Some organic farming advocates poised to embrace CRISPR and other New Breeding Techniques because of their sustainability benefits

klaas martens lakeview organics pedenmunk photographer
Organic farming advocate Klaas Martens

There is a new ongoing debate as to what plant breeding technologies constitute genetic modification. The transgenic GM crops introduced more than 20 years ago remain verboten for organic food production. If the pro-organic Cornucopia Institute and other organic food industry proponents have their way, all forms of gene editing and [New Breeding Techniques] would be classified as GM and join the list of practices prohibited for the production of food products eligible to be certified USDA Organic.

“We strongly oppose any efforts to revisit the issue of any type of genetic engineering in organic certification, and we will work to ensure that all genetic engineering remains an excluded method,” says Organic Farmers Association President David Colson. “Any suggestion that we should explore gene-editing or any other type of genetic engineering, would distract from the core issues the organic market is facing right now.”

On the other hand, some organic growers do see NBTs as a potential boon to their industry and are calling for revised rules that would allow growers to benefit from crop improvements created using gene editing. Klaas Martens, a prominent voice in the organic movement and a third-generation grain and livestock farmer, operates a 1,600-acre farm in New York’s Finger Lakes region. He also owns a feed and seed business. Martens says he would be receptive to using CRISPR gene editing technology to grow versions of naturally occurring crops that restore soil health.

“If it could be used in a way that enhances the natural system, and mimicked it, then I would want to use it,” Martens says. “But it would definitely have to be case by case.”

The farmers who are opposed to an absolute ban of biotechnology for organic production underscore the belief held by many that USDA Certified Organic crops can help farming become more sustainable as a rising global population demands more food.

“In my view, the use of genetic engineering technologies is the most powerful and honest ‘organic’ tool we have,” says Oliver Peoples, president and CEO of Yield10 Bioscience, an agricultural bioscience company focusing on the development of disruptive technologies to produce step-change improvements in crop yield for food and feed crops.

Read the original post

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
can you boost your immune system to prevent coronavirus spread x

Video: How to boost your immune system to guard against COVID and other illnesses

Scientists have recently developed ways to measure your immune age. Fortunately, it turns out your immune age can go down ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend