I have read Soybean Digest for many years. I tend not to put much stock in what I read in it because I know where a lot of the advertising money is coming from - large chemical companies. I know a lot of farmers buy into these chemical companies' idea of what farming should look like in the future, so I never bothered to write to you.

But two letters in the December '98 issue (page 7, some editions) caught my eye and made me think that there may still be a few farmers who have enough sense to think for themselves.

Samuel Justice voiced a concern I have long had with the issue of bioengineering. According to its proponents, it's supposed to be good for farmers (more yield), good for the environment (fewer insecticides), and good for consumers (end-use specific crops, cheap food, etc.). These sound like wonderful things, but the reason they are being pushed so hard is because they are good, extremely good, for the bank accounts of the companies dealing in this technology.

As Rose Marie Guetterman noted, how can farmers pay high prices for this while getting poor prices for their crops? I have long wondered why farmers have been told that they must be more efficient and raise more food in order to feed a hungry world, and then have those same farmers pay some promotional organization to figure out what to do with all the crops they are producing.

More and more scientific evidence has been coming out supporting the view that bio-engineering is potentially, and quite likely, unsafe. It is surely unneeded, since, judging from today's prices, grain isn't worth much.

As bad as Bt corn or Roundup Ready beans may be, they are nothing compared to the "terminator" technology coming out, with the help and support of our very own USDA. I am frightened, really and truly frightened, by this. Has anyone stopped to think what could happen if this gene were to become spread around in our environment?

Scientists are too arrogant (or ag companies are too greedy) to admit that they do not fully understand this technology. And they have no historical data to support their claims that this technology is safe. Our farms and our planet are the testing ground. Doesn't that frighten anyone besides me?