GE not our farming future

The Government’s National Science Challenges include an arrogant intention to spend taxpayers’ money on swaying community opposition towards support for genetic engineering.

While the jargon loaded Challenge documents are a struggle to read, the message by pro-GE scientists in the primary production section is clear.

For the primary production challenge, first on the list under adaptation is “new biotechnologies”, a euphemism for genetic engineering among other things. The notes say:

“Societal (and Government) acceptance of genetic modification and other biotechnology is still not at a level that allows rapid uptake of new technologies and further societal discussion is needed as the global experience of this technology and the nature of this technology evolves.”

Using public money to sway public opinion towards unwanted and failed GE technology is not something to celebrate. Genetic engineering on a global scale has resulted in increased pesticide use, increased insect chemical resistance and chemical resistant weeds, community dislocation, and biodiversity loss.

The New Zealand community and its best value markets do not want GE products.

The primary production challenge is a missed opportunity to focus on a new vision of sustainability, using the best of organic and biological farming systems that give farmers profitability, while engaging in genuinely sustainable systems. We don’t need more of the same old agricultural science strategy of patent based silver bullets such as DCD and GE for their unsustainable dairy based mess.

The answers exist for agriculture, but those with the hands on the reins of science funding and agriculture seem fixated on old strategies with unsustainable and unwanted technologies.

54 thoughts on “GE not our farming future

  1. National wants New Zealand to embrace genetically-engineered crops. The Greens want New Zealand to remain a ge-crop-free country.
    I support the Green’s position. There is no need for ge-crops in New Zealand. There is however, greed.

  2. Great news.

    If you want to stay in the dark ages, fine. The rest of us are happy to progress, as will the rest of the world.

    The benefits of GE clearly outweigh the negatives.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2ET7Xv2m9k

    Meanwhile, organic continues to tank, as it is sensitive to economic cycles:

    “Organic food sales fall by up to 31 per cent as consumers hunt for value in recession. Sales of organic food are falling by up to a third as the recession prompts shoppers to switch to value brands – UK”

  3. DTG! How dare them!
    well if they dare spent tens (if not hundreds) of millions tax payers’ money to fund their brain washing campaign for selling our assets without our concents…this time this one is just a tiny case of wasting tax payers money again, there will be more and more examples…The whole myth/image of Key and his govt is created/maintained by close mates’ ADs/PR firms; they also demands more and more…and more and more lies will be sold to the public…
    can’t say more, so depressing

  4. The dark ages? Horticulture and agriculture pre-ge was ‘the dark ages’?
    Thousands of present-day New Zealand farmers and croppers would think you a fool if they read that comment, Arana. Are our dairy farmers, feeding their cows on conventionally-bred grasses living in ‘the dark ages’? Are our grain growers, orchardists and market-gardeners with their non-ge crops living in ‘the dark ages’, Arana?
    Drip.

  5. The dark ages?

    Yes, the dark ages.

    Why the hysteria about science applied to plants? It provides proven benefits including increased resistance to herbicides, pest resistance, drought tolerance, and/or improved nutritional content.

    Like anything, we need to monitor and adjust, but “GE not our farming future” is extremism, and not a call Browning can make.

  6. The Dark Ages – give the Federated Farmers president and the Fonterra CEO a call, Arana. Tell them you call the state-of-the-art practices they claim for the dairy and general farming industry something from ‘the dark ages’.
    Go on.
    Goose.

  7. Arana you are a stupid stupid boy… or girl…

    First: Farming without GE is not the same as “Organic” farming which is a nice-to-have sort of thing but not a demand of the Greens. Don’t confuse the two.

    Second: Farming without GE is now impossible in just about ANY other nation on the planet. WE have the isolation to be able to keep from winding up with GE, despite its spread elsewhere. Allowing it is a ONE WAY STREET !!! You cannot EVER undo that decision.

    So tell me what is your fucking hurry?

    Third: You cannot balance the budget simply by farming. We have a completely UNbalanced economy, and we aren’t fixing it, nor has National a single clue how to address the problem. Not one.

    Fourth: Your “proven” benefits have been proven to transfer to weeds as well.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121002092839.htm

    http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2013/02/report-spread-monsantos-superweeds-speeds-12-0

    When something with “improved nutritional content” shows up and is tested and we’re really QUITE sure it is safe and won’t spread to other plants I’d be more accepting of it. This push however, is the same as the push to mine the national parks and drill holes in the floor of the ocean to pay for the stuff we aren’t willing to make ourselves.

