Communicating Controversial Science to the Public

Report
COMMUNICATING CONTROVERSIAL
SCIENCE TO THE PUBLIC: GM
CROPS AND NEONICOTINOIDS
Paul D. Mitchell
Bret Shaw
UW-AAE & ANRE
UW-LSC & CNRED
Email [email protected] Office: 608-265-6514
http://www.aae.wisc.edu/pdmitchell/extension.htm
Follow me on Twitter:
@mitchelluw
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
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”
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?
Adoption of HT and Bt Crops in the US:
Biotech crops are now the standard
94%
89%
80%
Source:
http://www.ers.usda.
gov/media/1141089/
biotechcrops.png
Stacked traits common in corn (and cotton)
Source: http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/1282246/err162.pdf
Why do farmers adopt biotech crops?
It’s not just money!
Source: http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/1282246/err162.pdf
Ag Insecticide Use has been Decreasing
Source: http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/1282246/err162.pdf
Bt Crops Contributed to This Decline
Source: http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/1282246/err162.pdf
HT Crops have Helped Reduce Tillage
Source: http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/1282246/err162.pdf
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-9804-97F3-C650-1EA99776A1B3
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: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/CropNews/2013/
0913hodgsonschaefergassman.htm
Consumer Acceptance of GM Foods
• Review of many studies (USDA 2014)
• Source: http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/1282246/err162.pdf
• 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)
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
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?
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
Trends in US Insecticide Use
Source: E. Stokstad Science 2011:
http://www.sciencemag.org/site/special/pesticides/infographic.xhtml
Trends in Neonicotinoid Use
Clothianidin
Thiamethoxam
Imidacloprid
Dinotefuran
Source: http://water.usgs.gov/nawqa/pnsp/usage/maps/
Yield Benefit (Gaspar et al. 2014)
• Treatments: multiple seeding densities and 3 seed
treatments: UTC, fungicide, fungicide & neonicotinoid
Neonicotinoid
Source: http://www.coolbean.info/library/documents/SoybeanTreatmentRisk_2014_FINAL.pdf
Farmer Value of Insect Pest Management
in 2013 ($ per treated acre)
Farmer Value in 2013 ($/Acre)
$20.00
$15.00
$10.00
$5.00
$0.00
Corn
Bt Corn
Corn
Soybean
Seed Treatment
Corn
Soil
Insecticide
Corn
Soybean
Foliar Insecticide
Neonicotinoid Insecticides in the News
Courtesy of Dr. Russell Groves, UW Entomology
Accidental and Inappropriate Uses
(Crystal River, FL March 2013) (Wilsonville, OR June 2013)
Courtesy of Dr. Russell Groves, UW Entomology
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
Huseth and Groves (2014)
Huseth AS, Groves RL (2014) Environmental Fate of Soil Applied Neonicotinoid Insecticides in an Irrigated Potato Agroecosystem.
PLoS ONE 9(5): e97081. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0097081 http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0097081
Hladik et al. (2014)
What is the ecological
relevance of these levels?
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
Thanks for Your Attention
Questions to Discuss
1. What is the appropriate role for ANRE on these
2.
3.
4.
5.
and similar issues?
Is providing science-based information our only
role?
What are some of the advantages that such a
role creates for ANRE?
What are some of the problems that such a role
creates for ANRE?
What are some strategies for us to better fulfill
our roles?
Source: http://water.usgs.gov/nawqa/pnsp/usage/maps/
Total Farmer Value in 2013 ($ Million)
Total U.S. Farmer Value of Insect Pest
Management in 2013 ($ million)
$1,400
$1,200
$1,000
$800
$600
$400
$200
$0
Corn
Bt Corn
Corn
Soybean
Seed Treatment
Corn
Soil
Insecticide
Corn
Soybean
Foliar Insecticide

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