This comprehensive report from the National Academy of Sciences aims to provide an in-depth analysis, a report of its findings, and offer recommendations on the issues and opportunities.
In general, the committee finds that genetic-engineering technology has produced substantial net environmental and economic benefits to U.S. farmers compared with non-GE crops in conventional agriculture. However, the benefits have not been universal; some may decline over time; and the potential benefits and risks associated with the future development of the technology are likely to become more numerous as it is applied to a greater variety of crops. The social effects of agricultural biotechnology have largely been unexplored, in part because of an absence of support for research on them.
From the report (p. 213), there are five key challenges facing genetically engineered crops:
The success of genetic-engineering technology in the United States has altered the seed industry by spurring consolidation of firms and integration with the chemical industry.
How the intensive use of current and prospective GE organisms will directly affect the natural environment differently from other agricultural production systems is incompletely understood.
Progress in developing GE varieties for most “minor” crops (e.g., fruits and vegetables) and for other “public goods” purposes not served well by private markets has been slow.
The presence of transgenic material in non-GE products should be addressed.
U.S. farmers who grow GE crops may face market restrictions from some countries or retail firms on the importation or sale of the crops or products made from the crops.
Being able to mentally manage multiple plots of land, their associated soil properties, and the weather is no longer possible. However, the availability of computing power in multiple consumable sizes makes gathering, organizing, and using farm data much easier.
"I don't want to do this. My eyes will get bad," said Mr. Shinpuku, the 58-year-old president of his commercial farm Shinpuku Seika, which is comprised of 300 different plots of land. "I put up with it, because the benefits are obvious. Without this computer, I can't do my job."
Technology provides faster analysis and presentation of multiple forms of data. This allows Mr. Shinpuku to adjust in a timely fashion. This approach will help grow more food at less cost.
The Japanese technology firm Fujitsu Ltd helped put in the field remote sensors, provide cloud based analysis tools, and simplify access to information through smartphones.
Charles Wildman(@standingoaks), as an Ohio pork producer and crop farmer, offers straight forward suggestions on utilizing social media tools in agriculture and why it is important to do so. This conversation is from the 2010 AgChat Foundation Agvocacy 2.0 Training, August 30-31, Chicago, IL, USA.
Tricia Braid(@agchick), Director of Communications for the Illinois Corn Growers Association and the Illinois Corn Marketing Board, provides concrete examples of how social media tools can effect a change in how people perceive agriculture. Social media time management tip: "It has to be the thing you are interested in; find the topic that gets you hooked and the time wouldn't matter. Stick with what does and forget the rest." This conversation is from the 2010 AgChat Foundation Agvocacy 2.0 Training, August 30-31, Chicago, IL, USA.
It looks like the demand picture is getting a little brighter. At least the foodservice side of the picture appears to be improving according to the National Restaurant Association. Its monthly performance index, based on a survey of restaurant owners, rose above 100 in March for the first time since August 2007. Hopefully the optimism of restaurateurs can translate to high demand for dairy products and increased profit for dairy producers.
Karlie Justus(@KarlieJ), PR/social media associate account exec with Howard, Merrell and Partners, talks about how she is working to engage crop producers. What are crop producers using to connect digitally? How can companies like BASF connect to growers? Karlie shares some information on ag media and their use of social media.
Hopefully you enjoyed a happy Thanksgiving with friends, family and plenty of dairy products. We are continually thankful for each of you actively helping to grow DairyCast. We always enjoy your feedback to help us provide you with the information and solutions you need to succeed. Let us know what’s on your mind today by sending me a note to Feedback@DairyCast.com.
FYI, Elanco Animal Health released the new, higher concentration of Rumensin. Listen in as Dr. Chel Moore, PhD and Technical Consultant for Elanco, explains the details you should know.