"By the beginning of the 21st century, robots may even be picking our fruits and vegetables," Associated Press reported in 1992. At the time, scientists were attempting to "improve on Mother Nature's foods" with the creation of genetically engineered fruits, vegetables and grains - the so-called "foods of the future".
In May 1992, the Bush administration announced it would permit the sale of such foods without government testing. The president of Industrial Biotechnology Association declared at the time, "Today . . . was really a milestone because it lays out the road map for the commercialization of these products." All possibilities including crops that would not require chemical pesticides were looked at. The director of a research center operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the University of California at Berkeley stated at the time, "All of those things are targeted at how we can increase the productivity of our land, our agricultural environment, which is getting smaller."
Back in 1985, commentator Ted Fleischaker made the comment, "Mother Nature changes her mind nearly daily (and sometimes it appears hourly) what weather she wants, and each time she changes, she baffles the modern technology that we call heating and cooling." At the time, "I'm not yet sure why modern technology can't fix the problem because they have everything already." On reflection, "Mother Nature is smart," said one chief of neonatology at Mercy Hospital. "Normal gestation is 38 to 42 weeks. You're not supposed to come out at 28 weeks. When you do, you have to pay the consequences." He was discussing baby born prematurely. "We're at Mother Nature's mercy," one collector of sap from maple trees to make syrup nodded.
"Man has tried through the ages to build better cows – cows that could produce more milk or meat; cows more resistant to disease. The traditional method was a slow process relying on the imprecisions of Mother Nature," Associated Press told readers in 1984. "But the development of embryo transplants in the past 10 years (between 1974 and 1984) has created a revolution in cattle breeding. Blue-ribbon donor cows able to produce 33,000 pounds of milk high in butterfat are injected with an ovulating hormone that produces many eggs. The cows are then artificially inseminated with semen from a prize bull. The fertilized eggs are flushed from the cow's uterus, then transplanted in the wombs of lesser cows. The technology allows breeders to produce dozens of choice milk cattle in a year."
Between 1980 and 1984, "a genetic machine has produced 50 calves." Investors were said to be impressed with the earning potentials ("absolute fortunes") particularly "bulls that carry their mother’s milk-making genes can be even bigger money makers for breeders. Owners of such bulls can demand $250 for a 'straw' of semen and a prize bull can produce 40,000 straws in a year." Also at the time under tax laws, such cows were considered farm equipment, allowing owners to depreciate the cow's sale price over 5 years. Under the rules at the time, a $100,000 investment in a so-called "supercow" can bring an annual tax advantage of $20,000. One former stockbroker with 25 donor cows revealed, "It's a market in which if you do things right you are nicely paid and there's the satisfaction of contributing to the genetics of the premier dairy animal. But if your management and fundamental decisions aren't right you won't make a lot of money." It was understood owners could also deduct all costs of keeping the cow, including feed, shelter, medical care and insurance. Even cost of the surrogate mothers was said to be depreciable.
In 1974, there were 2 registered embryo transfer births in the United States. In 1983, the number climbed to 9766. The official with the Holstein-Friesian Association of America which was established in 1970 told reporter Fred Bayles, "The super-ovulating cow simply increases the income for the owner." It was pointed out "embryo transplants benefits to farmers cows allows dairy farmers of 1984 to produce more milk with half the herd of operations of 20 years ago (in 1964). The average upkeep for a cow was roughly $1,500 a year. As a result the diary cow population in the U.S. has dipped from 25 million in 1954 to around 12 million in 1983."