"If we tried to feed the global population today on the average agricultural yields of the 1960s, we would need to farm over 85 percent of global land, instead of the 35 percent we use currently."
Professor Robert Henry
University of Queensland
“Figuring out how to feed, clothe and power 11 billion people without causing mass species extinction and wrecking the climate is this century’s greatest challenge."
"Preserving diverse life while meeting humanity’s needs will mean enormous trade-offs, but the evidence is starting to point in one direction."
"Most species fare much better if habitats are left intact, which means reducing the space needed for farming. So areas that are farmed need to be as productive as we can possibly make them.”
Professor Andrew Balmford FRS
University of Cambridge
Read full article HERE
Science for Sustainable Agriculture news
Pro-science think-tank urges Defra to put evidence and data at the heart of farm policy review
To deliver the best outcomes for food security, the environment and the climate, Science for Sustainable Agriculture is urging Defra Ministers to restore the strategic policy focus on sustainable intensification in UK agriculture, underpinned by science-based metrics, and with a clear focus on genetic innovation as the main driver of agricultural productivity.
The unnatural nature of food (Part 2)
Science writer Matt Ridley continues to explore the concept of ‘naturalness’ in food and farming, arguing that our obsession with food being natural is getting in the way of our food being plentiful, affordable, healthy and good for nature. He suggests that the more concentrated and productive we make our farming systems, the better it is for nature by using less land, less water and fewer natural resources.
We must look to scientific innovation in agriculture to deliver Net Zero
Julian Sturdy MP
Launching an APPG inquiry into the technologies, innovations and practices which can help Britain's farmers deliver on the UK's net zero commitments, Julian Sturdy MP argues that action on climate change must look to science and innovation rather than arbitrary targets or restrictions on economic activity.
Innovation can support the goals of regenerative agriculture – but are technologies like gene editing in or out?
Professor Johnathan Napier
Genetic technologies can help deliver the objectives of regenerative agriculture, says UK plant scientist Professor Johnathan Napier. But will they be allowed to, he asks.
ScotGov must do the right thing by science on gene editing
Finlay Carson MSP
Faced with a cost-of-living crisis, forecasts of increasing global hunger, and unprecedented drought conditions impacting crop production world-wide, Finlay Carson MSP, convenor of the Rural Affairs Committee in the Scottish Parliament, highlights the enormous contribution Scotland’s world-leading agri-science base can make, and urges Scottish Ministers to follow the science on technologies such as gene editing to allow research in Scotland to realise its full potential.
UK agricultural policies must follow the science and evidence, says agricultural economist
A UK agricultural economist says the best way to provide the UK population with access to adequate supplies of food, at reasonable prices, whilst not destroying the Earth’s climate and many species of plant and animal life, is to recognise the need for a combination of high yield farming, natural habitat and lower intensity farming systems – reflecting the three-compartment approach set out in Henry Dimbleby’s National Food Strategy document and inspired by the work of conservation scientists, Professors Andrew Balmford and Rhys Green at the University of Cambridge.
Graham Brookes of PG Economics said the science points to a need for sensible combining of production methods and techniques used in both high and lower intensity (including organic) production systems, and to embrace (not reject) the adoption of new innovations and technologies like plant genetics, digital agriculture and precision farming.
The unnatural nature of food
What could be more natural than organically grown Golden Promise barley, used to make craft-brewed pale ale?
As one artisan brewer boasts: “The Golden Promise malt, showcased in this pale ale, is an early-maturing spring barley from Scotland. It has a very clean sweetness and a prominent biscuity flavour that is perfect for UK-style pale ales with their rich and malty flavour profiles.”
Only hang on a minute.
Golden Promise was produced in 1965 by irradiating barley seeds with gamma rays from Cobalt 60 isotopes provided by the Harwell Atomic Energy Research Establishment to a profit-seeking plant breeding firm, writes Matt Ridley.
National Trust lunacy shows why we urgently need a science-based land use strategy
Faced with global food security concerns and soaring food and energy price inflation, the UK Government seems to have woken up to the importance of having a productive domestic farming industry.
