Biotechnology Outreach Tour to Germany Helps Iowa Farmers

Paul Kassel, Field Agronomist, Northwest Area

Problem Statement:

Biotechnology traits for corn and soybean are widely adapted in Iowa.  Farmers in Iowa have benefitted from biotechnology traits by reducing herbicide and insecticide use, realizing improved corn borer and rootworm control and accessing weed control strategies that provide effective weed management in no-tillage systems. 

Biotechnology traits are not widely used for corn production in Germany.   Insect and weed problems are creating the need for biotechnology traits.  Advances in corn hybrid technology may reduce the genetic improvements of hybrids without bio-technology traits.

Programmatic Response:

I participated in a United States Department of Agriculture Foreign Ag Service (USDA- FAS) biotechnology outreach tour to Germany on December 1-6, 2008.   The USDA- FAS staff in Germany, an Iowa farmer and I presented information on the benefits of biotechnology to 325 persons at ten meetings. Data on the cost and benefit, pest control, refuge acres and crop production were presented.  Questions were raised by the German audience on the risks and benefits of biotechnology.

I prepared a summary of the discussion from this biotechnology tour to Germany. This information was presented at my 2009 crop production and pesticide certification meetings.

Outcome Statement:

The results of these meetings were mainly short-term results (awareness and knowledge).  German farmers learned the agronomic benefits of biotechnology.  They also gained knowledge on the stewardship that is involved with biotechnology.

Iowa farmers learned about the German view of biotechnology from my presentations at winter meetings. Farmers from Iowa also learned about the benefits of refuge acres for insect resistance management and the importance of trait stewardship to the world agricultural community.  Iowa farmers also learned about European Union regulations on fertilizer and pesticide use. 


100 Corn and Soybean Production and Protection

Page last updated: April 14, 2009
Page maintained by Linda Schultz,