Steve Savage has more than 30 years of experience in agricultural technology having worked in academics (Colorado State University), at a global research company (DuPont), at a biotechnology start-up (Mycogen), and for the last 16 years as a consultant. Over the years, his research and consulting topics have ranged from biological control to crop protection chemicals (synthetic and natural product based); traits based on advances from traditional genetics to biotechnology; and crops from grains to specialty fruits and vegetables. He has also worked extensively on bio-fuels, fertilizers and on footprints of farming (carbon, water, energy and land-use).
From this Expert
Q: To your opinion, how is the continuing GMO-experimentings in wineproducing grapevines, (to create a possible 'beter' havest...) defendable in despite of the fact over 400.000 hactares of grapevines in Europe have to be destroyed by...
Posted On: Thursday, 9/05/2013 4:41 am
Answered By: Steve Savage, Consultant, Savage & Associates, Thursday, 10/31/2013 2:42 pm
A: The wine industry in the Europe has issues of over-production and challenges from competition in export markets. Certain "reforms" of the industry are being orchestrated by the EU in an attempt to address this situation (http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/capreform/wine/potential/index_en.htm). I can't really comment on the wisdom or fairness of that process, but anything that negatively impacts a grower is of concern to me. There are some ideas for transgenic traits which could help... Continue Reading
Q: Are the submergence tolerant rice varieties developed by IRRI -GM Crop? Is it possible to have drought tolerant and salinity tolerant GM Crop?
Posted On: Friday, 8/09/2013 2:41 am
Answered By: Steve Savage, Consultant, Savage & Associates, Friday, 8/23/2013 12:21 pm
A: Interesting questions. No, it is not "GM." The submergence tolerant rice developed by IRRI (The International Rice Research Institute) is based on a trait first identified in "land race" rice cultivars first collected in the 1950s. The role of biotechnology is that modern gene sequencing technology (marker assisted breeding) was used to identify the "locus" or part of the rice genome so that it could be more efficiently bred into modern cultivars. The trait involves two... Continue Reading
Q: Care to explain GMO Marijuana? now that you are patenting it, you are fighting for its legalization? does monsanto approve or condone the use of marijuana? and why is GMO marijuana considered acceptable, while organic marijuana is not.
Posted On: Friday, 8/09/2013 12:13 am
Answered By: Steve Savage, Consultant, Savage & Associates, Thursday, 8/22/2013 12:50 pm
A: Cannabis has definitely been genetically modified for the underground and “medical” markets, but not using the modern methods that get called “GMO”. The modification of the genetics of marijuana achieved using a combination of traditional breeding techniques and clumsy, “old-school” techniques like chemical mutagenesis and induced polyploidy. In other words, various enterprising people used toxic chemicals to cause mutations or used Colchicine to induce the plants to double the number of... Continue Reading
Q: I have three questions that arise from a blog post by Steve Savage that appeared at Biofortified.org [http://www.biofortified.org/2013/03/a-defense-of-plant-and-crop-related-patents/]1. Quoting the article: "A company that has developed a new...
Posted On: Monday, 8/05/2013 5:53 pm
Answered By: Steve Savage, Consultant, Savage & Associates, Friday, 8/16/2013 2:15 pm
A: Good questions, I’ll address each of them individually. 1a. Can you explain what license terms might be typical for allowing other seed companies to utilize a patented biotech trait? Typically the license agreement includes a royalty (e.g. a certain fee assessed per bag of seed sold) and an agreement by the other seed company to have their customers follow the same rules as those of the patent-holding company. Those might include restrictions on the saving of seeds and/or... Continue Reading
Q: About regulation... Another answer by Steve Savage says the following -- "The USDA considers whether there are any “plant pest” issues with the specific crop and trait such as the ability to cross with weedy relatives." and "The EPA...
Posted On: Thursday, 8/01/2013 8:52 am
Answered By: Steve Savage, Consultant, Savage & Associates, Wednesday, 8/07/2013 4:02 pm
A: No, this is not an example of a biotech crop crossing with a weed. The “Pig Weed” in question here is actually what is known as Palmer Amaranth – a serious weed problem in its own right regardless of herbicide tolerance. As with many other weeds that have become resistant to herbicides, including those long before biotechnology, it is not an issue of the tolerance moving to the weed by out-crossing, but rather that the use of the herbicide selects for resistant types that occur... Continue Reading
By Steve Savage (Independent Expert) on Wednesday, January 8, 2014 - 20:53
There are some really cool improvements coming along in several crops that have been developed using the tools of biotechnology. Whether these new options actually make it to consumers depends a great deal on decisions made by players who have an out-sized influence on not only their market segment, but on their supply chain. The question is what role these “800-pound gorillas” will play for the next generation of potential crop improvements.