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Searching for coexistence of GMO and organics in Amsterdam

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | November 30, 2015

I recently returned from a conference on the co-existence of genetically modified food (GMO) with other food, such as organic. The meeting was on November 17-20 in Amsterdam, which was rainy, cold and windy, an unpleasant departure from the sunny and dry climate of drought-stricken Berkeley that I have grown accustomed to. Fortunately we were … Continue reading »

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 »

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 »

Lessons from Prop 37 and the future of genetic engineering in agriculture

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | December 20, 2012

I was a strong opponent of Proposition of 37 and I am quite satisfied that it did not pass; but its failure serves more than vindication. It has interesting implications for the attitude of California on environmental issues, the future of GMOs, and the future of technology in general. The truth is that I was … Continue reading »

Prop 37 and the right to know nothing

Michael Eisen, Professor of molecular and cell biology | October 26, 2012

As we approach election day, my neighborhood in Berkeley has sprouted dozens of blue and orange yard signs supporting Proposition 37, which would require the labeling of genetically modified foods. The “Right to Know” has become the rallying cry of the initiative’s backers, who meet any criticism of the initiative, its motivation or of the … Continue reading »

The bioeconomy dilemma

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | October 22, 2012

Many view the ‘bioeconomy’, as a key element of the future. While in the past, many vital activities were dependent on non-renewable inputs such petroleum based chemicals, the bioeconomy which utilizes advanced tools of modern biology, will yield products that are renewable and produced from plants and other organic matter that humans can grow. Countries, … 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 »