Rethinking Science and Technology in Agriculture

Producers Cooperative had their 71st Annual Business Meeting at Reed Arena on the Texas A&M University Campus this week and the speaker for the evening urged the agricultural producers in the audience to get involved in telling their story to consumers.

Trent Loos, a rancher in Central Nebraska, related an instance when a chef on a Napa Valley Wine Train excursion was boasting that the beef he was serving had only been fed barley, because there was no barley that was genetically modified.

“He said there’s no genetically modified variety of barley, and I said why is that good? He said, why actually I don’t know, but why take a chance? I said here’s why you take a chance.”

Loos is an agricultural activist.

“From 1930 to 1937, particularly in the Great Plains of America, we had very little precipitation and extreme heat. It was massive environmental devastation. I said did you know that from 2000 to 2007 we had less measurable precipitation in the Great Plains of America than we did from 1930 to 1937? We not only had less measurable precipitation during that 7 year period of time, we actually produced more food each and every year with less rain than we had during the dirty thirties. He said I had no idea. I said I know, because we have not explained the story correctly.”

Loos said he went on to explain to the chef how agriculture had learned to be more productive with less resources.

“You learned how to be the absolute most efficient with your top soil, learned how to build organic matter in the top soil, we have a contributing factor of genetically modified crops that can sit there for that one day and get a half inch of rain that will make pollination work and feed the people producing more with less. He said, I didn’t know that, I’m going to have to rethink about my thoughts on science and technology. And that’s the best that we can do, is to get people at least to rethink what it is that they’re doing.”

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