Beyond hitting nearly three-quarters of U.S. corn and soybean crops, drought has had a global impact on food price volatility and agricultural productivity. To help address these challenges, World Food Prize Laureate Catherine Bertini and former US Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman call for supporting agricultural research and technologies that will help equip farmers with the tools they need to manage severe drought conditions.
They state in a Politico opinion piece, “We should increase support for the agricultural researchers, in the U.S. and around the world, who are developing remarkable new drought and flood tolerant crop varieties. The results of this research will be essential if the agricultural sector is to continue to meet food demand in the face of weather variability.” READ MORE »
Engaging with the public on the benefits of plant science is a must, Dyer says
According to the European Crop Protection Association, the UK Crop Protection Association’s chief executive Dominic Dyer said at a gathering of industry leaders that continued innovation in plant science is crucial in addressing food security and climate change challenges. . He warned that restrictive EU legislation on modern crop technologies discouraged investment and would ultimately put Europe’s farmers at a competitive disadvantage.
Mr. Dyer emphasized, “In a world of rapid population increase and ever-growing demands on our land, water and energy resources, we must do more to communicate the values of our industry to policy-makers and the wider public.” Read more.
Secretary Vilsack supports a new generation of farmers
Farm Futures reports that Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s address to the participants of the 2012 Commodity Classic was met with enthusiasm as he outlined his priorities for the 2012 Farm Bill, which include support for biofuels, expanding exports, and increasing funding for agricultural research.
Secretary Vilsack called for America to support measures that would provide fresh incentives for farmers, creating “a new generation of farmers.” Read more.
USDA continues to show support for GM crops, Washington Post reports
The Washington Post points out that the USDA has continued to strengthen the position of GM crops with the approval of GM alfalfa, GM corn and limited approval of GM sugar beets. The article notes that USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack has “long supported genetic engineering.” Read more.
Genetic modification used to fight banana disease in Uganda, CNN reports
According to CNN, research shows that genetic modification may help to fight banana disease in Uganda, the world’s second largest producer of the crop. Thirty percent of Uganda’s banana crop has been infected with the disease. Professor Wilberforce Tushemereirwe at the National Banana Research Program, which is leading the research project, says, “Results from the lab were promising.” He added in the article, “indications are that the field results will follow suit.” Read more