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.
U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow announced her “Grow it Here, Make it Here” plan will encourage bio-based manufacturing in Michigan by giving tax cuts to businesses who invest in bio-manufacturing or purchase equipment to manufacture bio-based products. If adopted, the plan will lead to heightened investment and job creation.
She joined with President Obama and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to call for a 50% increase in government purchases of new bio-based products to boost America’s rural economy through innovative agriculture.
Secretary Tom Vilsack said, “The companies that manufacture these goods employ about 100,000 Americans - many of them in rural communities - by marrying together two important economic engines: agriculture and manufacturing.” Read more.
Today, the World Food Prize Foundation announced that the 2011 World Food Prize will be awarded to former president of Ghana John Agyekum Kufuor and former president of Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva for their contributions to improving food production and alleviating hunger. The World Food Prize is the premier international award recognizing individuals who have increased the quality, quantity, or availability of food in the world. This is the first time in its 25 years that the World Food Prize has been awarded to heads of state.
The winners were announced at a ceremony at the U.S. Department of State that featured USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah and World Food Prize Foundation President, Ambassador Kenneth Quinn. The speakers used the opportunity to emphasize the importance of alleviating hunger worldwide, and the role of innovations to help us meet the challenge of food security.
Under Secretary Robert Hormats opened the ceremony by calling for policies and programs that support agricultural technologies such as “new innovative disease resistant crop varieties.” Echoing his sentiments, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah described his vision of sharing ag technology worldwide to help prevent global hunger. Both Mr. Lula da Silva and Mr. Kufuor promoted technologies as tools to alleviate hunger and, as Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said, “made a fundamental difference in their countries.”
President Lula da Silva’s administration spearheaded efforts to make Brazil a world leader in the adoption of biotech crops. He supported a $23 billion investment in a four-year “Plan for Action for Science, Technology and Innovation,” which funded research and innovation in biotechnology, among other science initiatives. Brazil claims 17 percent of the world’s biotech crops—only second to the US in total cropland devoted to biotech crops. During his tenure, Ghana’s former president Kufuor urged West African leaders to embrace biotechnology to help fight hunger in Africa.
Visit here to learn more about the World Food Prize laureates.
At yesterday’s Agricultural Outlook Forum, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said that the record high export numbers predicted for this year demonstrate the success of science in improving agricultural productivity globally. Affirming his commitment to promote science-based farming methods and reduced trade barriers, he said,
“We need to do a better job of working with scientists and farmers and political leaders to make sure there is a consistent message that comes from this country about the importance of biotechnology as a strategy for meeting world demand.“
He further explained, “It’s one of the reasons why we put together a specific effort to do a better job of educating folks about the benefits about technology, the capacity of that science to be able to reduce the reliance on chemicals in fertilizer, the ability to produce food in areas that today may not be as productive, the opportunity to use less water, and potentially conserve our natural resources as a result of the science.” Read more.
At today’s Agricultural Outlook Conference, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said that U.S. agricultural exports are expected to reach a record of $135.5 billion in fiscal year 2011 thanks to the high productivity of American farmers.
“Our export success is a testament to the productivity of our farmers and ranchers and underscores the quality and value of U.S. farm and food products. Agriculture also continues to play an important role in support of President Obama’s National Export Initiative goal of doubling all U.S. exports by the end of 2014.” He has previously stated that biotechnology plays an important role in increasing productivity. Read more.