Food and Agriculture in 2 Minutes
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This is Food and Ag in 2
A shortage of migrant workers may be impacting crop productivity in California. Farmers are blaming the ongoing battle over U.S. immigration policy for the lack of labor, as nine in 10 of California’s farm workers are foreign-born. Some farmers report the inability to harvest up to twenty percent of crops due to labor shortage. Many farmers are demanding immigration reform and a productive 2018 Farm Bill that will help meet labor demands.
Angela Logomasini of the Competitive Enterprise Institute contends the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to deny the ban of chlorpyrifos, a pesticide commonly used by farmers, sets a pro-science precedent for future regulations. She says the push for the ban was an activist-driven effort based on preconceived notions rather than sound science. Logomasini hopes the EPA will continue to make pro-science choices and help farmers provide an affordable food supply.
Researchers at the University of Florida discuss how genetic engineering could provide a solution to the citrus greening disease outbreak currently facing the Florida citrus industry. They outline three points in which GMOs can help, saying an antimicrobial peptide gene could help ward off bacteria, while inserting another gene into sweet orange trees can increase their defense response, making them more resistant. Lastly, genetic modification of the rootstock could provide a defense and provide non-GMO fruit, perhaps a more popular option.
Invasive Pest Control
Publisher of Australia’s Weekly Times Ed Gannon voices support for Australia’s use of genetic engineering to control invasive species like mice, rabbits and cane toads, saying use of GE technology to control popularly hated pests could change public opinion on GMOs. Gannon says hypocrisy from big dairy processors has kept Australia’s dairy farmers from planting GM rye grass for greater profit, yet they turn a blind eye to cows fed GM canola and soybeans.
I’m Maya Menon with v-Fluence, a global provider of food and ag intelligence.