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Letters – for Jan. 6, 2011

Veterinarians under control

Please allow me to correct several comments in the story “Three ranchers face court over TB testing,” page 14 of the Nov. 25 issue of theManitoba Co-operatorregarding bovine tuberculosis (TB) testing and court cases.

I, and several other of the ever-increasing number of producers who have experienced health problems in their herds following TB testing, have used the services of the provincial veterinary services branch. Although I found these veterinarians sincere, very respectful and professional, their diagnoses have been inconclusive. These veterinarians are controlled by CFIA and provincial bureaucracy.

To protect their financially lucrative, mandatory checkoff, the Manitoba Beef Producers cater to and patronize these bureaucrats and have abandoned their neighbours and fellow livestock producers.

If a provincial judge allows a senior CFIA official to ridicule scientific evidence, and overrule Canada’s minister of agriculture, what meaningful service do the “experts” of the ministerial advisory board ( Manitobacooperator.ca, Nov. 19) provide?

Rodney Checkowski

Rossburn, Man.

Farmers need to stand up for biotech

Contrary to Marcella Pedersen’s Dec. 16 letter to the editor “It won’t harm human health?” biotechnology has benefited farmers, consumers and the hungry.

More than 90 per cent of canola, 60 to 65 per cent of soybeans, and 65 per cent of corn in Canada is produced from biotech seed, and growers have realized real benefits in productivity and sustainability.

On our farm, 100 per cent of our corn and soybeans are genetically modified varieties. Both crops are Roundup Ready crops which allow us to apply Roundup and achieve superior weed control with less pesticide use. Eighty per cent of our corn is also Bt, making it resistant to European corn borer. Prior to the introduction of genetically modified Bt varieties, we lost as much as 50 bushels per acre because of this pest.

We readily accept the use of biotechnology in medicine, so why the double standard with the use of the same science in agriculture?

The environment has benefited too because biotechnology has changed the way we farm our land. Fewer passes with no till have reduced fuel consumption. More crop residue on the surface has helped reduce wind and water erosion, while conserving moisture.

World population is expected to grow from 6.9 billion today to 9.3 billion by 2050. Historically, farmers all over the world have been capable of keeping pace with population growth. We have increased our production on average by 1.4 per cent per year. But we will need to increase to 1.75 per cent per year to keep up with accelerating population growth. GM crops are an option that will give us the opportunity to keep pace.

Since the introduction of biotech crops over one trillion meals have been consumed and there has not been one reliably documented health problem.

The media need to report on the real, modern-day farming practices rather than promoting a fairy-tale perception advocated by a few. It is the responsibility of the entire agricultural industry to tell the story and defend all the successes that have been made with science and technology. It is time to speak up!

Bob Bartley Roland, Man.

Please forward letters to Manitoba Co-operator, 1666 Dublin Ave., Winnipeg, R3H 0H1 or Fax: 204-954-1422 or email: [email protected] (subject: To the editor)

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