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by Greg Martin, click here for bio
Program: Line on Agriculture
Date: June 26, 12
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Misunderstanding Technology. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Line On Agriculture.
American’s love their technology. Cell phones, tablet computers, LED TV’s. We love high tech. Except when it comes to the food we eat. A recent panel discussion during the Food Dialogues event - hosted in Los Angeles by the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance - focused on the application of science and technology in food production. Dan Dooley is the Senior Vice President for External Affairs at the University of California and he said it’s little surprise that the average consumer has some apprehension about modern food technologies.
DOOLEY: It’s a little unfair to compare on-farm technology to direct consumer technology and so if you make a conscious decision to buy an iPhone, you are buying into that technology. Technologies used on farms are never going to be generally accepted to the same level as the direct consumer technology. I think that’s an unrealistic expectation.
Discussing technologies used in farming and the public fear of - or opposition to - some of those technologies - some panelists noted the irony in a technology-driven society shunning food produced through the most modern technologies.
DOOLEY: We haven’t as farmers, really engaged in a dialogue about the technologies we use so it’s no wonder people are skittish about it. “Because medical technology is accepted and people don’t go out and buy that - ” But there is a direct benefit that is connected when they go into the office and you know when you see a tomato sitting on a shelf that may have some characteristic that involved that application of technology - you don’t know it, you have no idea what benefit it provides to you except the tomatoes’ there. When you go to your doctor and you have a problem and they say, ok I’m going to use the latest robotics surgery system, you get a direct benefit from it and there’s a direct connection.
Dooley said helping consumers understand the real benefits to the consumer of modern technologies in food production will go a long way to ensuring their acceptance.
DOOLEY: I think the more we can provide in a dialogue and discussion those connections so that people can increasingly understand what the direct benefit to them is, then we can begin to move the needle. I don’t think we ever get to the point where technologies in agriculture are as accepted as the direct consumer technologies are.
The debate was one of four panels hosted as part of the Food Dialogues. You can watch video highlights from the event at Food Dialogues dot com.
That’s today’s Line On Agriculture. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network.
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