Under pressure to manage both weeds and pollinators, Midwest farmers face perfect storm

This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Since the onset of spring, one kind of game-changing news after another has reached Iowa farmers. These announcements will affect the third of the state’s farmers who are struggling to control superweeds by using glyphosates and other herbicides. New research revelations, government policy changes and farmers’ own dissatisfactions could radically alter both weed and pollinator management in the Midwest.

The recent convergence of five emerging drivers of change will no doubt impact agribusiness over the coming years: slipping sales of herbicide-tolerant corn seed and associated agrichemicals; new Environmental Protection Agency restrictions on using glyphosates because of difficulties controlling superweeds; a World Health Organization report allegedly linking glyphosate exposure to higher risks of non-Hodgkins lymphoma; and the tripling of the Fish and Wildlife Service target numbers for recovery of imperiled monarch butterflies in Midwestern farmscapes.

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What’s new about the convergence of these issues is how farmers, USDA agencies, segments of the ag industry and Wall Street now agree that environmental and farmer health are now vital economic concerns. If superweeds fail to be controlled, it will hurt not only imperiled butterflies and bees but also farmers’ operation costs and land values.

We are at a critical moment. With rising risks and diminishing returns, farmers need to collaborate on effective solutions to these problems. Let’s avoid a “perfect storm” by fostering innovations that provide greater yield stability, lower production costs and more consistent, safer weed control.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Will superweeds, regulation create a perfect storm in Iowa farmlands?

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