MANHATTAN, Kan. – Celebrating science and advancements in biotechnology, Governor Sam Brownback has declared the week of April 13, 2015, as Biotechnology Awareness Week in Kansas.
Producing some of the nation’s finest crops, Kansas farmers work diligently to provide consumers with a safe, nutritious and sustainably produced product, while serving as conscientious stewards of land and water. With the responsibility to feed a growing population expected to top 9 billion by 2050, farmers in Kansas and around the country are utilizing biotechnology to grow and cultivate crops more efficiently.
Many farmers in Kansas voluntarily plant and produce genetically engineered (GE) crops. The utilization of GE crops can reduce the amount of chemicals and pesticides used, as well as provide virus resistance, improve flavor, add nutritional benefits and develop better drought resistance and crop performance.
Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Jackie McClaskey noted the importance of biotechnology to Kansas farms and ranches.. “The mission of the Kansas Department of Agriculture includes the responsibility to help ensure a safe food supply, protect our natural resources and provide consumer protection to the best of our ability. Genetically engineered crops play a role in achieving that goal, allowing farmers to be good stewards of the land while producing safe and wholesome crops that are in demand around the globe.”
On average, it takes 13 years and $130 million to develop and test a GE crop before it is released into production. After intense examination, years and dollars later, these crops are approved for both consumer and environmental safety. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other credible sources have found GE crops to be as nutritious and safe as traditionally bred crops. There have been no scientifically-proven cases of biotechnology adversely impacting food safety or human health.
With the proclaiming of Biotechnology Awareness week in Kansas, the scientific technology behind these crops is supported and celebrated. Advancements in the technology of agriculture help reduce hunger worldwide, lessen our environmental footprint, protect crops from devastating diseases and produce greater yields with less water foretell a promising future for agriculture and for consumers around the globe.
Kansas Farm Food Connection, a coalition of agriculture groups, is hosting a panel discussion on the use of biotechnology at 6 p.m., Friday, April 17 at the River Market Event Place in Kansas City. The event, GMOs; Now we’re talking, will provide consumers the opportunity to interact with experts, food professionals and Kansas farmers to ask questions about the use of this technology on Kansas farms. For more information about the event or to register, go to http://www.raisingkansas.org/gmo.
For more additional resources on biotechnology and GE crops, please visit: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=AGRICULTURE&contentid=BiotechnologyFAQs.xml.