A UK farmer’s perspective: What are the consequences when biotechnology innovations are withheld?

Alex Whitebrook/ July 10, 2018/ News/ 0 comments

How much would your life change if the government suddenly were to ban mobile phones?

It would alter everything, mostly for the worse, from how you work to how you communicate with your family. In time, perhaps, you’d get used to it: Our parents managed to survive without these devices for most of their lives. I anticipate we’d figure out a way as well, but it would certainly cut into our efficiency, and our lives are busy and complicated enough as it is.

That’s what we face today in farming, at least here in the United Kingdom. I, along with the majority of the population, do not want to revert to 20th-century technology. We’d lose so much. But farmers here face constant pressure to go backward in time.

In Europe, for example, politicians last year nearly banned us from using the world’s most popular crop-protection tool, glyphosate, which has been used safely for almost four decades and has a stamp of safety and sustainability from every major regulatory agency in the world.

This year, a European Union court released a judgmentthat will deny our access to several neonicotinoid insecticides that defend crops from destructive pests based on inconclusive data that they might be a factor in bee health problems; they will be replaced by insecticides phased out 20 years ago which are known to actually kill bees and may pose a health threat to humans.

All too often, people see technology as a threat rather than a resource. This is especially true when it involves a poorly understood technology that’s vulnerable to propaganda and misunderstanding. In my case, as a farmer, this means technology specific to agriculture, needed by farmers but also scorned by people who don’t understand or appreciate the difficulties of sustainable agriculture and take for granted that their food will show up at reasonable prices in grocery stores and restaurants.
Read more HERE.

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