But reports that one of Britain’s biggest landowners, The National Trust, is taking large chunks of productive farmland back in-hand from long-term tenants for tree planting and re-wilding, and is promoting low-yield farming on some of our most fertile soils, highlights the urgent need for a coherent land use strategy which recognises the significance of food production, writes Norfolk arable farmer David Hill.
Yorkshire farmer urges BBC to respect the science and address ‘false balance’ in biotech coverage
Yorkshire arable farmer Phil Lodge, who took part in the Government’s GM crop Farm-Scale Evaluations (FSE) over 20 years ago, has criticised the BBC for failing to respect the science in its coverage of genetic engineering in food and agriculture.
“Where the BBC seems to accept the scientific evidence behind man-made climate change, and no longer pursues a policy of ‘false balance’ by giving equal airtime to climate change sceptics, the same cannot be said of their treatment of GMOs and genetic engineering in agriculture.”
“How long will it take before the global weight of scientific evidence behind the safety and efficacy of GM crops finally seeps into the consciousness of BBC journalists, editors and producers?” he asks.
Call for proper scientific scrutiny and validation of the Sustainable Food Trust’s Global Farm Metric
The policy group Science for Sustainable Agriculture has called on Ministers to submit the Sustainable Food Trust’s Global Farm Metric model to a proper process of scientific scrutiny and validation.
It follows concerns raised by leading academic scientists in the field that, by measuring environmental impacts such as resource use and greenhouse gas emissions on a whole farm basis, rather than in terms of food output, the Global Farm Metric is skewed towards less productive, more extensive farming systems.
Defining and measuring agricultural sustainability
Dr Julian Little
We urgently need a more consistent and science-based approach to defining and measuring what we mean by sustainable agriculture, argues Dr Julian Little.
A recent article on The Breakthrough Institute website, entitled Measuring What Matters, summed it up perfectly:
“To really shrink agriculture’s considerable environmental footprint, we need a new model of agricultural sustainability, one that replaces an antiquated practice-based system with an outcome-based one, directly rewarding better environmental performance.”
Industrialisation of organic will seal its downfall
“Is organic’s luck about to run out?” So ran a recent headline in The Grocer magazine, and it got me thinking. Could food retailers really be questioning the future of the organic offer? And why might that be? Cost of living crisis putting premium-priced organic products beyond the reach of even the more well-heeled consumers? That is certainly the case, but it turns out that’s not the half of it, writes Matt Ridley.
State Of The Union Address Highlights Flawed EU Approach To Food Crisis
London Globe, September 2022
Purple tomatoes herald a new era for GM food
Sunday Times, September 2022
Liz Truss must ditch the anti-farming lobby
Sir James Dyson, The Telegraph, September 2022
A debate beyond conventional versus organic
Richard Smoley, Produce Blue Book, September 2022
Regenerative Agriculture Doesn't Have to Be Contentious
Shane Thomas, Upstream Ag Insights, September 2022
Agricultural Research and Development: How to Grow Enough Food for Everyone With the Least Carbon Emissions
The Breakthrough Institute, September 2022
Time to reopen the GE in agriculture debate
Dr Jacqueline Rowarth, The Country, 20 September 2022
Who’s Afraid of Gene-Edited Crops?
Emma Kovak, Foreign Policy, September 2022
Eating insects can be good for the planet – Europeans should eat more of them
Peter Alexander, The Conversation, September 2022
Europe sows seeds for sustainable farming revolution, but will they grow?