    YOU are taking the extreme position mate. YOU are saying we should take this ONE WAY path RIGHT NOW. Which is not acceptable. Of course, we know about you and your penchant for one-way trips.

  8. First: Farming without GE is not the same as “Organic” farming which is a nice-to-have sort of thing but not a demand of the Greens. Don’t confuse the two.

    I know that, BJ.

    Allowing it is a ONE WAY STREET !!! You cannot EVER undo that decision.

    I don’t want to undo it. This is not “Day Of The Triffids”.

    So tell me what is your f**king hurry?

    It’s not a “hurry”. We develop our IP industry, which we are well placed to do in this field. We don’t need politicians like Browning – who appears to have tight connections with the organic lobby – trying to put a spanner in the GE spokes.

    You cannot balance the budget simply by farming.

    See above.

    YOU are taking the extreme position mate.

    No. I don’t operate from a position of fear, as you seem to do on many issues, BJ. I’m generally optimistic about scientific endevour, until it gets hijacked by politicians.

  9. BJ – your fatalistic doomsday scenario that in the future the world will no longer be able to feed itself is conflicting with your fatalistic doomsday scenario that if we increase cropping rates with GE something really bad unknown thing will happen to all of us.

  10. “..if you want to stay in the dark ages, fine. The rest of us are happy to progress, as will the rest of the world.
    The benefits of GE clearly outweigh the negatives..”

    Arana, the rest of the world – those who have taken on GE – are finding out that altering genes, part of the basic fabric of life, is not achieving progress. Quite the opposite. And it’s not something that can be tried, and scrapped if it doesn’t work.. The process is irreversible. How wise New Zealand is to have been cautious; and just pray we continue to be so!
    One of Monsanto’s aims is to ‘doctor’ and gain control of the world’s seeds, so no-one can re-plant a crop, but must always buy new seeds; Many U.S. Republican senators are on Monsanto’s Board; Monsanto is suing ordinary farmers who “allow” their crops to be contaminated by G.E!! It’s crazy! (And ‘Roundup’ does NOT break down in the soil! – they’re not allowed to advertise it as biodegradable.)
    Please study the risks as well as the “benefits”. e.g. http://www.genetic engineering/pros and cons. The serious risks far outweigh the so-called benefits. (NZRN)

  11. P.S. We need to remember, too, that all unnatural substances and processes impact much more on our children and babies (and pets) because, being smaller, they are more affected. Do we really want that?

  12. Stefan,

    I’d saddens me that a supposedly mainstream political party in New Zealand can be so anti-science, that it wouldn’t seem out of place in rural Alabama.

    I can understand your opposition to wide spread GE use before sufficient research is completed. But how can you oppose research in a controlled in environment?

    This head in the sand policy is ridiculous, just as is calling irradiated tomatoes “nuked”! These policies are clearly based solely on emotion and ideological stubbornness, with no regard for the modern scientific process.

    How can you then turn around an then argue for action on climate change, and claim you have the scientific consensus behind you? (Which you do in this case)

    If the Green party wishes to become one of the dominate parties in New Zealand politics, and have a real chance of enacting change in Government, they need to embrace science entirely, not only when it suits their ideology.

  13. “I don’t want to undo it!” * stamps little foot

    Selfish brat. Others will want to, but that’s not an option, once they’re released.
    Was there ever an issue that more clearly revealed the self-interested “Arana” thinking, than this?
    “It’s my planet and I’ll do what I want with it!”

  14. It seems to me that the real debate is around the food saftey issue, ie. whether GE plants are safe to eat? Which is ironic because the Food Saftey regulator says that they are which means we can import and eat GE soybeans which may or may not be a danger but we can’t propogate and grow them, which definitely isn’t.

    The argument about whether we have an economic advantage to being GE free is fraught because it’s undeniable that it’s dependent on the crop. There is probably a small advantage to growing conventional corn and perhaps Oil Seed Brassicas. Unfortunately our isloation and lack of scale means that any premium received for non-ge are usally absorbed by freight costs. The US is the largest exporter of non-ge corn and ge corn.

    I’m a bit sceptical about GE but only eating it – not growing it. I suppose you could argue that if we grow it we’ll eat end up eating it but we are doing that anyway.

  15. I’m hard pressed to take seriously anyone with gutter vocab like Penn & Teller. Why on earth are people putting up with this?
    It is entirely possible to debate,dialogue and even disagree without being a Philistine.

