The seventh annual Global Farmer Roundtable, sponsored by the Truth about Trade and Technology (TATT), was held at the 2012 World Food Prize in Iowa recently. The event included 17 producers from Canada, Honduras, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Philippines, South Africa, Swaziland, United Kingdom, Uruguay, US, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
“We took the farmers to Iowa State to the seed lab first then went out to Couser cattle farm at Nevada,” said TATT Chairman Emeritus Dean Kleckner. “But the best part was the roundtable discussion as they talked about what they saw in agriculture coming down the road and what they wanted to happen.”
Kleckner says most of the producers want to use biotechnology, even those coming from countries where the use of biotech crops is prohibited. “Biotech is here to stay, it’s the new conventional agriculture,” he said, noting that those producers who are unable to use biotech crops believe they are at a disadvantage. “And I agree with them that they are disadvantaged against the U.S. and Argentina and Canada and South Africa and other countries that do use biotechnology.”
Kleckner says some precision technology is being adopted in certain areas of the world, but for many small shareholder farmers their land area is just too small to make even a tractor necessary. “Many women farmers in Africa, for instance, are only farming 2,3,4,5 acres,” he said. But, the use of any new technology, whether it be biotech, equipment or information, has the ability to help farmers increase yields to feed themselves and others.
Listen to my interview with Kleckner from World Food Prize: [wpaudio url=”http://zimmcomm.biz/elanco/wfp12-elanco-kleckner.mp3″ text=”Interview with Dean Kleckner”]