Angeli Mehta, Reuters, September 2022
Farming voice has been lost in new Scots ‘ag bill’ proposals
Colin Ferguson, Farmers Weekly, September 2022
Major shifts coming in GMO crops
Richard Smoley, Produce Blue Book, September 2022
Follow the science
Ruaraidh Gilmour, Holyrood, September 2022
Europe’s Drought Might Force Acceptance of Gene-Edited Crops
Wired, September 2022
We need to change how we think about world hunger
Bill Gates, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, September 2022
Starting a Revolution Isn’t Enough
Jennifer E. Doudna, The Atlantic, September 2022
High-yield heroes should be championed
Chris Bennett, Farmers Weekly, September 2022
Indoor farming and the pink elephant
Colinda de Beer, Innovation Origins, September 2022
The long, leguminous quest to give crops nitrogen superpowers
Matt Simon, Grist, September 2022
Researchers just made it easier—and cheaper—to confuse crop pests
Erik Stokstad, Science, September 2022
Something in the air
Johnathan Napier, Nature Sustainability, September 2022
The big problem with organic farming is it cannot produce enough food to feed the world’s population
William Reville, The Irish Times, September 2022
'Swarm of innovation' will be needed to feed future world
NZ Herald, August 2022
The power of genetics and environment in indoor agriculture
Vonnie Estes, AFN, August 2022
A reflection on global food security challenges amid the war in Ukraine and the early impact of climate change
McKinsey & Company, August 2022
Improving Food Production One Spray at a Time
AlphaBio Control, August 2022
Plant Biotech, the Underrated and Underfunded Environmental Tool
Emma Kovak, The Breakthrough Institute, August 2022
Has Sri Lanka finally learned its lesson on emotional vs. evidence-based agri policies?
Dr Roshan Rajadurai, The Morning, August 2022
Science has made a new genetic revolution possible. Now let it flourish
The Economist, August 2022
New prime minister must put rocket up Defra’s backside
David Richardson, Farmers Weekly, August 2022
Opinion: New prime minister must put rocket up Defra’s backside - Farmers Weekly (fwi.co.uk)
Making agriculture greener
MIT Technology Review, August 2022
How Agrigenomics Can Help Address Climate Change
Val Giddings, ITIF, August 2022
Environmental activist irony: Anti-chemical campaigners end up promoting higher food prices with few farming or health benefits
Stuart Smyth, Genetic Literacy Project, August 2022
Mexican Farming Can Transition to be More Resilient with Technology
Guillermo Breton, Global Farmer Network, August 2022
How and why gene editing faces fewer global regulations than GMOs
Steven Cerier, Genetic Literacy Project, August 2022
We Are Asking For More Than Food From Our Farms. A New Cropping Option May Help Meet The Demand
Steven Savage, Forbes, 17 August 2022
Meet the scientists ‘unlocking the genetic potential’ of wheat to boost global food security
Food Navigator, August 2022
Turn of the tide? The Guardian puts organic farming on blast
Amanda Zaluckyj, The Farmers Daughter USA, AgDaily, August 2022
The hunt for more sustainable agriculture
Prof Robert Henry, New Food Magazine, August 2022
Her Discovery Changed the World. How Does She Think We Should Use It?
New York Times, August 2022
Her Discovery Changed the World. How Does She Think We Should Use It? - The New York Times (nytimes.com)
Betting on agriculture, research to battle inflation and climate change
Owen Roberts, Observer, August 2022
Weed’s “superpower” could help feed the planet
Freethink, August 2022
Ill-Conceived Schemes Contribute to Higher Global Food Prices
Nick Giordano, Pork Business, August 2022
The Green War on Dutch Farmers Should Concern Everybody
James Bascom, American Thinker, August 2022
Preventing late blight with GMO potatoes could ease food insecurity
Dave Douches, Michigan Farmer, August 2022
Agenda: Taking big steps toward greater food security
Professor Wayne Powell, The Herald, August 2022
A New Green Revolution Is in the Offing
Ronald Bailey, Reason, August 2022
How to grow cereal crops with less fertiliser, and save money
Open Access Government, August 2022
EU’s ‘Farm to Fork’ Must Adapt to Harsh Realities of War and Drought
Thomas Anderson, International Policy Digest, August 2022
Government leaders, take note: Limit the tools of modern agriculture at your own peril
Gary Baise, Farm Progress, August 2022
Checking in on the Bees
Bill Wirtz, Inside Sources, August 2022