Food and Agriculture in 2 Minutes
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The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, along with a group of independent scientists, has written to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke calling for a reversal of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s new policy banning the use of genetically modified seeds to feed wildlife. According to the group, the ban is “arbitrary and capricious” as they argue GM crops are the most sustainable and effective methods of seed improvement. The group urges the Interior department to reverse the policies and support science.
In other biotech news, Washington University’s Mark Wrighton argues the Bayer-Monsanto merger is good for the region in an op-ed for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The chancellor and chemistry professor says the merger will strengthen efforts to benefit thirteen million farmers globally using biotechnology to help increase crop yields, protect crops from pests and produce food more sustainably. Noting the merger will also help boost the local Midwest agriculture economy, Wrighton asserts change can be good.
Meanwhile, Paul McDivitt of Genetic Literacy Project examined claims from a Purdue Study about whether neonicotinoids, a popular insecticide, increase crop yields. While the study found that treated seeds provided little benefit, McDivitt contends his interviews with farmers across the nation say otherwise. The majority agreed that neonic seed treatments are a low-cost insurance policy against a small but potentially devastating risk, and are essential to crop yields.
Another pesticide, Dicamba, was the topic for a CropLife article by Eric Sfiligoj, who reported the insecticide’s suppliers such as Monsanto, BASF, and DowDuPont, have emphasized the need to provide training programs across the country in order to provide good stewardship of the technology. He contends Dicamba has the power to transform agriculture, but only if used correctly, stressing the importance of educating farmers on following label instructions and procedures in order to avoid a ban or increased regulation.
I’m Maya Menon for the Food and Ag in 2 report in Washington.