Monthly Archives: April 2010

Genetically Engineered Crops Benefit Many Farmers

Terry D. Etherton

Many U.S. farmers who grow genetically engineered (GE) crops are realizing substantial economic and environmental benefits — such as lower production costs, fewer pest problems, reduced use of pesticides, and better yields — compared with conventional crops, says a new report, Impact of Genetically Engineered Crops on Farm Sustainability in the United States, from the National Research Council.  However, GE crops resistant to the herbicide glyphosate — a main component in Roundup and other commercial weed killers — could develop more weed problems as weeds evolve their own resistance to glyphosate.  GE crops could lose their effectiveness unless farmers also use other proven weed and insect management practices. Continue reading Genetically Engineered Crops Benefit Many Farmers

Family Dairy Farms and Immigration Reform

Chad Dechow
Associate Professor, Dairy Cattle Genetics
Department of Dairy and Animal Science
The Pennsylvania State University

Published in American Thinker, April 18, 2010

The American Farm Bureau (AFB) has declared the “Season Right for Meaningful Immigration Reform.” The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) has issued dire warnings of farms being forced to close their doors and store milk prices skyrocketing if immigration reforms that guarantee an uninterrupted flow of low-cost laborers are not enacted. Such claims ignore decades of store milk price trends and the heavy loss of dairy farms this country has already experienced despite (and perhaps because of) the steady pace of illegal immigration. Continue reading Family Dairy Farms and Immigration Reform

Food Security for a Billion Poor

Uma Lele
Volume 327;1554,  2010

Published 26 March 2010

THERE ARE AT LEAST 1 BILLION POOR PEOPLE LIVING WITH CHRONIC UNDERNOURISHMENT, and the United Nations (UN) Millennium Development Goal of substantially reducing the world’s hungry by 2015 will not be met. The developing world’s poor are experiencing the effects of higher commodity prices, and declining agricultural productivity growth is exacerbating the problem. Next week, leaders in science and society will convene in Montpellier, France, for the first Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD 2010) to organize sweeping changes in global agricultural research. The meeting follows major reforms of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), endorsed in December 2009. CGIAR’s new business model is meant to more effectively address food security, focusing on people, results, and efficiency. “Mega Programs” (now called “Themes”) will deliver research outputs to achieve scaled-up impacts on poverty, and a new fund will harmonize donor contributions to support CGIAR’s 15 research centers. But the total global investment in public-sector agricultural research is 20 times greater than that of CGIAR. How to better harness this critical resource (along with private-sector investments) for worldwide poverty reduction will be a major focus for GCARD. Continue reading Food Security for a Billion Poor