Though activists in Hawaii and elsewhere love to bash “industrial agriculture” and claim that conventional and biotech farmers are wantonly poisoning the land, the reality — per usual — is quite different.
A new survey shows that “most U.S. farmers and ranchers believe biotechnology and genetically-modified crops increase crop production efficiency and agricultural sustainability.”
According to a survey by the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA):
When asked about the reason for using biotechnology when raising crops, the majority of farmers indicated GMO seeds allow them to minimize pesticide/herbicide usage (87%).
Three quarters (78%) of farmers also expressed being able to engage in advanced farming practices, such as conservation tillage.
Nearly all farmers identified soil health (95%) and precise use of pesticides (94%) as key factors in protecting the environment.
The USFRA conducted its annual study to measure consumer opinions about agriculture, including attitudes toward environmental sustainability, GMOs and technology. Only 11 percent of the consumer respondents had a favorable opinion about GMOs favorable.
Farmers, on the other hand, “believe biotechnology helps raise crops more efficiently, and that the environment and sustainability practices will suffer if GMO technology utilization is reduced in crop production in the future.
A majority of farmers also anticipated increased environmental impacts — including an increased use of water and pesticides — if GMO seeds were no longer available to them.
Let's hope that point is driven home when anti-GMO, non-farming organizations like Malama Kauai and the Kohala Center join real farmers in a Jan. 19 discussion with Hawaii legislators on “creating a sustainable agricultural economy in Hawaii.”
The USFRA concluded:
“The findings of the USFRA Perception Study indicate a lack of understanding among consumers about the beneficial link between GMO technology and sustainability.”
Is that any surprise, given the relentless fear-mongering conducted by organic producers and so-called environmental groups like Sierra Club, Earthjustice, SHAKA, Hawaii SEED, HAPA and the Center for Food Safety?
In other news, the fight over illegal TVRs has taken a dark turn that underscores the big money at stake in this shadow industry. Displaced tenants in San Francisco are now hiring private investigators to prove that they've been illegally evicted to accommodate the more lucrative short term rentals.
In New York, a June study by two non-profits that advocate for affordable housing found that the top 20 neighborhoods for Airbnb listings in Manhattan and Brooklyn had average rent increases almost twice those found in the city as a whole between 2011 and 2015.
No doubt the findings would be similar on Kauai, which this morning had some 300 rentals listed on Airbnb, including rooms in private homes, ohana units, lofts in commercial buildings and other unlicensed short-term rentals.
Meanwhile, folks who are looking for longterm rentals are looking at $1,300/month for a studio in Kapaa town, $2,250 for a 1,250-square-foot house in Kapah, $2,300 for a one-bedroom cottage in Hanalei and $2,150 for an 1,800-square-foot house in Kalaheo.
There's no way these kinds of rents are sustainable for working people on Kauai.
And so as some activists continue to fire away in their misguided attack on agriculture, Hawaii continues its transition into a haven for the haves as the homeless head for the beach.