and out. While at the Fool, he has made appearances on CNBC and Fox Business. In addition, he completed his MBA at the University of Maryland and will sit for the Level II CFA Exam.

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