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  • Rickinreallife's picture
    Rickinreallife
    07.28.2014
    This is admittedly simplistic, but organic refers to a philosophy of husbandry that emphasizes building and maintaining indigenous soil structure and fertility by avoiding disruption of and actively stimulating soil ecosystems and least disruptive stewardship interventions to address weed, insect and other stresses. The USDA organic certification is not prescriptive of the exact husbandry practices employed (and these are not exclusive to organic certified -- there can be and often is considerable overlap on conventional farms) other than precluding use of certain inputs such as synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, (organic does not mean no fertilizer amendment nor pesticides) and at this time, genetics introduced through recombinant dna methods. I suspect the absolute rejection of biotech applications in organic production is driven as much, if not more than, by marketing considerations as incompatibility with organic philosophy. Obviously, synthetic herbicide tolerance probably never would be, but one could envision current and conceivable applications that would complement and even enhance organic processes and outcomes and help overcome limitations that organic systems face.

    There is a lot to gain from models of husbandry that we group under organic, and in many situations, e.g. high value produce in proximity to direct premium markets, organic has economic and marketing advantages. Organic has its limitations and tradeoffs in productivity, food safety risks and even environmentally. I agree that conventional agriculture needs to better incorporate soil health as an element of productivity and could benefit from greater diversity of crops and greater commitment to integrated pest management. Utilized wisely, and as an element of and in conjunction with
    sound resouce stewardship (as opposed to a substitute for sound stewardship) biotech is one source of innovation that could greatly benefit both organic and conventional farming. Sustainability is not defined by, or determined by, the embrace or rejection of all technology -- it is the the result of using accumulated agronomic wisdom that incorporates technology appropriately to achieve the best resource stewardship possible.
  • Joseph Najjar's picture
    Joseph Najjar
    12.14.2013
    Yes actually! neighboring farmers using GM crops help to suppress the overall population of that pest in the region. This is just one example of biotechnology bettering the world of agriculture, for everyone involved. These cultivars are even shown to increase biodiversity, as they do not target any insects that don't attack the plants directly.

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0273230000914260

    Here is the full PDF, if you would like to read more than the Abstract:

    http://training.fws.gov/bart/Resources/pesticides/gmos/safety%20and%20advantages%202002%20reg%20tox%20and%20pharm.pdf