Minnesota farmer wants ag to be out in front on CRISPR

A farmer concerned about consumer acceptance wants agriculture to proactively promote innovations like gene editing.

Southwest Minnesota crop and livestock producer Randy Spronk recently traveled to Boston to take part in an event called CRISPRcon.

“When you have a technology like CRISPR, I think we need to be very open, transparent, and we need to be ahead of the curve as we’re talking to consumers to make sure they’re comfortable and that we continue to have that social license to be able to use innovation and technology in animal agriculture.”

CRISPR involves precise changes to the genetic code of plants, animals, and humans.

As a pork producer, Spronk tells Brownfield there’s a compelling argument for the technology.

“When you can improve immunity and prevent a disease from affecting an animal, you can reduce antibiotic use (and) be environmentally friendly.  So I think we need to make that argument to society so we continue to have that social license to be able to use the technology.”

He says farmers have a social responsibility to clearly and concisely communicate what they do on the farm and be transparent.

Brownfield interviewed Spronk during World Pork Expo in Des Moines.




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