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Dairy Farmer Tells Congress Producers Must Better Explain the Benefits of Biotechnology

August 7, 2014

Farmers need to connect better with the public on the benefits biotechnology brings to producers, consumers and the environment. That’s the message Joanna Lidback, a dairy farmer from northeast Vermont, delivered to a House agriculture subcommittee in early July.

Lidback said biotechnology plays a major role in farmers’ ability to both feed a growing global population and make improvements on farms, no matter their type or size. “The science shows that GMOs are safe and bring tremendous benefits, but we in agriculture have failed to communicate this effectively with the public,” she said.

Lidback said the 45-cow dairy farm she operates with her husband would not survive if they were forced to use non-GMO feed. The only currently available feed, she said, is organic and their feed costs would jump from $5,160 a month to $11,370 a month. “Over the course of a year, that means our feed costs alone would increase by $74,520,” she testified. “I do not see how we could survive, let alone farm profitably, in the long term with those increased feed costs.”

Lidback testified before the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology and Foreign Agriculture on behalf of New England dairy cooperative Agri-Mark and the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives.