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C OMMUNICATING C ONTROVERSIAL S CIENCE TO THE P UBLIC : GM C ROPS AND N EONICOTINOIDS Paul D. Mitchell Bret Shaw UW-AAE & ANREUW-LSC & CNRED

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Presentation on theme: "C OMMUNICATING C ONTROVERSIAL S CIENCE TO THE P UBLIC : GM C ROPS AND N EONICOTINOIDS Paul D. Mitchell Bret Shaw UW-AAE & ANREUW-LSC & CNRED"— Presentation transcript:

1 C OMMUNICATING C ONTROVERSIAL S CIENCE TO THE P UBLIC : GM C ROPS AND N EONICOTINOIDS Paul D. Mitchell Bret Shaw UW-AAE & ANREUW-LSC & CNRED Office: Follow me on

2 Origin of Today’s Session In-service Survey of ANRE Agents: Desired Training Content & Knowledge Areas: “Pollinators, attracting bees, dispelling myths about synthetic and organic pesticide use, GMOs and consumer pushback, GMOs: where we’ve been & where we are going, neonicotinoid insecticides as related to bees and GMOs” Skills: “Media training (traditional & online), effective use of social/digital media, communications tech, developing effective fact sheets, producing great video clips, iPads, tablets, Google drive, Evernote” Understanding personality types to better effect behavioral change How to communicate risk to skeptical audiences

3 A More General Problem for ANRE Agents and Specialists GM crops and neonicotinoids are just the latest “hot button” issues we deal with There have been different issues in the past and there will be different issues in the future ANRE/UWEX: we are not only public agricultural professionals, but also the “face and voice” of agriculture in our communities and state Not focus on How, that’s always changing Focus on the What and Why What we are or should be doing and Why Otherwise we may end up “running around like chickens with our heads cut off”

4 Goal Today 1. Overview some of the basic info on GM crops and neonicotinoids: science and public controversy/events 2. Communicating Controversial Science to the Public Bret Shaw: current research & pre-UW employment 3. Open Discussion: we have to know what we are doing and why before we know how to do it What is the appropriate role for ANRE on these issues? Is providing science-based information the only role? What are some of the problems and advantages that such a role creates for ANRE? What are some strategies for us as ag professionals to better fulfill our roles?

5 Adoption of HT and Bt Crops in the US: Biotech crops are now the standard 94% 89% 80% Source: gov/media/ / biotechcrops.png

6 Stacked traits common in corn (and cotton) Source:

7 Why do farmers adopt biotech crops? It’s not just money! Source:

8 Ag Insecticide Use has been Decreasing Source:

9 Bt Crops Contributed to This Decline Source:

10 HT Crops have Helped Reduce Tillage Source:

11 Herbicide Resistant Weeds Emerged as a major weakness of RR crops More herbicide use? More tillage? Monarch butterflies in decline due to RR crops? Source: https://www.pioneer.com/home/site/us/agronomy/library/template.CONTENT/ guid.8C8F040A F3-C650-1EA99776A1B3

12 Insect Resistance Gassman et al. (2010) Gassman et al. (2014) Will more toxins fail? More soil insecticide use? Is corn borer Bt corn next? Lose benefits of areawide corn borer suppression (Hutchison et al. 2010) Source: 0913hodgsonschaefergassman.htm

13 Consumer Acceptance of GM Foods Review of many studies (USDA 2014) Source: Willing to pay more for non-GM foods/less for GM foods Willing to pay more for GM foods enhanced for higher vitamins or similar, especially if cisgenic or intragenic Consumer acceptance (what people say they will buy) and market acceptance (what people actually buy) are not equivalent for GM foods/crops J.R. Simplot going to try to sell Innate© potatoes: less bruising & browning and lower acrylamide (cisgenic)

14 Labelling of GM Foods Ballot failed in California in Nov 2012 Ballot failed in Washington Nov 2013 June 2013: Connecticut passes law requiring labeling Jan 2014: Maine passes law requiring labeling Both require four neighboring states to also pass law before their laws go into effect Vermont house and Senate passed bills requiting labeling, but still working out differences between versions No four neighboring states requirement Labeling on Nov 2014 ballots in Oregon and Colorado

15 Biotech Crops: Main Points Farmers derive multiple benefits from them Help reduce some of agriculture’s negative impacts on the environment Some problems are developing that jeopardize these benefits to farmers and agriculture Consumers remain vocally resistant to GM crops, yet many continue to buy them Should we label GM foods?

16 Neonicotinoid Insecticides Most widely used class of insecticides in the US A relatively new class, qualified as Reduced Risk Pesticides with expedited registration review under the 1996 FQPA, so companies and EPA moved that way Seed treatments became the most common way to apply neonicotinoids, especially for row crops Save time, precise amount of a.i. applied, often less a.i. per acre (more targeted placement), less human exposure, less risk of non-target effects

17 Trends in US Insecticide Use Source: E. Stokstad Science 2011:

18 Trends in Neonicotinoid Use Clothianidin Imidacloprid Thiamethoxam Dinotefuran Source:

19 Yield Benefit (Gaspar et al. 2014) Treatments: multiple seeding densities and 3 seed treatments: UTC, fungicide, fungicide & neonicotinoid Source: Neonicotinoid

20 Farmer Value of Insect Pest Management in 2013 ($ per treated acre)

21 Neonicotinoid Insecticides in the News Courtesy of Dr. Russell Groves, UW Entomology

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23 Accidental and Inappropriate Uses (Crystal River, FL March 2013) (Wilsonville, OR June 2013) Courtesy of Dr. Russell Groves, UW Entomology

24 USDA and EPA Release New Report on Honey Bee Health - 2 May 2013 Parasites and Disease Present Risks to Honey Bees: The parasitic Varroa mite and new virus species have been found in the U.S. and several of these have been associated with Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Increased Genetic Diversity is Needed: Genetic variation improves bees thermoregulation, disease resistance and worker productivity. Poor Nutrition Among Honey Bee Colonies: Bees need better forage and a variety of plants to support colony health. Need for Improved Collaboration and Information Sharing: Best Management Practices associated with bees and pesticide use, exist, but are not widely or systematically followed by members of the crop-producing industry. Additional Research is Needed to Determine Risks Presented by Pesticides: The most pressing pesticide research questions relate to determining actual pesticide exposures and effects of pesticides to bees in the field. Courtesy of Dr. Russell Groves, UW Entomology

25 Huseth AS, Groves RL (2014) Environmental Fate of Soil Applied Neonicotinoid Insecticides in an Irrigated Potato Agroecosystem. PLoS ONE 9(5): e doi: /journal.pone Huseth and Groves (2014)

26 Hladik et al. (2014) What is the ecological relevance of these levels?

27 Neonicotinoid Insecticides Main Point Ag shifted to widespread use of neonicotinoids as reduced risk insecticides, mostly as seed treatments Neonicotinoid insecticides impact insect pollinators Neonicotinoids are detected in surface and ground water (and soil) We do not know the ecological relevance of these detections Neonicotinoids and other pesticides implicated in colony collapse disorder, but we do not know their importance relative to other factors

28 Thanks for Your Attention

29 Questions to Discuss 1. What is the appropriate role for ANRE on these and similar issues? 2. Is providing science-based information our only role? 3. What are some of the advantages that such a role creates for ANRE? 4. What are some of the problems that such a role creates for ANRE? 5. What are some strategies for us to better fulfill our roles?

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31 Source:

32 Total U.S. Farmer Value of Insect Pest Management in 2013 ($ million)


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