Plant breeding tends to be a point of contention between the industry and urbanites. However, Andy LaVigne, president and CEO of the American Seed Trade Association, believes all crops begin at plant breeding. “We look at plant breeding as the base of agriculture,” says LaVigne.
LaVigne believes innovation in plant breeding has helped the industry understand why a plant does what it does, and he is hoping the public will gain a better understanding of the science behind it.
“Gene editing is just an evolution of what we’ve been doing for many, many years,” he explains. “It’s that ability to go in and take out a characteristic of a variety.”
The public, however, isn’t the only obstacle for plant breeding. Some lawmakers are wary of funding plant breeding research or are too quick to vote for burdensome regulations that can hinder the development of better breeding techniques. According to LaVigne, the Trump administration has been easy to work with thus far. “We’ve had really strong support from the administration in making sure this policy is handled correctly,” he concludes.
Hear LaVigne’s full interview:
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