Biotech’s Many Benefits [Opinion]

David EddyThe U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture’s Subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology, and Foreign Agriculture held a hearing last month to explore the societal benefits of biotechnology.

The hearing examined how consumers, farmers, and the environment have benefitted from traditional and modern applications of biotechnology. Some of the benefits of biotechnology included fighting diseases, increasing available food sources and conserving natural resources. The panel also responded to questions from committee members concerning the challenges of relaying factual information about these technologies to the general public.

“It is clear from the hearing today that biotechnology plays a critical role in meeting a number of consumer and societal needs,” said Chairman Austin Scott (R-GA) in a statement following the hearing. “In a world where it is important to help feed our expanding population while ensuring that everyone has access to safe, diverse, and quality food, the U.S. can, and should, be a leader in biotech development to address the coming challenges for future generations. Whether it is treating vitamin deficiency, autoimmune disorders or addressing hunger, biotechnology has and will continue to play a large role in global agriculture.”

“It was important to hold this hearing on the benefits of biotechnology because the stakes are high and biotech has a great story to tell,” said Acting Chairman Rodney Davis (R-IL), who filled in for Scott at the hearing. “Our farmers have the vital job of feeding a growing world and biotechnology is part of the solution. I’m excited for the future and believe the United States must continue to safely innovate through biotechnology to achieve higher crop yields, fewer hungry people and an improved environment.”

I was interested in the hearing in part because elsewhere in this issue we have included a part two of a special report, “Biopesticides Primed For Growth.” I wrote a story for the report in which I interviewed three pest control advisers. Each had some additional reasons why growers might want to try biotech products on their orchards and vineyards that I found eye-opening.

For example, organic growers of fruit and nut crops have long used biofungicides to battle mildew and botrytis, but in the past few years, conventional growers have joined them as biopesticides have become more mainstream. Because they are priced competitively, biopesticides work in a conventional program.

But beyond price, conventional growers are becoming increasingly concerned about resistance building against synthetic chemical fungicides. Using a biological in addition will not only make the synthetic more effective, it can help prolong the life of the chemical product.

Besides resistance, there’s an even more basic reason more growers are incorporating biopesticides into their plans. The large chemical companies have been pouring millions of dollars into biological research, increasing their biopesticide product portfolios. While biopesticides in the past might have been limited in their effectiveness, that’s not true today.

Finally, growers ship to many countries that have maximum residue levels (MRLs) for chemical pesticides that are lower than what most domestic buyers require. Growers who use biological products don’t have to worry about reduced MRLs.

It’s clear that today’s progressive grower should take a fresh look at biopesticides for the multitude of benefits they can provide.

 

Topics: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fruits Stories
Apples & PearsCompany Responsible For First GMO Apples Is Sold
February 27, 2015
Okanagan Specialty Fruits, the company behind the world's first non-browning apples, fetches $41 million. Read More
Stone FruitPeach Training Systems Aren’t One-Size-Fits-All
February 27, 2015
Although pedestrian, ladderless orchards are increasing in California, growers in Pennsylvania are opting for tall V-training systems. Read More
Apples & PearsThe Recession That Keeps On Taking
February 27, 2015
We’re still seeing the aftermath of the Great Recession on consumers’ purchasing habits seven years later. Read More
FruitsMaximize Produce Profits By Focusing On Soil Health
February 27, 2015
Cover crops are just one of the ways you can help boost your trees’ and vines’ performance and your bottom line. Read More
FNV logo
CitrusPMA Announces Funding For Major Produce Marketing Program
February 26, 2015
The produce industry is getting into brand marketing in a big way. The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) has announced the launch of a new promotional campaign - FNV - designed to take a page from the marketing strategies of big-money consumer brands like Nike and Apple. Read More
GrapesWashington Winegrape Industry Announces Honors
February 26, 2015
Awards included Grower of the Year, Industry Service, Lifetime Achievement, Restaurant of the Year and Posters. Read More
GrapesSonoma Agriculture Preservation Plan Unveiled
February 26, 2015
Winegrowers’ 100-year business plan is the first of its kind in agriculture. Read More
The Latest
FruitsWorkshop Set In Florida To Help Grow Local Food Movemen…
March 2, 2015
Meeting part of nationwide effort to train people how to attain grants for USDA’s Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion programs. Read More
Citrus18 Must-Have Apps For GenNext Growers
March 1, 2015
We asked about your favorite mobile applications, and here's what you had to say. Read More
FruitsDon’t Be Afraid To Charge More For Value Of Agrit…
February 28, 2015
A higher admission price helps to sets a level of expectation and helps offset the costs of running a successful farm marketing operation. Read More
FruitsMaximize Produce Profits By Focusing On Soil Health
February 27, 2015
Cover crops are just one of the ways you can help boost your trees’ and vines’ performance and your bottom line. Read More
FNV logo
CitrusPMA Announces Funding For Major Produce Marketing Progr…
February 26, 2015
The produce industry is getting into brand marketing in a big way. The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) has announced the launch of a new promotional campaign - FNV - designed to take a page from the marketing strategies of big-money consumer brands like Nike and Apple. Read More
FruitsHave Faith In Science – Which Means GMOs [Opinion…
February 25, 2015
When it comes to farming, sticking with established, commonly accepted science is the way to go. Read More
Apples & PearsFrom The Road: IFTA Conference Day 4
February 25, 2015
Creating fruiting walls with mechanical hedgers can help increase light interception in the canopy, say researchers and growers. Read More
Food Safety“Dirty Dozen” List Authors Say Conventionally Grown Pro…
February 25, 2015
Sound science prevails and consumers are encouraged to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables. Read More
CitrusFDA, Federal Partners Develop New Method For Attributin…
February 25, 2015
Data was analyzed from nearly 1,000 outbreaks to assess which categories of foods were most responsible for making people sick. Read More
CitrusBiocontrols 2015: Exhibition Sneak Preview
February 25, 2015
We take a look inside the exhibit hall at the Biocontrols 2015 Conference & Tradeshow. Read More
CitrusNew App Helps Identify Insects, Diseases, And Nutrient …
February 24, 2015
Spensa Technologies launches app that helps growers take control of pests and improve soil nutrients. Read More
CitrusPacked Political Agenda On Tap For Florida Farmers
February 23, 2015
The Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association’s board of directors are working on a number of key issues that will be front-burner throughout 2015. Read More
Apples & PearsThe State Of Mechanical Apple Harvesting
February 23, 2015
Breakthroughs in mechanization have been a long time coming, but recent advances combining the skills of both people and machines are bringing efficiencies to orchards of all sizes. Read More
Apples & PearsOn The Road With IFTA: Conference Day 1
February 21, 2015
Honeycrisp ― and the delicate balance between quality and profitability ― are the preconference workshop focus at this year's IFTA Conference. Read More
CitrusWest Coast Governors Call For End To Port Labor Impasse
February 19, 2015
U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez helps mediate discussions between dockworkers and port operators. Read More
CitrusCompanion Biological Fungicide Now OMRI Listed
February 19, 2015
The biological fungicide from Growth Products is now registered for use in organic production. Read More
Crop ProtectionFMC Launches Biological Fungicide With New Mode Of Acti…
February 18, 2015
The broad spectrum fungicide, Fracture, is labeled for prevention and control of powdery mildew, botrytis, and brown rot blossom blight. Read More
CitrusNew Desalination Technology May Be The Answer To Califo…
February 18, 2015
Researchers plan to address concerns with a process that will examine ways to turn seawater into drinkable water. Read More