Honors English 1/2B
8 March 2018
A Day at Work
When I was about eleven years old, I decided to stay at home while my family went on vacation during the summer. My dad had to stay home as well because he had started a new job at a fertilizer and seed company. During the day, rather than stay at the house all alone, I decided to go to work with my dad. I went with him almost every day that week, but one day in particular stands out more than the others.
Since I was tagging along, my dad decided to do his best to explain what he did so that an easily distracted eleven-year-old boy could understand. Although I often fell asleep in my dad’s truck, I found some parts of this job extremely interesting. He showed me how to gather tiny insects along the hem of my Wrangler jeans, how to check if the alfalfa was pollinating, and how to collect a soil sample to be analyzed. Part of his job was examining farmers’ fields and recommending different types of fertilizer or seed for them to use. That day, my dad and I examined fields across the entire Magic Valley, from Gooding and Wendell in one direction to Burley and Albion in the other. Every field we went to, he told me what he knew about it: “This field is organic; this field is in drought because it’s up here where they don’t get much water to store; this field is genetically modified.” I understood what a drought was, and I didn’t particularly care if something was organic. I learned from my dad that possibly the most interesting aspect of this job was working with genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
As an eleven-year-old I really didn’t understand a lot about GMOs, only that they were a very controversial subject. My family had recently moved to Idaho from California. California is where a large amount of the nation’s fruit is produced, especially in the areas I lived in, so anything new in the agricultural community was talked about often. I asked my father a lot of questions about GMOs to possibly learn more about them than the fact that they were controversial, so he tried to show and to explain what everything was about. My dad showed me how well GMO fields grew compared to non-GMO fields. He explained to me that a genetically modified organism was an organism whose genes had been altered. He also explained to me that there were many ways to do so. He told me it was possible to genetically engineer anything from a glowing potato to a type of corn that was resistant to certain herbicides. As one would probably expect, rather than being satisfied with these long scientific explanations, I only had more questions. My biggest question was “Are GMOs better than normal crops?” The answer to that was always along the lines of “Let’s hope so, because Dad’s job wouldn’t be doing very well otherwise.” Anything beyond that, however, my dad simply told me, “Clayton, that’s a really good question. You should do some research on it and find out.”
So, I did. In school I...