“There are no downsides to biotechnology,” maintains Jay Lehr. The only exception, says the senior scientist with Environmental Education Enterprises in Ostrander, Ohio, is the public’s lack of knowledge about this new phenomena.
That is why he believes you and everyone else in the agriculture industry must do what they can to inform the public and counter the misinformation that has been circulated about biotech. That task is becoming somewhat easier with Web site program models, such as fertile-minds.org. While not focusing entirely on biotechnology, the Potash Corp. Web site is working to set the record straight on fertilizer production and application. For example, it offers free materials you can use to develop presentations for school groups and service clubs to more effectively answer tough questions about fertilizers and biotechnology.
Lehr says agriculture is battling many falsehoods and negative views of what farms do to the environment. “We have to get our foot in the door by telling the no-till story,” says Lehr. Yet it’s an uphill battle since fewer people have ties to the farm and, therefore, less understanding about the reasons why crop-protection products, fertilizer and transgenic seed are being used.
Lehr says the agriculture industry has unfortunately been relatively silent on such issues, and environmental advocacy groups have taken advantage of this. “They want the world to think we’re bad environmentalists when, in fact, we’re the best around,” he says. “We don’t want to see any chemicals leave our land. We want them all…