We are happy to announce a new blog series - the Weekly News Round-Up! Each week, we’ll share our favorite biotech and agriculture stories from the week.
This week, Donald McNeil wrote a piece for The New York Times that reported on the virus that is ravaging cassava crops (known elsewhere as manioc, tapioca and yuca) throughout Africa. This is especially alarming because many Africans are dependent on this crop and this could lead to famine and economic disaster. Scientists and agricultural experts are currently researching the virus and hoping to develop strands of cassava that can withstand the disease. Case studies such as this show why agricultural biotechnology is crucial; a disease-resistant cassava crop would not just help farmers economically, it would save lives.
TIME’s “100 Most Influential People” includes Kathleen Merrigan, Dep. Secretary, USDA
This week we were pleased to see that Kathleen Merrigan, Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), was included in TIME Magazine’s annual list of the “100 Most Influential People.” Merrigan is a leading force in the USDA and recognizes that to feed the world we will have to employ all agricultural methods, including biotechnology, conventional and organic agriculture. The article says, “…she supports conventional farmers, refuses to vilify biotech and relishes above all else a good steak.” Merrigan is also known for her work on the National Organics Standards Board and helping to develop the the 1990 Organic Foods Production Act.
Survey finds that a majority of Americans would support GM wheat
Additional good news came this week in a survey commissioned by the International Food Information Council (IFIC). The survey found that most Americans (80 percent) would be receptive to foods containing GM wheat if the wheat was grown sustainably, meaning “if they were produced using sustainable practices to feed more people using fewer resources such as land and pesticides.”