DC—The Department of HyperAgriculture announced Monday that it will begin investigating possible restrictions on the cultivation, implementation, and breeding of genetically modified farmers, weighing possible safety and health risks against the farmers' dramatically increased yield and efficiency.
"As evidenced by the many strong opinions regarding these farmers, we can all agree that more research needs to be done," said Secretary of HyperAgriculture Roald McDonald in a press conference this morning. "Whatever happens, we cannot let our growing population's need for more and better foods lead us recklessly into the creation of 'Frankenfarmers.'"
McDonald added: "That said, I can't deny the benefits of an agricultural laborer who subsists on common weeds, grows his own exo-overalls, sweats pesticides, and whose six arms end in retractable plows, scythes, and harrows."
Several larger North American corporate states are already using GM farmers to perform specialized or time-sensitive tasks. Monsanto-Idaho has successfully used a gene-gineered strain of Mountain Anderson farmer, noted for its ability to scale great heights and farm potatoes on the sheer faces of Rocky Mountain cliffs. A similar genetic model was used to create the MegaHusker, seven of which now cultivate 85 percent of Nebraska. Likewise, McCormick-Beatrice has vastly increased the shellfish and kelp harvest off the Oregon coast by using fin- and gill-equipped Eugenic Mermen.
The risks associated with GM farmers are well-documented.
Coding errors in the genetic blueprints of some common GM-farmer models have led to congenital defects, such as the inability to distinguish between terrified migrant workers and large produce items like pumpkins. Additionally, some scientists allege that GM farmers could breed with non-modified farmers, resulting in unforseeable mutations.
"We've been assured by the patent-holding companies that these farmers are sterile, and pose no danger of contaminating standard human bloodlines," McDonald said. "Contrary to stories you may have heard, there will be no havoc wreaked by a countryside populated by super-lascivious farmers' daughters."
However, some argue that the solitary lifestyle many GM farmers lead as a result of their sterility poses a danger to area residents.
"These farmers were created from human stock, and face many of the same problems as traditional farmers," said Jans Karlsen, an agricultural-oversight officer with the Second UN. "The poor creatures suffer from depression, obesity, alcoholism, and loneliness just like 'normal' farmers, but their enhanced attributes serve to amplify the effects. We're not likely to soon forget what happened when that MegaHusker went on a three-day drinking binge in downtown Omaha last year. He sang 'He Stopped Loving Her Today' for three hours at close to 150 decibels and blew out windows as far away as Lincoln. Traffic was stalled for a week while he slept it off on the downtown highway interchange."
Critics have lobbied for the scaling back or elimination of GM farming, but hyper-farming-industry leaders say it's too late to turn back the clock.
"We can't put the genie back in the bottle," Monsanto North head of research Sam Houseman said. "GM farmers are indispensable to modern agriculture. It takes 20 normal Nebraska farmers to harvest, shuck, and crib one ear of Titanicorn. Special climbing equipment and helicopter pilots are needed to tend Rocky Mountain boulder-tubers. And I frankly don't know how a wrangler with only two arms—neither of which ends in a prehensile lariat or bio-electric prod—would deal with a runaway MonSteer."
McDonald said his panel will reach a decision on GM-farmer regulations by the end of the year, adding that it is inevitable that some form of GM farmer is "here to stay."
"It would be unfair to deny the American agricultural industry the genetic-engineering advantages already enjoyed by Asian and European farmers," McDonald said. "In addition, it would seem strangely restrictive to deny the farming industry GM technology already so widespread in fields like large-scale construction, computer programming, pornography, and professional sports."