It's a good week to celebrate something, what with rain on Saturday night and at least a chance of showers in the forecast for the next 10 days, so why not celebrate Biotechnology Awareness Week?
This week has been officially declared the week of biotechnology, complete with the signature of Gov. Sam Brownback.
Given the current state of the Kansas budget, celebrants probably shouldn't look for anything as concrete as money for research as a result of the declaration, but those who already know the advantages that biotechnology has brought to Kansas farmers and ranchers can celebrate what has already been developed to help produce safe and nutritious food in a way that protects land and water.
Consumers and growers who want to know more about biotechnology may wish to take advantage of an opportunity provide by Kansas Farm Food Connection, a coalition of agriculture groups, 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.
Many farmers in Kansas voluntarily plant and produce genetically engineered 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," her statement read.
On average, it takes 13 years and $130 million to develop and test a GE crop before it is released into production. The Food and Drug Administration, United States Department of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency 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.