This week, we found more ag biotech stories to share, including some great news out of the EU that could lead to the approval of more biotech crops in Europe.
CTIC releases latest Sustainability & Biotechnology Report
The Conservation Technology Information Center just released its latest report on improving sustainability efforts with agricultural biotechnology, according to AgWired. The report, released at the end of May, stresses the importance of environmental and economic sustainability to farming. “Biotechnology-derived crops and the sustainable farming systems they facilitate are key tools in the race to grow more food, feed, fiber and fuel while protecting the environment,” according to a statement made in the executive summary for the report. READ MORE »
CBI attended the public briefing of a National Academies Report, “The Impact of Generically Engineered Crops on Farm Sustainability in the United States.”
According to the report in brief:
“Corn, cotton and soybean that have been engineered to resist insect pests and herbicides are now planted on almost half of all U.S. cropland. An analysis of the U.S. experience with genetically engineered crops shows that they offer substantial net environmental and economic benefits compared to conventional crops; however, these benefits have not been universal, some may decline over time, and potential benefits and risks may become more numerous as the technology is applied to more crops.”
The report concludes that additional research that studies the full effects of GE crops is needed, and private-public partnerships are necessary to help realize the full potential of genetic engineering.
What traits would the “perfect plant” have? In Science’s “Sowing the Seeds for the Ideal Crop,” researchers present a wish list of crop improvements needed to increase production and achieve sustainability.
Some of researchers’ “lofty goals” include restructuring root and leaf architecture to increase water use efficiency, improving the nutrient content of seeds and edible plant parts, and adding genes for toxins that will kill only pest insects.
The article also discusses technologies that can make these changes possible, such as artificial chromosomes, RNA interference, targeted gene replacement and robotics. While these techniques are still being developed and refined, it is clear to scientists that they are part of the solution to providing more food for the world.
Science also provides further insight into how to feed the world’s growing population with their video, “Feeding the Future.”
Tune in at 9PM EST tonight, March 8, and watch a group of agricultural experts discussing the future of food. You are invited to submit questions for the experts by logging in through your Twitter or Vokle account. You can also participate in a real-time chat with other audience members so you can connect and collaborate with others interested in sustainability issues.=
Featured opinion-leaders participating in this week’s EcoChat include:
Michele Payn-Knoper: Michelle is the founder of two popular, weekly moderated Twitter chats, #agchat and #foodchat. She speaks professionally about agriculture, food, nutrition and social media as the voice behind CAUSE MATTERS CORP, and she’s a mom who’s lived on a farm her entire life.
Brandon Hunnicutt: Brandon is a 4th generation Nebraska farmer specializing in corn, soybeans, and popcorn. He’s beginning his 13th year on the land and enjoys playing a little Wii with his kids every now and then.
Learn more about EcoChat and how to tune in: http://www.ecochicago.blogspot.com/