Crop Biotech Update

Biotechnology Versus Sustainability: What do Students Think

May 30, 2008

A Sustainable Agriculture course was the playing field for a survey on biotechnology and sustainability. The course's professor, William A. Anderson of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, conducted the survey with agree or disagree options to 17 statements related to sustainable agriculture and biotechnology. The questionnaires were answered during the first and the last session of the course to help the instructor learn the students' understanding of the topics, to reveal their opinions toward the topic-related statements and to stimulate their interests in the course.

Results of the survey according to Anderson were,  "At first, students were neutral about organic farms as fully sustainable businesses, but they rejected the idea later. They discovered that organic farming, like conventional farmers, are continually striving to make their operations sustainable". He also believed that it is important to expose students to both sustainable agricultural systems and agricultural biotechnology without introducing personal biases, and students should be allowed to voice out their opinions in the evolving debate.   

The full article is available for free for 30 days following the date of this summary at http://www.jnrlse.org/pdf/2008/E07-0021.pdf. After 30 days it will be available at the Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education website, http://www.jnrlse.org. Go to http://www.jnrlse.org/issues/ (Click on the Year, "View Article List," and scroll down to article abstract). The press release can be viewed at https://www.agronomy.org/press/releases/2008/0519/161/