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Farmers not - stupid!

Farmers not - stupid!

Dr Steve Sonka, Director of the National Soybean Research Laboratory in Illinois says that the data in the Soil Association report is being used to mislead the public.

Dr Sonka who has been bought to New Zealand by AGMARDT for a series of meetings on agricultural trade issues said that if the Soil Association's claims were true then millions of farmers are inherently stupid.

"We know that they are not stupid," he said, "because who would pay more for seed that would make them less money?"

"US farmers have taken up this new technology more rapidly that any other new technology I am aware of.

"The herbicide resistant soybean technology is about reducing cost, not increasing yields."

"I don't believe the Soil Assoiation claim of reduced yieds is true, and you have to understand that the new technology is about reducing pesticide usage, reducing costs and changing to non tillage systems of production which use less energy and labour.

"Non GM soybean seed is readily available, there is no pressure to use GM seed, yet farmers choose to use GM soybean varieties. They must see gains in the market place.

"The claim that GM technology has caused the loss of huge US markets in Europe is very misleading.

"The decline in this market started before GM crops were even heard of. It's due to EU subsidies for wheat which encourage EU farmers to grow wheat for the animal feed industry instead of maize.

"The decline of the last few years has nothing to do with GM technology," he said, "its part of a long term trend as a result of European non-tariff trade barriers."

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