  16. Photonz, I just pointed out one of the really bad KNOWN things that would happen AND the fact that the advantages of the Monsanto way are short lived and lead to a complete dependence on the Monsanto way, because that is the only way to almost keep up with the Monsanto Weeds.

    You AND Arana have no notion that this one-way-street is a dead end. Which it is. It ends with the weeds growing faster than the plants. With many many more tons of “Roundup” being needed. Which is also produced by Monsanto. Monsanto profits both ways.

    When I say “stupid” here I mean it. If you and Arana cannot see, in this, that you are being HAD by a self-interested corporation then you really shouldn’t be allowed out without a minder.

    Moreover Arana, while YOU may not wish to “go back” there are already a whole LOT of people in other parts of the world who now wish they could.

    Finally, there is NO way in hell that introducing GE cropping is going to allow NZ to grow enough food for the rest of the whole world as things go all straight in the crapper due to a changing climate. We can grow as much as we can without degrading our environment, and no god-damned more… and we’re already at that limit.

    One surmises that finding yourself in a hole you will always dig harder.

    Your dedication to the concept of escape is noted. One wishes you to notice that the only thing you are getting closer by that effort is hell.

  17. BJ – your problem is you forever concentrate on the most negative thing you can find.

    Like anything, GE brings advantages and disadvantages. You concentrate on the narrow roundup issue and monsanto.

    I see Africans feeding themselves with crops that have much higher nutrition, as well as being more drought resistant.

    Here is an article in the Scientific American on how the world can REDUCE environmental damage from farming, while DOUBLING output.

    It’s very positive and hopeful – I hope that doesn’t make you too depressed.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=foley-global-food-production-reduce-environmental-damage-maps

  18. A very valuable lesson I learned whilst working on artifacts in a museum was never do anything that can’t be undone. Use glues that are dis solvable, never set things in resin if it can’t be removed etc.
    This ge issue provides the perfect example where fools like Arana and photonz1 ignore a very sensible ‘rule of thumb’ and threaten the whole environment, not just an old piupiu or a stuffed marsh crake, by their recklessness.

  19. GMO crops move money up the supply chain. The common farmer has other option which are cheeper, more productive and retain independance.
    Farm-system changes are knowledge intensive, but have more potential than current GMO technology.
    GMO might be realisic on the big big foreign farms, but it’s the medium-small farms that keep our rural communities alive.
    NZ has better marketing as GMO free.

  20. Once again, we have a theological argument.

    GE has positives and negatives. The arguments against conjure up some terrible, irreversible apocalypse and proceed as if that’s the certain outcome.

    It isn’t.

    There is broad scientific consensus that food derived from GM crops pose no greater risk than conventional food.

    “In 2008, the most recent year for which statistics are available, 30 genetically engineered crops were grown on almost 300 million acres in 25 countries..After 14 years of cultivation and a cumulative total of 2 billion acres planted, no adverse health or environmental effects have resulted from commercialization of genetically engineered crops (Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources, Committee on Environmental Impacts Associated with Commercialization of Transgenic Plants, National Research Council and Division on Earth and Life Studies 2002)”

    Really, you’re coming across like a pitchfork mob confronting a stocking frame.

  21. “I don’t want to undo it!” * stamps little foot

    No, the tone is “I don’t want to undo it” in the same way I don’t want to undo medical science.

    These crops help keep people in the third world from starving. It’s okay for you and your kids as you have food security, but I wonder what your attitude would be if you were facing crop failure due to drought in an African village?

    Because drought resistence is one of the advantages of GE food.

    It is you who is the selfish brat.

  22. Dangerous twaddle from Arana. For someone who claims to be wary of abuses of power, you side so easily with the ‘big boys’ who impose their products on farmers who don’t want them. The story of GMOs is one of force. You claim to oppose such behaviour but in practice you champion it. Your position lacks integrity. You can’t see the contradictions in your own stance. Your position on the debate threatens the freedoms of millions of farmers and consumers of food. You seem to be stupid. Certainly, your argument here is a stupid one. I despise and oppose it.

  23. Arana – a question for you. You hold private property rights in the highest regard, I believe. Can you tell me whether the pollen from genetically engineered oats growing on the farm next door won’t cross my fence-line and settle on my organically-grown oat crop? I make my living from selling my oats as ge-free organic.

