Subcommittee E Recommendations
Current evidence indicates that transgenic crops may harm the environment, but no more severely than traditional herbicides and pesticides do. Therefore, the use of bioengineered crops should not be discouraged, but rather, should be monitored so that any further developments can be observed and effectively dealt with.
Specific Policy Recommendations:
- Licensing and Use: Farmers who wish to use transgenic crops will be required to attend a class on the possible effects of genetically engineered crops and on how to best maximize their productive capacity while protecting the environment. A license will then be granted upon request, application, and per-acre fee payment by the farmer. Proceeds from that fee will that be allocated to continuing research into transgenic crops and their ecological impacts on local and global scales.
- Monitoring by Government Authorities: Governments should create departments within their Agricultural Bureaus specifically intending to monitor individual farms that use genetically engineered crops and their ecological impacts on surrounding habitats. Policies can be further developed and specified on a case by case basis from the results of these observational studies.
- Mixed Cultivation: It is recommended that farmers be encouraged to vary seed types used among crops in order to increase diversity and decrease the rate of evolution of insect resistance. This should include varying the strains of crops planted within a field, whether they be genetically engineered or not, as well as changing seed varieties used on a rotational basis. Governments ought to provide education to farmers on how to perform mixed cultivation methods effectively, and should also provide tax incentives for farmers who employ these techniques.
- Warning Label: Seeds for transgenic crops should be required to contain a notice on the package similar to the following: Knowledge of the complete effects of transgenic crop cultivation remains limited. Research of the possible complications and effects of transgenic crop use is still underway and is yet inconclusive. While the U.S. Government, European Union, and United Nations approve transgenic crop cultivation, they also forewarn of possibly damaging short- and long-term effects.
- Application of Herbicides: Regulations need to be set on the application of herbicides, especially to crops engineered specifically for herbicide resistance. Farmers must be considerate of surrounding habitats and environments that may or may not be using Roundup Ready crops. In lieu of such considerations, herbicide spraying must be done from at least 5 feet above ground level and below 200 feet. Also, herbicides must be sprayed in satisfactory weather conditions. Winds must be below 10 km/hour.
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