GENTECH archive


please, more organic agriculture

>But what I always wonder about, and therefore I send the message to prof.
>also, is that if he is so much against pesticides and herbicides, why he
>is not a fervent proponent of organic agriculture combined with IPM
>measurements WITHOUT the use of GE?


I think you have missed some earlier emails of mine to the list, but I'll
reiterate my views again briefly.  I strongly agree that we need to develop
alternatives to chemicals, and in spite of the time I spend on this list,
95% of my time is devoted to just that.  The group of some 140 weed
scientists that I lead (and allocate $2,000,000 annually in funding to) is
overwhelmingly devoted to non-chemical alternatives and IPM.  We are not
involved in developing any GMOs.

I strongly agree with most approaches to reducing pesticide use (in some
cases, I am not keen on bans in the absence of viable alternatives), and
encourage the public to lobby governments to invest more in organic

However, I am also sufficiently realistic to realise that organic
alternatives are not cost-effective for some systems.  Cotton growers could
not stay in business for what consumers are willing to pay for cotton
without the use of insecticides (most people would likely switch to
synthetic fabrics).  With all due respect to Donella Meadows, I worked for
6 years to encourage New York potato growers to manage Colorado potato
beetles by crop rotation (and have published on it), but crop rotation and
other such methods will not eliminate the need to spray potatoes with
fungicides to prevent late blight (the cause of the Irish potato famine),
or manage weeds in the mid-Western US soybean-corn rotation, or southern

With the exception of Bt cotton, I don't consider myself a proponent of
GMOs. I am a proponent of encouraging the public to decide on GMOs based on
science and not rumor. Further, I am not such a purist that I reject GMOs
if these can reduce the use of pesticides and human health and
environmental risks.