  24. “It appears it can be managed”.

    Really. That’s very comforting, Arana. Already here in New Zealand, intensely monitored ge research crops have breached their containment – don’t you read the news at all? – how, and I ask this very politely, do you suggest that the pollen from the ge oats over the fence (hypothetical, I’m sure you realized) be contained. That would seem to be something that would cost the farmer GREATLY, wouldn’t you think? After all, oat pollen is wind-borne and I live in a zone that is regularly windy.
    What do you suggest (no links to the work of others, please. I’m wanting your view, not your links.)

  25. They are issues. Issues can be worked through. The GE farmer has a right to use his land, too, so the question is how to balance those rights.

    I provide links to appropriate research. I do not pretend to know all the answers, personally. If you attended University, you’d be familiar with this citation approach.

  26. Greenfly – what about the risk of your inferior oats contaminating superior GE oats?

  27. “If you attended University you’d be familiar with this citation approach.” It really doesn’t seem to be very reliable.

    “It appears it can be managed..” But who can manage the wind?? Ag-scientists seem to think they can.

    WHEN the ge oats contaminated greenfly’s organic crop, he could be sued!! That is what Monsanto is doing in the U.S. How fair is that!

    I understand GE is NOT helping third world growers who live off their crops; their home-grown FOOD; it is bankcrupting them – or WILL – as they can’t afford to buy new seed-supplies every year, thanks to Monsanto’s control of and ‘doctoring’ of seeds.

    I can’t believe the majority of ticks are mistakenly IN FAVOUR of GE! GE has been described as one of the greatest threats mankind is facing – produced by his own hand..! Irreversible. What do we want to leave for our children and theirs??!

  28. Arana – I believe the GE farmer does not have the right to adversely affect his neighbour’s crops. Perhaps you think differently, though I thought you held such a principle most high.The GE farmer has the right to use his land, yes, but what he does on it has ramifications for others that must be taken into account. As with Peter Dunne’s (your man, remember)assertion that synthetic psychotropic drug manufacturers must prove their products safe before they can be sold, so to must ge crops and processes, I’m sure you’ll agree (being a Dunne-ite) You say these issues need to be worked through, but you don’t work through them, aside from posting links. You are dismissing the significant threats from ge by saying ‘they can be worked through’, but have no idea at all if this is true. You say you don’t know all of the answers. I contend that you know none at all.

  29. photonz1 – ignoring your spiteful ‘inferior’, ‘superior’ slur, ge crops don’t save and use their seed for replanting. They buy new each season, so the answer to your poorly thought-out challenge is, none.

  30. How do GE crops cause community dislocation and biodiversity loss? That seems a strange thing to claim. I know that conventional farming has resulted in large areas of land being mono-cropped in order to improve farming efficiency but this is not a problem unique to GE.

    For a while I thought that international customers wanting GE free food was a the best argument for keeping NZ GE free. But since the arguments against GE crops don’t stack up and their unique benefits can be advantageous towards sustainable and low impact farming then I think it might be unethical to take advantage of customers’ gullibility.

    I don’t think we have a right to keep people uninformed so they keep buying the expensive GE free crops. So I support the governments efforts to improve public education in this area.

  31. Greenfly, I’ve never seen so many straw mans in one post! Can you re-read my point and present a counter argument to it. I said the question is how to balance those rights, not that they could over-ride yours.

  32. “Straw mans” good grief.
    I re-read your post and it’s empty of value.
    You can’t ‘balance those rights’ where ge plants are concerned.
    That’s the whole point.
    If you are arguing that they can be balanced, tell us how (your ideas, not links to someone else’s).

  33. My references show it can be done.

    In any case, I think the concern will be moot in decades to come, as there will be no market for so-called “organic”, therefore no issue. All food was organic 60 years ago, now less than 1% is.

    The same will happen with GE. It will just become the norm.

