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Were you paid by Monsanto?

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | November 18, 2014

Recently I was interviewed for an article published in California Magazine. It is a well-written article about the controversy surrounding genetically modified organisms (GMOs). I made my usual points: GMOs have actually done much good by reducing commodity prices, increasing yields, saving land and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and improving the health of farm workers. … Continue reading »

God helps those who help themselves

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | July 15, 2014

I grew up in a religious family but I am not particularly religious. I believe that there is (are) some Supreme Being(s) above us, but I consider the religious narrative and beliefs of organized religion to be fiction; albeit fiction with many useful lessons, but nevertheless, fiction. One of my favorite religious stories is of … Continue reading »

Should the poor pay for the anxieties of the rich?

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | April 21, 2014

In the last several weeks, I gave talks on sustainable development and technology in China as well as in several forums in the US. I stated my strong belief that the use of molecular and cell technologies in agriculture (one of their main applications is in genetically modified [GM] products) is crucial because it allows … Continue reading »

In praise of this year’s World Food Prize Laureates

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | July 3, 2013

We recently learned that the 2013 World Food Prize was awarded to three biotechnology scientists, Marc Van Montagu of Belgium, and Mary-Dell Chilton and Robert T. Fraley of the United States, for developing methods of inserting genes from various organisms to plant cells. I find this recognition to be justified and long overdue. The committee … Continue reading »

Bob Evenson: An economist with heart

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | March 16, 2013

Recently I learned one of my dear colleagues, Bob Evenson from Yale University, passed away. Bob grew up on a farm in the Minnesota and got his PhD at the University of Chicago. He became a leading development economist, and taught for more than 30 years mostly at Yale. My early impressions, as a student … Continue reading »

Corporate space and the Monsanto case

Stephen Menendian, assistant director, Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society | February 22, 2013

The Supreme Court is currently reviewing a lawsuit by the agri-business giant Monsanto against an Indiana farmer.  In Bowman v. Monsanto, 75-year old Vernon Hugh Bowman has petitioned the Supreme Court to review Monsanto’s lawsuit against him for purchasing and planting seeds that apparently contained Monsanto’s patent protected anti-herbicide genome in them.  Bowman purchased the … Continue reading »

The GMO labeling debate continued: It’s about the ‘benchmark’

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | June 8, 2012

I was amazed by the response to my previous post – and I will try address some of the main points. I found three main themes repeating through the comments. First, it is clear that there are many people who are concerned about the side effects of GMOs and don’t trust biotech companies that produce … Continue reading »

Why labeling of GMOs is actually bad for people and the environment

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | June 6, 2012

On November 6th, California voters will be asked to vote on a proposition about labeling of genetically modified (GM) products. On the surface this seems quite reasonable: people should have information about what they consume. In my view, labeling requirements are appropriate when there is undisputed scientific evidence that a food component is damaging, which, … Continue reading »

AgBiotech and combating climate change

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | August 14, 2011

There is a growing concern about climate change and much of the worry pertains to the implications of climate change for food and agriculture. There is emerging evidence that increased heat beyond a certain threshold is likely to reduce yields and that climate change will require adaptation and change in land use patterns across locations. … Continue reading »