  34. “..this head in the sand policy is ridiculous, just as is calling irradiated tomatoes “nuked…” (Tamati)

    Some years ago, while I was still nursing, I was dismayed to read research showing that the irradiation of foods such as tomatoes, mangoes etc., was causing the destructiion of their Vitamin K.
    Trouble is, it’s vitamin K which prevents bleeding – being the anti-haemorrhagic element in the food. Vit. E is the opposite, preventing clotting. ( BUT don’t go taking supplements of them; you’ll realise that you need to know what is needed!) I know people who get nosebleeds from being under fluorescent lights for too long; (again, reduced Vitamin K..); others get headaches. Radiation definitely has its side-effects!
    This GE should not be an ‘emotional’ debate, but one based on the research and facts which have been circulating for at least 30 years. (I think we should be loyal to N.Z’s great ‘tradition’ of not linking up with (following the mob into) policies and actions whose results are far too questionable. (e.g. unjustified pre-emptive attacks; Monsanto’s dangerous power-and-profit games; expanding irradiation of our food; cruel, callous BSL, e.g., under which legislation dog control officers overseas needlessly seize harmless family dogs, holding them in small concrete cells for up to 3 yrs, playing with them but claiming they’re “dangerous”. All in the name of “showing who’s Boss”. (sorry..off the subject, that one..but also disturbing!)

  35. I’m sorry, just because you are a nurse and read some research from thirty years ago doesn’t make you an authority on irradiation. Neither are the few anecdotal cases that you claim to have seen.

    My point is we should be researching GE, and trying to learn about how we could use it as well as any potential risks. A “just say no” approach is about as mature and practical as a “abstinence only” sex education!

  36. If we need to resort to GE to feed ourselves then it’s probably a sign we’re overpopulated.

  37. The false claim that non-ge crops and animals are not good enough to feed the human population is one that should be dismissed as propaganda from the ge industry. Of course non-engineered plants can feed us. Of course conventionally-bred livestock are fit-for-task. This ‘we need ge to feed the world’ meme is total cr*p.

  38. If we need to resort to GE to feed ourselves then it’s probably a sign we’re overpopulated.

    And what is your solution to “over population”?

  39. Here… That would be limiting immigration. Better education for everyone. Altering the opportunity deficit of the underclass. Remember that “Bed is the poor man’s Opera” and make some adjustments to the way we value people in our society. The emphasis has to be on quality, not quantity.

    For most of the rest of the world, having ignored warnings and laughed at limits, it is surely too late.

  40. I don’t think there is a solution as such Arana. The idea of the state regulating how many children you can have probably isn’t going to win an election. I think nature will take care of overpopulation if we don’t, whether its a superbug or famine or who knows what.

  41. Tamati, When there are proven risks, why would we research it further and work out how to use it!
    Don’t be sorry! Yes, I was a nurse/tutor and have studied the research (not FROM thirty years ago, but FOR thirty years, as it comes out); I am not, and don’t need to be, an “authority on irradiation”, because my references are those who HAVE researched the matter. Irradiation DOES destroy Vitamin K, not becaus I say so.
    And incidentally those are not anecdotal ‘cases’ of radiation’s effects – they include the experiences of myself and friends and others I’ve spoken to. I hope that makes it clearer! (Witness the effects (severe static) on a transistor radio when you hold it near the T.V., washing machine, ‘phone etc. – even when they are turned off (but plugged in) at the wall..)

  42. Of interest to those who might not receive e-mails from Pesticide Action Network (North America), the latest, yesterday, reveals a new deal between Monsanto and Dow Chemical Company, followed five days later by Monsanto and Bayer CROPSCIENCE making a deal to cross-license their competing GE seed technologies with each other. That is, “the Big 6 pesticide/biotech companies are speeding-up the consolidation – and their control – of the world’s seed-markets..” (www.panna.org)

  43. Wow, GE debate lives on!

    But GMOs in NZ have so little to offer the NZ economy. (Technical products such as enzymes from GE microbes are cheaper to import.)

    The rising middle class in China and India are sick of food and health scares! “Clean Green” is a strong marketing strategy.
    If you where a Chiniese mother, would you buy locally made milkpowder formular for your baby, or would you buy it from GMO free NZ?

    Sustainablity is only 1/3 economic. But environment and society in NZ seem to gain little or nothing from GE either. Probably both negitively affected from GMO release.
    There can be labour savings for the GE crop, but the next crop in the rotation often receives the cost. A Round-up resistant rapeseed (always left over in straw, after harvest) is a serious weed in the following crop of say wheat. (rapeseed stems are strong and can block machines. A real problem in Europe)

    Though GE-tech is pretty cool ay. Maybe one day. But probably not in NZ anytime soon.

  44. Tamati – I didn’t “Just say No” – I said no hurry. I warned of the rapacious nature of the companies behind the push. I allowed that “more nutrition” sorts of things could eventually be used. After some generations of research to be sure of them. This is the ONLY agriculturally productive location on the planet where GE free can still be maintained… if it can. That makes it a very unique qualifier for our produce and we really need to have a care about going down that one-way dead-end street.

  45. @BJ:

    First: Farming without GE is not the same as “Organic” farming which is a nice-to-have sort of thing but not a demand of the Greens. Don’t confuse the two.”

    Really? Wow, so Organic isn’t a priority for the Greens? Hmm, I wonder what does the Greens Agriculture and Rural Affairs policy paper says?

    “Work towards the target of half of New Zealand’s production becoming certified organic by 2020, with the remainder in the process of conversion. As a first step towards this target, the Green Party aims to have 10% of farms certified organic or in conversion by 2010.”

    Oh BJ, you make it too easy.

  46. I really think their approach to GE is an issue which will see the National Government voted out; others, in my opinion, are:- asset sales: close military alliance with the U.S. (Wellington Agreement – changed our stance internationally and lined us up militantly with America – quite the opposite of N.Z.’s earlier approach to others’ conflicts); Marriage Equality; factory-farming; agriculture/water issues – effluent/irrigation etc.. schools; and there are other issues….!! All simply because they have debated among themselves, taken a vote, and passed laws which affect all New Zealanders, withouut any reference to the people’s needs and wishes! Ludicrous! Totally unjust, undemocratic, inexcusable, self-serving. (anything else….??!) The point is, that in some cases, we know that up to 75% of the public did not agree with these laws. And the Govt. calls other parties ,nanny state,!

  47. If Organic is on the way out, it is surprising that two states of the emerging India are actively making their farming organic. They estimate it will benefit their economies by billions in savings of imports and from better markets. To get buy in from their population they must have done some serious homework, of course they have also seen the problems of GE with farmers pulling out GE crops. I see India becoming the next world super power, purely from being onto it. China has some catching up to do.
    The savings they talk of in organics is basically the importing of chemicals and technologies that actually enhance the economies of the super-user economies of the West. The West has only kept going because of colonisation, and the world isn’t getting any bigger, but they are now getting desperate to keep their economies growing for the sharemarket to keep paying. Thats why the biotech companies are sidling up and lying to the public, in the name of science. Those shareholders/investors who can’t see this are duped, but many can see it and accept it as ok and are of the same criminal ilk.
    After many decades of learning about the corporate and PR processes I instantly question their data releases, and I am saddened by the disrepute that science suffers at their hands.

  48. I forgot the other saving for the states going organic is in health and well being.

  49. oldlux got any evidence that Organic farming promotes health and wellbeing any more than conventional farming? Because a recent study has shown that there is NO nutritional benefit in “going organic” over the consumption of conventional produce. It’s inefficient, expensive, and a fad.

  50. Adze: May I? Well, for a start, organic produce does not contain chemicals such as chlorpyriphos, ractopamine and hundreds of other substances – sprays etc., foreign to the human body…Who on earth claimed that conventional produce (and include genetically modified!) is just as healthy as organic?! Again, consider our children and babies especially. What about organic meat – for those who still eat it:- NO growth hormones in organic (beef); no antibiotics (for the sick “chickens”), and so on…With respect, the claim doesn’t add up at all..

  51. Re: Adze, (organic fad)…
    Studies are designed to show what they show. Commercial organic can be as poor as conventional, but well grown organic is certainly more healthy. Plus less indirect health costs in the supply chain. Demeter have intersting studies showing measurable differences on many levels.
    IÖW have studies comparing farm systems.(institute for ecological economic research – sorry its in German, but you’ll find stuff in english too if you want to)
    Because productivity per hectare is ususally lower in organic, the conventional farms are competitive in some measures, but well managed organic farms are also top performers.
    Less “efficient” depands on the measure and other factors are involves. “expensive” Doesn’t really hold. Less inputs can be savings, but technical investment is required to avoid labour costs.
    “Fad?” Conventional are learning the organic techniques, so you could say farming systems will meet in the middle. But organics is still growing in Europe. Wait and see what China and India do. I’m expecting organics to contiune as a good strategic market for NZ.

  52. News items received today from my brother overseas:

    a) commenting on the E.U. law that only Government-certified seeds are allowed to be planted: you could end up in prison if you planted some of your old seeds.

    b) There have been 35 G.M. babies – that’s right, babies- born in the States! Made from genes from two different mothers! Some of the children are already three years old. Might this be the preferred way for lesbian couples to acquire babies??

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